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Quick Cold Snap... Holiday Week Storm... "Earth Gauge": Geography Awareness Week, Typhoons, Antarctic Volcano

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Updated: 11/25/2013 9:56 pm

Early Mon. update…..

The storm system for Tue./Wed. remains on track.  Today will be a transition day & pretty nice overall (see photo I snapped below of the altocumulus clouds a little after sunrise).  The expected wide range in temps. was realized -- ranging from 60 at the beaches to the upper 30s on the far west side of Jax.  Afternoon highs will reach the 60s.

Clouds will increase & thicken tonight-Tue. with rain & a few t'storms becoming widespread from late morning Tue. through early Wed.  There will be 2 primary areas of rain:

(1) the first will be a warm front pushing north.  Once this front is far enough north (Savannah river valley), there will be a lull in the heaviest/most widespread rain across the First Coast later Tue./Tue. evening.

(2) the second will be with a cold front that will push across Fl./Ga. later Tue. night/early Wed.

Rain will occur everywhere with amounts averaging a half inch to an inch but locally up to 2".  The highest amounts will be from Waycross to Brunwick southwest to Lake City to the Big Bend.

There is a least some threat for strong to severe storms though this risk should be tempered by the lack of instability.  A few wind gusts greater than 50 mph will be possible along with perhaps an isolated weak tornado.  The system is strong enough so that there will be strong winds even in the absence of showers & storms.

The storm will quickly pull away Wed. followed by gusty winds, clearing skies & another round of chilly temps.  Lows by early Thanksgiving Day will dip into the 30s inland & the far west side of Jax might see some light frost or a brief light freeze.  Thanksgiving Day will decent: partly sunny with highs around 60 degrees.

If you're traveling the next few days….expect rain in all directions Tue.-Wed.  There will be higher elevation snow & ice from extreme NE Ga. across the Western Carolina's northward into parts of inland Va., Maryland & the Northeast.  Click ** here ** for national updates on air travel… ** here ** for highway reports… ** here ** for updates specific to I-95.

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The strong Sat. night cold front will lead to a chilly start Monday with inland lows well down into the 30s. Onshore east winds will keep areas east of I-95 -- especially closer to the intracoastal & beaches -- much milder though still a definite chill in the air.

All eyes will then be focused to the west as an energetic storm system in the southern branch of the jet stream works its way into Texas by Mon. then eastward along the Gulf Coast exiting into the Atlantic by Thanksgiving Day. Rain & storms will spread across the First Coast -- & much of the Southeast U.S. Tue.-Wed. There's at least some potential for severe storms so stay up to date on the latest forecasts as the exact intensity of any severe storm outbreak will be contingent on the exact path, timing & strength of system.

Earth Gauge: Weather & Exploration

November 17-23, 2013 is Geography Awareness Week. This year’s theme is Geography and the New Age of Exploration.  Exploration takes us to places we’ve never been – it can be done on foot, on horseback, in a car, on a ship, in a space shuttle or even underwater in the deepest parts of the ocean. Exploration can happen in your own backyard or on top of the highest mountain. There are no boundaries when it comes to exploring or how it is done!

Today, advances in technology are helping people explore places that were previously thought impossible to reach, and weather can play a big part in the success (or failure) of a mission. Take Felix Baumgartner: He flew 24 miles high into the stratosphere in a special balloon before free-falling in a pressure suit all the way back to the ground. Weather was a huge factor when it came to the balloon launch. Winds had to be calm and couldn’t suddenly shift, the sky had to clear so moisture from clouds didn’t stick to the balloon, and the time of year had to be just right.

In the past, people didn’t have the advanced technology we have today, but that didn’t stop them from pushing the limits of exploration. Geography and weather play an important role in exploration. Below are a two of examples of how these elements came into play for some famous explorers of the past.

  • Henry Hudson: The Hudson River is not named for the man who discovered the river (Giovanni da Verrazzano), but for the man who traveled the river farther. That man was Henry Hudson. Henry Hudson had many explorations, but one in 1609 with inclement weather caused him to sail up the Hudson River. Hudson and his crew set sail from Amsterdam (Netherlands) north to look for the Northwest Passage that could carry a ship all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. On this trip, the weather worsened and grew colder, so the crew headed south past Maine and landed near New Jersey, only to turn north again. With strong winds and storms, they headed up past Manhattan (as we know it today) and inland along the Hudson River. After 150 miles, they turned around because they did not reach the Pacific Ocean. The exploration was not a total loss, though, because this led to Dutch colonization in the area.
  • Lewis & Clark: In 1803, Thomas Jefferson appointed Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson’s personal secretary, to explore new land acquired from the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. In turn, Lewis sought the help of William Clark, who had strong abilities as a draftsman and frontiersman, and made him co-commanding captain. The exploration (1804-1806) to find a route across the Western U.S. started just outside of St. Louis and moved west, riding the Missouri River up through South Dakota and Montana. There, the group moved to the Jefferson River and made the trek up and through the Rocky Mountains. Once over the Rockies, they took the Columbia River all the way to Fort Clatsop, on the Pacific Coast of Oregon. During the journey, they experienced some brutal weather conditions, including when they camped for 146 days during the winter in Fort Mandan, North Dakota. Temperatures fell well below zero, with some days as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Guards had to switch every 30 minutes because it was so cold. In May of 1805, a sudden gust of wind toppled boat vessels while in Montana. When the group traveled the Rockies, they had to find horses to help them through the snow packed peaks.

Looking for more exploration stories? Watch a video about former Earth Gauge staffer Ann Posegate’s 2010 visit to Antarctica with meteorologist Dan Satterfield, and celebrate the National Geographic Society’s 125th year anniversary by diving into the new age of exploration!

(Sources: State Historical Society of North Dakota, “Expedition – What Was the Weather Like During the Expedition’s Winter Stay in 1804-1805?”; National Geographic, “Lewis & Clark,”; National Archives, “Teaching with Documents: The Lewis and Clark Expedition,”; America’s Library, “Henry Hudson and His Crew Sailed into the River that Would Bear His Name September 3, 1609,”; The Mariners’ Museum, “Henry Hudson,”; Red Bull Stratos, “The Mission,”; “Image of Lewis & Clark’s winter stay in North Dakota courtesy of North Dakota State Government)

Climate Trivia: Typhoon, Hurricane or Cyclone?

Super typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is the world’s strongest storm in satellite era. As of November 7, 2013 Haiyan had maximum sustained winds of up to 195 miles per hour with gusts of up to 235 miles per hour, reaching the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane for an estimated 48 hours (November 6-8). Haiyan caused destruction and human casualties in the Philippines. Certain conditions helped Haiyan become a super typhoon: ocean temperatures were warm extending deep into the ocean and there is little wind shear during this time of year. Wind shear can prevent storms from strengthening by distorting their shape and removing heat and moisture.

Question: We hear weathercasters talk about typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones – so what’s the difference?

a)    Typhoons are bigger than cyclones; cyclones are bigger than hurricanes.
b)    Hurricanes are stronger than typhoons and cyclones.
c)    Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones occur in different geographical areas.

The correct answer is c. Typhoons and hurricanes are the same weather phenomenon – the difference is the geographical area where they occur. They are tropical cyclones with regionally specific names. 

 

Hurricanes

Typhoons

Cyclones

Geographic Area

Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific Ocean

 

Northwest Pacific Ocean

South Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean

Season

June-November, with a peak between August and October

Year-round, but a greater number between July and November with a peak between late August and early September

North Indian Ocean: April to December with peaks of activity in May and November.

 

Southwest Indian and Australian/Southeast Indian Oceans: Late October to May, with peaks of activity in Mid-January and Mid-February.

 

Australian/Southwest Pacific Oceans: Late October to May, with a peak in late February or early March.

In the face of warming climate it is uncertain how tropical cyclones have changed and will change in the future. Fluctuations in frequency and intensity make it difficult to identify trends in the long term. Although scientists have seen an increase in ocean surface temperatures due to climate change, it remains uncertain if the changes in tropical cyclone frequency exceed the variability explained by natural causes.

(Source: Thomas R. Knutson et al. 2010, “Review Article: Tropical cyclones and climate change,” Nature Geoscience, doi: 10.1038/NGEO779. and National Weather Service. Tropical Cyclone Climatology. Accessed online 12 November 2013 and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. FAQ:When is Hurricane Season? Accessed online 14 November 2013 and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Ocean Facts: The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs. Accessed online 12 November 2013 and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Deep, Warm Water Fuels Haiyan Intensification. Accessed online 15 November 2013 and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. PIA17680: Super Typhoon Haiyan. Accessed online 15 November 2013. )

In the News: “Volcano Discovered Smoldering Under a Kilometer of Ice in West Antarctica: Heat May Increase Rate of Ice Loss”Science Daily, November 17, 2013 –  It wasn't what they were looking for but that only made the discovery all the more exciting.

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