• Buresh Blog: EF-3 tornado confirmed - Kings Bay, Ga.... El Nino Update

    By: Michael Buresh


    Dec. 6, 2018 - The first EF-3 tornado in our local viewing area in quite some time was confirmed by the Jacksonville N.W.S. Sun., Dec. 2nd at Kings Bay, (Camden Co.) Ga. - just north of St. Marys & south of Brunswick & St. Simons Island about 30-40 miles N/NE of Jacksonville.  According to the N.W.S.: 

    Rating:                 EF-3

    Estimated Peak Wind:    144 mph

    Path Length /statute/:  7.5 miles

    Path Width /maximum/:   900 yards

    Fatalities:             0

    Injuries:               4

    Start Date:             12/02/2018

    Start Time:             3:10 PM

    Start Location:         4 WNW Dungeness / Camden County / GA

    Start Lat/Lon:          30.78 / -81.55

    End Date:               12/02/2018

    End Time:               3:20 PM

    End Location:           5 ENE Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay / Camden County / GA

    End Lat/Lon:            30.82 / -81.44

    Survey Summary: National Weather Service Jacksonville Storm Survey revealed  damage consistent with EF-3 tornado damage at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, which was confirmed by a 125 knot / 144 mph maximum wind gust measurement from a docked Coast Guard Vessel. This is the strongest tornado in recent memory within the National Weather Service Jacksonville's area of responsibility in southeast Georgia, northeast and north central Florida. Four injuries were reported by officials at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. The tornado continued on an east-northeast path across Cumberland Island, beginning from Old House Creek and exiting into the Atlantic waters just south of the Stafford Beach Campground. The tornado path across Cumberland Island was estimated by Cumberland Island National Seashore park rangers to be approximately one-third to one half mile wide. Significant tree damage occurred within the tornado path across Cumberland Island, with no structural damage reported. The main park road and several trails on Cumberland Island were left impassable by the tree damage.

    EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into the following categories:

    EF0...Weak......65 to 85 mph

    EF1...Weak......86 to 110 mph

    EF2...Strong....111 to 135 mph

    EF3...Strong....136 to 165 mph

    EF4...Violent...166 to 200 mph

    EF5...Violent...>200 mph

    The severe storm outbreak - which included rainfall of 10" or more across SE Ga. - was part of a strong & expansive storm system that started producing tornadoes a couple of days earlier over the Southern Plain then on Sat. a little farther east.... then to SE Ga. Sunday.  

    This could be a hint about our winter given the developing weak to possibly moderate El Nino.  El Nino winters are often characterized by low latitude storm systems - propelled by an active subtropical jet stream - moving west to east across N. America resulting in heavier than avg. winter rainfall - along with occasional severe weather/tornado outbreaks - across the Southern & SE U.S. from California to the Carolina's.

    Speaking of El Nino.... an El Nino "watch' remains in effect with the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) indicating an 80% of an El Nino during the winter months with a 60% chance of El Nino continuing into the spring.  An El Nino occurs when warmer than avg. ocean water develops near the equatorial Pacific generally between Australia & S. America.

    Interesting to note the vast amount of warmer than avg. water across the globe.  Particularly interesting is the unseasonably warm water over the N. Pacific that includes the Gulf of Alaska.  If such a pattern holds, the implication is the potential for an upper level ridge to build over the area which would induce a potentially deep trough - at least at times - over the Central &/or Eastern U.S.  This translates into the potential for pretty serious cold spells in the coming months over the Eastern U.S. possibly extending as far south as Fl.  And if the El Nino does develop helping to activate an active southern  - subtropical - storm track then there might very well be at least a couple southern snows.

    Many forecast models - see below - indicate the potential El Nino deep into spring, possibly even into the early summer months:

    From Climate.gov:

    EARTH GAUGE: Holiday LED's (NEEF):

    Colorful neighborhood lighting displays and glowing trees are a sign of the season, dating back hundreds of years! Before Thomas Edison's creation of the first electric lighting display for the holidays in 1880, people used to use candles to decorate for (risky!) seasonal cheer. Since then we've come a long way, with versions of Edison's incandescent bulbs appearing in homes and neighborhoods across the world, in various shapes and colors. However, all those twinkling lights can drive up energy demand and result in big home energy bills, and still manage to cause an average of 200 home fires each year. What’s a decorator to do?

    Show your holiday spirit with LEDs (light-emitting diodes)! LED holiday lights consume about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent light strands and provide these great benefits:

    • Safe: LEDs emit less heat than traditional bulbs, reducing the risk of fire and burns.

    • Sturdy: LEDs are less likely to break because they are not made with glass.

    • Long-Lasting: LEDs last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs—you could still be using the same LED string 40 years from now!

    Image of holiday lights surrounding text. Text reads: Holiday lights save energy and money. They use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs, last 25 times longer, and emit less heat and are less likely to break.



    Once a light strand has reached the end of its life, you can actually recycle them. Many home improvement stores across the country have holiday light takeback programs to recycle the products. 

    Curious to learn more about how your holiday lights work? This explainer from the US Department of Energy walks you through the what, how, and why of all types of lights—including how to troubleshoot some common issues. Learn more about holiday lights.


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