Back in the saddle after some major family R & R - more on that at the end of this posting.
So our weather pattern is looking a lot like spring this week. This will be one of the warmest weeks so far this year. Highs will be 80+ through Fri. Mornings will begin with areas of fog. Then a large storm system -- that will bring severe storms the next few days from the Gulf Coast to the Southern Plains to the Tennessee & Ohio Valley's & heavy snow for the Rockies, parts of the Central/Northern Plains & Upper Midwest -- will bring the First Coast our next chance for rain. It's 1-2 process:
(1) Thu. afternoon: as moisture (humidity) increases & a lead upper level disturbance moves through the area, scattered afternoon showers & storms will develop, especially near the sea breeze close to I-95.
(2) Friday: as the main disturbance lifts into the Northern U.S., a cold front will swing through the First Coast Fri. accompanied by showers & a few t'storms. Overall, rainfall does not look particularly heavy for most areas but a few spots will see heavier amounts in some of the stronger t'storms.
So coming off a very nice week of vacation with my family. Before leaving, I said I was taking a "1980s" style vacation -- no phone service!
That alone was worth the "price of admission". But what was truly priceless was the time with my family. Lots of laughs, a few brief disagreements (of course!) & a lot of sightseeing & -- for the ladies -- shopping(!). I took a stack of books that continue to pile up but only managed to finish 1 two-thirds. It used to be that my voracious reading 12-yr. old picked books from my library. Now she's giving me books to read(!). She surprised me with a book upon leaving on our trip - "A Dog's Journey", a sequel to "A Dog's Purpose". Excellent books that take me instantly to our first dog - Butch - which we had to put down last May. The second book she recommended to me was "Jefferson's Sons" which is
an interesting & thought-provoking historical read about one of our Founding Fathers & the 3rd U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, his affair with Sally Hemings & their children.
Earth Gauge: National Public Health Week
National Public Health Week was last week from April 1-7, 2013. This year’s theme is Public Health is ROI: Saves Lives, Saves Money. There are easy steps you can take at home, at school and on the move to protect your health and help save money on health-related costs in your community.
At home: In 2012, there were 11 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the U.S., causing 349 deaths. Being prepared for extreme weather is one of the easiest ways to keep your family safe. Build an emergency kit, create a family crisis communication plan and designate an emergency meeting place. Find all the tools you need to prepare at Ready.gov.
At school: According to CDC, one in 11 children have asthma and asthma costs the U.S. 56 billion dollars annually. Kids are more susceptible to health effects from poor air quality – increased traffic and idling vehicles near schools are one trigger for asthma attacks. If you spend time waiting in the car during school drop-off and pick-up times, kill the engine. Or, team up with other parents in the neighborhood and take turns driving kids to school to cut down on morning traffic.
On the move: The American Public Health Association estimates that over 11 dollars in benefits can be gained for every one dollar invested in bicycling and walking opportunities. States that have the highest walking and biking levels have the lowest levels of chronic disease, like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. When the weather is nice, get outside! Walk or bike to work or school if you have the option.
• Map a safe route for walking to school.
• Plan a bike route using Google Maps.
• Get cyclist and pedestrian safety tips from the Federal Highway Administration.
(Source: American Public Health Association. “National Public Health Week.”; NOAA NCDC, “Preliminary Info on 2012 U.S. Billion-Dollar Extreme Weather/Climate Events.”; Centers for Disease Control and PRevention. “Asthma’s Impact on the Nation.”)
If you’re one of the 10-20 percent of Americans who suffer from seasonal ragweed allergies, the latest climate change research won’t be welcome news – especially if you live in the Upper Midwest. Scientists have discovered that today’s ragweed pollen season, which peaks in the summer and fall, is as much as 27 days longer than it was in 1995 in northern parts of the North American heartland. Additionally, the duration of these seasonal extensions has increased from south to north which is consistent with the disproportionate warming trends that scientists have observed at higher latitudes. For example, Papillion, Nebraska’s ragweed pollen season has grown by 11 days, Fargo’s has increased by 16 days and Winnipeg’s has increased by 25 days. These allergy seasons are getting longer because frosts are occurring less often and beginning later than they did several decades ago. Longer pollen seasons increase the amount of time that people are exposed to allergens, meaning that more people may develop ragweed allergies and symptoms may last for longer periods of time. Additionally, longer ragweed growing seasons could eventually produce more pollen, which could also increase the severity of seasonal allergies.
(Source: Ziska, Lewis et al., 2011. “Recent warming by latitude associated with increased length of ragweed pollen season in central North America.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108:10, 4248-4251.)
Climate in the News: “Summer Melt Season Getting Longer On Antarctic Peninsula” – ScienceDaily, March 27, 2013 – Research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the summer melt season has been getting longer over the last 60 years. This melting has been linked to rapid break-up of ice shelves and sea-level rise.