First Alert Weather Alert: Flood Warning expires at 10:03 PM on 4/23, issued at 10:03 PM Fort White, FL | Lake City, FL | Lulu, FL

Scattered Storms... Waterspout... Rare Aug. Cool Front... U.S. Heat Wave Next Week... Satellite Decommissioned

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Updated: 8/22/2013 11:46 pm

A rather benign weather set-up at first glance turned into a stormy Thu. for the First Coast. The upper level -- about 30,000 feet -- weather analysis offers some explanation. A strong upper high is over the Western Atlantic. The clockwise circulation around the high is pumping tropical moisture from the Atlantic & Caribbean northward right up the Fl. Peninsula. At the surface, winds were from the southeast (helped by weak low pressure in the NE Gulf) creating what's known as convergent banding. So the combination developed bands of heavy storms that were near & offshore first then worked inland through early afternoon. Outflow from the storms caused erratic movement & once cloud cover became extensive enough, the air mass stabilized, & the storms quickly diminished by rain was slow to completely end.

Rainfall was as much as 2-3" across Southern Duval & parts of St. Johns & Clay Counties... 0.80" at Jax Beach... 0.66" at St. Simons Isl... & 0.76" in Glen St. Mary. And one storm dropped a waterspout on the St. Johns River south of the Shands Bridge. The photo below was snapped by Jack Strickland - the circle marks a "spray ring" as the spout touches the river. Click ** here ** to see more photos.

Showers & heavy t'storms will start to pop rather early Fri. again with good surface heating early in the day leading to a few storms by late morning that will increase in number & intensity through the afternoon.

Some changes in the weather pattern by early next week (see the forecast surface weather map below for Sun. afternoon). A pretty strong high pressure system (for late summer) at the surface will move to the east coast near Chesapeake Bay pushing a cool front into NE Fl. Sunday. Plenty of t'storms ahead of this front for Sat. (diminishing as kickoff for the Jags' game approaches) with scattered showers & storms continuing into Sunday, especially in advance of a surge of northeast surface winds. The wind shift will bring lower temps. with highs "only" in the 80s Sun.-Mon. and lows in the 60s(!) inland -- west of I-95 -- Mon. & Tue. morning. It'll be breezy at the beaches with an elevated rip current risk.

Another big weather story next week will be a major heat wave in the middle of the U.S. The upper level map for the middle of next week shows a massive upper level high over the middle of the U.S. This will result in widespread temps. of 100+ from the Plains to the Ohio Valley. Our temps. will start to heat up again by late next week as highs return to the low 90s. The overall pattern will be drier next week but onshore flow this time of year almost always has the potential to bring showers inland off the Atlantic from time to time.

From NOAA:

GOES-12 has seen it all, from Hurricane Katrina that hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, to the Christmas blizzard that crippled the Central United States in 2009. It even traveled south of the equator to provide coverage for South America starting in 2010. Now, after more than 10 years of stellar service, NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-12 spacecraft is being retired.

Launched on July 23, 2001, the satellite lasted well beyond its original operational design life of two years for on-orbit storage and five years of actual operations to support forecasters and scientists in NOAA's National Weather Service.

"GOES-12 gave the Western Hemisphere many years of reliable data as the operational eastern GOES for accurate forecasts, from small storms to those of historic proportions," said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.

Built by Space Systems/Loral, GOES-12 became operational April 1, 2003 as the GOES-East satellite, monitoring weather across the U.S. East Coast and part of the Atlantic Ocean. On May 10, 2010, when GOES-12 was no longer able to be maintained to meet the requirements of the National Weather Service, it was shifted to a new position, where it provided coverage of weather conditions affecting South America, including volcanic ash clouds, wildfires, and drought.

When NOAA decommissions a geostationary satellite like GOES-12, it is boosted further into orbit, the remaining fuel is expended, the battery is disabled and the transmitters are turned off. These maneuvers reduce the chances the satellite will collide with other operational spacecraft. Additionally, decommissioning lowers the risk of orbital debris and stops the satellite from transmitting any signals that could interfere with any current or future spacecraft.

Hovering 22,300 miles above the Equator, NOAA continues to operate GOES-13, which serves as the GOES East satellite for the United States and GOES-15, which is the GOES West satellite. NOAA also has an orbital backup geostationary satellite, GOES-14, which can be activated if any of the operational satellites experience trouble.

Kicza added: "The NOAA-NASA partnership is making steady progress toward developing and launching the more advanced GOES-R satellite series to position us into the future."

GOES-R is expected to more than double the clarity of today's GOES imagery and provide more atmospheric observations than current capabilities with more frequent images.

Data from the GOES-R instruments will be used to create many different products that will help NOAA meteorologists and other users monitor the atmosphere, land, ocean and the sun. GOES-R will also carry a new Geostationary Lightning Mapper that will provide for the first time a continuous surveillance of total lightning activity throughout the Americas and adjacent oceans.

Click ** here ** to view a very cool time lapse of 10 years of weather history courtesy GOES-12.  The sat pic below courtesy NOAA is "Katrina" as seen from GOES-12.

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