First Alert Weather Alert: Flood Warning expires at 10:04 PM on 4/24, issued at 10:04 PM Blackshear, GA | Bristol, GA | Mershon, GA | Millwood, GA

Polar Vortex... Warm-Up Just Around the Corner... A Cold Perspective, Photos, Sunspot

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Updated: 1/07 11:52 pm
So a lot of wild forecasts & descriptions of how cold it is, so let's step back a bit & put this chill in perspective.  As far as low temps. are concerned, JIA has dipped to the low 20s many times in just the last 5 years (at least 10 days).  The low early Tue. was 22 - 1 degree above the record for the date set in 1924.

The coldest temp. all last winter was 24 on Feb. 18th.  But we only have to go back to Feb. 13th, 2012 to find a temp. colder -- 21 degrees.  And temps. of 22, 21 or 20 degrees occurred Jan. 4, 2012; Jan. 13, 2011, Dec. 29, 2010; Jan., 6, 9 & 11, 2010; and Jan. 5, 6 & 9, 2009.  We have not fallen into the teens since 19 degrees on Jan. 24, 2003.

Of more consequence was the high Tue. of just 39 degrees.  JIA has not had a daytime high so cold in the last 10 years.  It looks like the record low max will be the only daily record during this arctic outbreak.  Some of the reported early Tue. temps. from our Jax N.W.S.:
LOCATION                       TEMP      TIME/DATE       LAT/LON

FLORIDA...

ALACHUA...
3 WNW ALACHUA                  23        0629 AM 01/07   29.81N/82.52W
2 S LA CROSSE                  24        0715 AM 01/07   29.80N/82.41W
HIGH SPRINGS                   24        0700 AM 01/07   29.83N/82.60W
2 E UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA      24        0749 AM 01/07   29.64N/82.32W
6 SSE ALACHUA                  25        0833 AM 01/07   29.69N/82.45W
5 SSE BROOKER                  25        0759 AM 01/07   29.81N/82.30W
3 NW UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA     25        0720 AM 01/07   29.67N/82.39W
5 SE ALACHUA                   25        0725 AM 01/07   29.73N/82.42W
GAINESVILLE REGIONAL AIRPORT   25        0853 AM 01/07   29.69N/82.27W
5 WSW UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA    26        0653 AM 01/07   29.61N/82.43W
6 SSW HIGH SPRINGS             27        0608 AM 01/07   29.74N/82.62W

BAKER...
7 NNW TAYLOR                   21        0704 AM 01/07   30.54N/82.34W
MACCLENNY                      22        0715 AM 01/07   30.28N/82.14W
3 N OLUSTEE                    22        0704 AM 01/07   30.25N/82.42W
GLEN ST MARY 1W                22        0800 AM 01/07   30.27N/82.19W
2 S MACCLENNY                  22        0725 AM 01/07   30.25N/82.12W

BRADFORD...
5 NNW KEYSTONE HEIGHTS         27        0635 AM 01/07   29.85N/82.05W
STARKE                         31        0800 AM 01/07   29.94N/82.07W

CLAY...
4 W LAKESIDE                   22        0735 AM 01/07   30.12N/81.85W
2 WSW DOCTORS INLET            22        0725 AM 01/07   30.10N/81.80W
3 W DOCTORS INLET              23        0743 AM 01/07   30.12N/81.81W
LAKESIDE                       23        0745 AM 01/07   30.13N/81.77W
8 N FLORAHOME                  25        0710 AM 01/07   29.85N/81.89W

COLUMBIA...
DIV FORESTRY                   23        0700 AM 01/07   30.18N/82.59W
6 SSE WELLBORN                 24        0720 AM 01/07   30.15N/82.78W

DUVAL...
1 ESE JACKSONVILLE             20        0750 AM 01/07   30.32N/81.64W
1 NNW MAYPORT                  21        0717 AM 01/07   30.41N/81.41W
JACKSONVILLE                   22        0756 AM 01/07   30.48N/81.70W
6 WSW JACKSONVILLE HEIGH       23        0635 AM 01/07   30.22N/81.88W
FORT CAROLINE                  23        0724 AM 01/07   30.40N/81.49W
6 WNW JACKSONVILLE HEIGH       23        0717 AM 01/07   30.29N/81.87W
2 SW SAN PABLO                 24        0641 AM 01/07   30.27N/81.46W
1 S MAYPORT                    24        0843 AM 01/07   30.37N/81.41W
2 E NORMANDY                   24        0740 AM 01/07   30.30N/81.73W
5 NNE MANDARIN                 24        0705 AM 01/07   30.21N/81.60W
1 SSE ORTEGA                   24        0733 AM 01/07   30.26N/81.70W
2 E NORMANDY                   24        0733 AM 01/07   30.30N/81.73W
1 E NORMANDY                   24        0739 AM 01/07   30.31N/81.74W
2 SSE ORTEGA                   24        0747 AM 01/07   30.25N/81.69W
FORT CAROLINE                  24        0657 AM 01/07   30.39N/81.50W
1 W ARLINGTON                  25        0650 AM 01/07   30.34N/81.63W
MAYPORT NAVSTA                 25        0652 AM 01/07   30.40N/81.43W
CRAIG MUNICIPAL AIRPORT        25        0653 AM 01/07   30.34N/81.51W
3 SE ORTEGA                    25        0753 AM 01/07   30.23N/81.68W
2 NNW TALLYRAND                25        0740 AM 01/07   30.39N/81.65W
4 ENE MANDARIN                 26        0711 AM 01/07   30.18N/81.59W

FLAGLER...
PALM COAST                     27        0716 AM 01/07   29.58N/81.23W
MARINELAND                     28        0700 AM 01/07   29.67N/81.22W
3 N BUNNELL                    28        0726 AM 01/07   29.51N/81.25W
2 NNW FLAGLER BEACH            29        0801 AM 01/07   29.50N/81.14W
WASHINGTON OAKS STATE GARDENS  33        0730 AM 01/07   29.63N/81.21W

GILCHRIST...
6 WNW NEWBERRY                 25        0730 AM 01/07   29.67N/82.70W
BELL 4WNW                      25        0625 AM 01/07   29.77N/82.92W

HAMILTON...
WTR TR PLT                     20        0735 AM 01/07   30.52N/82.94W

MARION...
5 NW SALT SPRINGS              26        0804 AM 01/07   29.40N/81.81W
ORANGE SPRINGS 2SSW            26        0800 AM 01/07   29.48N/81.97W
3 NNE REDDICK                  28        0645 AM 01/07   29.41N/82.17W
OCAL INTL AP - JIM TAYLOR FLD  28        0635 AM 01/07   29.17N/82.22W
3 E RAINBOW LAKES ESTA         28        0813 AM 01/07   29.15N/82.40W
3 ESE OCALA AIRPORT            29        0719 AM 01/07   29.16N/82.18W
3 WNW OCKLAWAHA                29        0729 AM 01/07   29.06N/81.98W
1 E LAKE WEIR                  30        0730 AM 01/07   29.02N/81.97W

NASSAU...
1 ESE HILLIARD                 17        0714 AM 01/07   30.69N/81.91W
4 ESE YULEE                    20        0714 AM 01/07   30.62N/81.51W
1 NW FERNANDINA BEACH          23        0724 AM 01/07   30.67N/81.46W
FERNANDINA BEACH MUNICIPAL AIR 25        0655 AM 01/07   30.61N/81.46W
3 NE YULEE                     25        0702 AM 01/07   30.66N/81.54W
FERNANDINA BEACH               28        0800 AM 01/07   30.66N/81.46W

PUTNAM...
3 SSW PUTNAM HALL              23        0745 AM 01/07   29.70N/81.98W
5 NW INTERLACHEN               25        0715 AM 01/07   29.67N/81.95W
WATER PLT                      27        0830 AM 01/07   29.43N/81.51W
3 SE WELAKA                    27        0716 AM 01/07   29.44N/81.63W

ST. JOHNS...
1 ESE DURBIN                   21        0744 AM 01/07   30.08N/81.45W
1 NW SAINT AUGUSTINE           25        0643 AM 01/07   29.92N/81.33W
2 E DURBIN                     25        0716 AM 01/07   30.08N/81.41W
1 NW FRUIT COVE                25        0724 AM 01/07   30.11N/81.64W
ST AUGUSTINE AIRPORT           26        0658 AM 01/07   29.96N/81.34W
CRESCENT BEACH                 27        0725 AM 01/07   29.72N/81.23W
3 SSE SPUDS                    28        0715 AM 01/07   29.69N/81.44W

SUWANNEE...
3 N HOUSTON                    22        0715 AM 01/07   30.30N/82.90W

UNION...
LAKE BUTLER                    21        0720 AM 01/07   30.02N/82.34W

GEORGIA...

APPLING...
BAXLEY 5NNW                    14        0905 AM 01/07   31.85N/82.38W
4 S PINE GROVE                 16        0730 AM 01/07   31.75N/82.44W
4 SW BAXLEY                    17        0704 AM 01/07   31.71N/82.39W

BACON...
1 W ALMA                       17        0715 AM 01/07   31.54N/82.51W
BACON COUNTY AIRPORT           18        0653 AM 01/07   31.54N/82.51W

BRANTLEY...
NAHUNTA 6NE                    18        0700 AM 01/07   31.27N/81.92W
2 NNW HICKOX                   19        0700 AM 01/07   31.18N/82.01W

CAMDEN...
WOODBINE                       20        0752 AM 01/07   30.96N/81.71W
3 W WOODBINE                   20        0745 AM 01/07   30.96N/81.77W
2 SSW HIGH POINT               21        0712 AM 01/07   30.92N/81.43W

CHARLTON...
STEVEN FOSTER STATE PARK       19        0800 AM 01/07   30.83N/82.36W
2 ENE FOLKSTON                 20        0703 AM 01/07   30.85N/81.99W
1 WNW STEVEN FOSTER STATE PARK 21        0701 AM 01/07   30.83N/82.36W
10 SW FOLKSTON                 21        0556 AM 01/07   30.74N/82.13W

CLINCH...
HOMERVILLE 5N                  17        0600 AM 01/07   31.08N/82.80W
3 SSW ARGYLE                   18        0730 AM 01/07   31.02N/82.66W
HOMERVILLE AIRPORT             21        0615 AM 01/07   31.06N/82.77W

COFFEE...
PRIDGEN                        16        0615 AM 01/07   31.70N/82.92W
4 ESE DOUGLAS                  17        0615 AM 01/07   31.49N/82.79W
DOUGLAS MUNICIPAL AIRPORT      19        0555 AM 01/07   31.48N/82.86W

GLYNN...
JEKYLL ISLAND                  19        0905 AM 01/07   31.05N/81.41W
4 S BOYS ESTATE                19        0732 AM 01/07   31.27N/81.48W
5 ESE THALMANN                 20        0704 AM 01/07   31.26N/81.61W
2 SW COUNTRY CLUB ESTATE       20        0700 AM 01/07   31.19N/81.48W
BRUNSWICK GOLDEN ISLES AIRPORT 21        0715 AM 01/07   31.26N/81.47W
MALCOLM MC KINNON AIRPORT      20        0730 AM 01/07   31.15N/81.39W

JEFF DAVIS...
HAZLEHURST                     16        0800 AM 01/07   31.89N/82.58W
HAZLEHURST AIRPORT             17        0655 AM 01/07   31.88N/82.65W

PIERCE...
WAYCROSS                       18        0700 AM 01/07   31.25N/82.31W
PATTERSON                      18        0800 AM 01/07   31.38N/82.13W

WARE...
MANOR                          18        0800 AM 01/07   31.08N/82.57W
2 W DEENWOOD                   19        0604 AM 01/07   31.25N/82.40W
WAYCROSS-WARE COUNTY MUNICIPAL 21        0555 AM 01/07   31.25N/82.40W

WAYNE...
2 SW ODUM                      17        0645 AM 01/07   31.63N/82.05W
JESUP-WAYNE COUNTY AIRPORT     19        0555 AM 01/07   31.55N/81.88W


Blame can be placed on the polar vortex -- a term trending on twitter -- #polarvortex.  It's not uncommon in the winter for the polar vortex over or near Hudson Bay in Canada to contract, expand, shift & move resulting in varying amounts of cold air diving south into the continental U.S.  From NASA:
Meandering around the planet like a rollicking roller coaster in the sky, the Northern Hemisphere's polar jet stream is a fast-moving belt of westerly winds that traverses the lower layers of the atmosphere. The jet is created by the convergence of cold air masses descending from the Arctic and rising warm air from the tropics. Deep troughs and steep ridges emerge as the denser cold air sinks and deflects warm air regions north, giving the jet stream its wavy appearance. This pattern propagates across the mid-latitudes of North America, Europe and Asia, as pockets of cold air sporadically creep down from the Arctic - creating contrasting waves and flows that accelerate eastward due to Earth's rotation. The visualization below uses weather and climate observations from NASA's MERRA dataset to model 30 days of the jet stream's whirling journey over North America.
Click ** here ** for a nice animation of the polar vortex.

The image below is the 500 mb (~30,000 feet) flow & shows the polar vortex over Eastern Canada this week.

But the cold has no staying power across the First Coast (vs. the northern latitudes where below avg. temps. have dominated -- for the most part -- since Thanksgiving).  The 500 mb weather chart below shows why.  A persistent area of upper level high pressure has been stretched out near Fl. to Cuba & had helped "deflect" much of the cold air this season to the north of Jax.  Even the latest surge of arctic air was more of a glancing blow lasting little more than 48 hours.

Photos below from Jamison Horcher in St. Augustine (homemade snow!)... & William Howell after spraying a hose.  The last photo is from Mike Rosset in Mandarin -- a great shot of a sunspot Tue.  Mike says:

"Here's a PST solar scope view of the "Massive" AR1944 Sunspot. The views thru the scope are the most active energy release I have ever seen thru the little PST scope on our Sun. Lots going on in this area. Imaged 1/07/2014."

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