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Weekend: Hot, More Humid, A Few Storms... Severe Storm Outbreak... American Pika

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Updated: 5/20/2013 4:12 pm

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** SUNDAY UPDATE **:

Storms into this evening with 2 areas for development:

(1) sea breeze trying to move inland setting up shot near or a little east of I-95.  Scattered storms in the vicinity of the boundary & a little inland will be very slow moving making them prolific rain-makers with frequent lightning.

(2) An upper level disturbance moving south & east from Tennessee/Georgia.  This disturbance will produce a complex of severe storms over Ga. that will move S/SE.  If storm development along the sea breeze does not interfere (stabilize) with the overall air mass then the disturbance could keep storms going into this evening.

Any of the storms through this evening will have the potential to produce severe weather including damaging winds & large hail in addition to nearly nonstop lightning.  The heaviest storms will produce rainfall of 1-2"+.

FROM FRI. EVENING:

A typical mid to late May weekend for the First Coast: very warm, a little humid.  As for t'storms....isolated to widely scattered storms will form in the afternoon west of Jax between Highway 301 & I-75.  Storms will move slowly to the east.  From the beaches & Jax, look west, & you'll probably be able to see the towering cumulonimbus clouds late in the day/early in the evening & maybe some lightning near sunset.  The coverage of storms should increase some Sunday afternoon & will again favor inland areas though a few storms could make a move to the I-95 corridor & intracoastal by evening.  Temps. will be toasty with highs in the upper 80s to low 90s inland...low to mid 80s at the beaches. 

Several consecutive days of severe weather will occur from the Rockies across the Midwest to the Ohio Valley south to Texas & parts of the Gulf Coast over the weekend into early next week.  If not the most volatile so far this year, the set-up should yield at least the most widespread severe weather we've seen thus far.  The system ejects far to the north of the First Coast so few if any local effects can be expected.

Climate Fact: When Will the Pika Peak?
Many people think of Polar Bears when they think about climate change, but they aren’t the only animals feeling the impacts. On Endangered Species Day, pandas, gorillas and tigers will get attention, but far away from the limelight, high in the mountains of western North America, the American Pika will continue its slow retreat from rising temperatures.  You won’t find its name on the Endangered Species List yet, but this adorable rabbit-relative is an indicator of the ecological effects of climate change.  In the past century, warmer temperatures have crept up mountain sides, forcing Pikas to move up in search of the cool, moist climates to which they’re accustomed. Scientists have been monitoring 25 local populations of Pika since 1898 and by 2008, nine of them were extinct.  Rising temperatures have been blamed for a five-fold increase in local Pika extinction rates across the Great Basin, and this trend is only accelerating.  Pika ranges are now shrinking eleven times faster than they were only ten years ago as suitable habitats rise at an average of 145 meters (475 feet) per decade.  If these trends continue, the American Pika will be in trouble, so keep this animal in mind when you observe Endangered Species Day.

(Sources:  E. A. Beever et al. 2010, “Testing alternative models of climate-mediated extirpations,”  Ecological Applications, 20:1, doi: 10.1890/08-1011.1; E. A. Beever et al. 2011, “Contemporary climate change alters the pace and drivers of extinction,” Global Change Biology, 17:6, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02389.x)

Have a great & safe weekend!

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