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Warming Trend is Here... Cooling Degree Days... Tornado Survey... Wildfire Season... Ashley Furniture Helping Salvation Army

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Updated: 5/07/2013 11:19 pm

Our steady warm-up is about to begin.  Nights will still be comfortable through early Thu. before we start to feel the humidity.  The avg. temp. is 84, & we'll finally get there Thu.  Temps. will top out close to 90 degrees Fri.-Sat. 

If it seems like we haven't had much heat recently, you're right.  There are a couple of different ways to look at this:
** 1 is by simply looking at the raw numbers.  If one combines the number of 80-degree days for Jan., Feb. & March, the total is 17.  If you combine April & May so far, the total is also 17 (none in May).

** A second & more telling stat is cooling degree days (look at your electric bill - you've probably saved some $ the last couple months using less air conditioning).  A cooling degree day is determined by taking the avg. of the low & high temp. for the day & subtracting 65.  So if the avg. temp. is 70 degrees, there would be 5 cooling degree days.  In theory, the higher the number, the more your air conditioner has to work to keep your home cool [if the avg. temp. for a day is below 65 then it's a heating degree day].  The negative numbers compared to avg. means temps. were cool.                         

                             Cooling Degree Day             Compared to Avg.
Jan.                                  41                                     +30
Feb.                                 35                                      +17
March                               16                                      -38
April                                 127                                    +14
May                                  17                                      -22

Our Jax NWS has posted their post storm survey -- including damage photos -- of the EF-0 tornado that hit near Elkton, Fl. in St. Johns Co. - click ** here **.

From the Fl. Forest Service (before last week's deluge):
Well May is here. This is typically the most active part of our Florida wildfire season due to dry conditions and the start of the rainy season that often brings lightning strikes with minimal rainfall. It appears that this year will be an exception. With recent rainfall, we are entering the peak of fire season nice and wet. The afternoon thunderstorms are already starting and lightning does not appear to be a significant factor this year. However, if things dry out, late May and June could potentially see an increase in wildfires. Any time we have 2 weeks without rainfall in Florida, the wildfire danger increases.

Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a continuous reference scale for estimating the dryness of the soil and duff layers. The index increases for each day without rain (the amount of increase depends on the daily high temperature) and decreases when it rains. The scale ranges from 0 (no moisture deficit) to 800 (desert-like conditions). The range of the index is determined by assuming that there is 8 inches of moisture in a saturated soil that is readily available to the vegetation
The normal level for spring in North Florida is between 261 and 460 but check out the map below!  Much of NE Fl. is in the blue color (0-99) - nice & wet.  Most of Fl. is in pretty good shape.

KBDI Index 151 –300:
Within this range, scattered patches of surface liter remain in low lying or damp areas following a fire.  Both hardwood and pine stumps may ignite but seldom burn below the ground.  Normally, escaped fires pose little problem to standard suppression tactics.

KBDI Index 301 –500:
At this level, fire consumes most surface litter along with a significant loss in organic soil material.  Heavier fuel complexes ignite readily, contributing to fire intensity.  Both hardwoods and pine stumps ignite but resist deep burning.  Fire intensity increases dramatically in this range due to the increased burning of heavier fuels.

Fire Danger Index- LOW Fuels do not ignite readily from small firebrands although a more intense heat source, such as lightning, will likely start fires in duff or punky wood. Weather and fuel conditions will lead to slow fire spread, low intensity and relatively easy control with light mop-up. There is little danger of spotting. Controlled burns can usually be executed with reasonable safety. The map below -- no surprise -- shows a currently low fire danger.

Total Number of Wildfires in Florida from January 1, 2013 through May 2, 2013.  These fires have been contained and controlled (active fires below are not yet included in these totals)

Statewide on private and state lands: 1,253 wildfires have burned 20,253.9 acres

On Federal lands: 27 wildfires have burned 4,136 acres

Same Time Last Year
Wildfires from January 1, 2012 through May 2, 2012 – 1,651 Wildfires had burned 29,926.1 acres

Obviously, all the rain the last few days has left the area saturated.  But realize May days can be hot & dry & our wet soil could quickly dry out, so we're not necessarily out of the woods yet when it comes to wildfires.  Our true "wet season" -- frequent afternoon rain storms -- usually begins in June & continues through September.

Ashley Furniture HomeStore is "Doing the Most Good" for our NE Fl. Salvation Army:
(Jacksonville) Over the past couple of weeks, folks from Ashley Furniture HomeStores have been very busy, working diligently on another project for The Salvation Army of NE Florida.
This project involved re-decorating the ‘family’ room in the Women’s Dormitory at The Salvation Army Red Shield Lodge, located in downtown Jacksonville. The room is used as a gathering place for 16 female residents residing in the center.
“I share a room with three other women, so we don’t have a lot of privacy,” said one of the residents. “It’s nice to have a quiet room to escape for a bit.”
Although the room was functional, it was definitely showing its age. Decades of wear and tear and tight budgets had taken their toll. The paint on the wall looked drab. The tables and chairs were mismatched and well used, and the sofa was suffering from “broken spring” syndrome.  It was definitely not a place of refuge for the ladies.
The ladies agreed on a paint color and got busy prepping and painting the room. After applying a few coats of a light lavender color to the walls, the room was ready for the Ashley crew to work their magic!
Designers from Ashley Furniture HomeStore arrived with a truckload of new furnishings. The crew spent hours unpacking boxes of new lamps, artwork, rugs and accessories.
Then, the transformation began.       
A gorgeous leather sofa, matching loveseats and a beautiful media cabinet provided an entertainment area for the ladies. New high top tables and eight matching chairs gave the residents a much needed dining area and lastly, comfortable seating and a bookcase created a cozy reading corner for the readers in the group. The room makeover was absolutely stunning! 
The ladies are delighted with their new digs, and would like to say "Thank You" to Ashley Furniture HomeStore for creating a peaceful and serene retreat.  As the designers were packing up, one of the residents said, “Everything is so pretty. It feels like home.”
This is the second room renovation project for Ashley Furniture HomeStore in a year. In the fall of 2012, Ashley re-decorated the family area in the Women and Children’s section of The Salvation Army Red Shield Lodge Shelter. Thank you, Ashley Furniture, for having a heart for those less fortunate!

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