Jacksonville, FL — Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. endured a strong nor’easter over the weekend, 09/19-20. “Our” nor’easters are far different from “up north”. At northern coastal latitudes, nor’easters are usually very wet, often very white with wind gusts of 50+ mph. Hence, the term “local” for our nor’easters. The set up was a typical one - strong high pressure (clockwise circulation) to the north over New England... a stationary front to the south (lower pressure) & so strong winds off the Atlantic of 15-30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph due to the strong pressure gradient (high to the north vs. low to the south). A nor’easter this time of year is a mild one since water temps. are still 80+.
N. Roscoe Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach:
Heckscher Drive, Duval Co.:
Colee Cove, St. Johns River:
In the tropics.... “Talking the Tropics With Mike” is updated every day during the hurricane season. And so we’re on to the Greek alphabet for the first time since 2005 when there were a record 28 storms. Already - as of this writing - Alpha & Beta have been claimed. But before one goes crazy with just “how bad” this season has been, let’s dive a bit deeper into the numbers.
* First & foremost, we should keep in mind that technology is much better now than was in the 19th & 20th centuries. It’s likely multiple storms were “missed”.
* There is also the matter of criteria for upgrading a system - see Alpha (upgraded to a subtropical storm while just a couple hours off the coast of Portugal). The numbers can become distorted given that NHC forecasters used far more stringent criteria for naming prior to the last 10-12 years or so. There’s nothing really wrong with that, but climatologists - & others not necessarily “in the know” - will not be comparing apples to apples when breaking down seasons.
* Storms Bertha, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Kyle & Alpha all had a “life span” of less than 3 days
* A good measure is the “Accumulated Cyclone Energy” - ACE - see the 2nd & 3rd charts below. While the number is higher than avg. through mid September, it’s not as high as one would expect for such a busy season &, in fact, was only 13% above the avg. through mid Sept. ACE = a tropical cyclone’s maximum sustained winds every six hours and multiplies it by itself to generate the values. These values are then added together which become a total for a storm and divided by 10,000 to make the number more “manageable”.
* while this season has been active & is often compared to 2005, ’05 was far more impactful, at least so far (Dennis, Katrina, Rita & Wilma) all made landfall on U.S. soil as major hurricanes (Cat. 3+). Only Laura has managed that feat so far this year (& was severe for SW Louisiana). Even an “average” hurricane season through mid to late Sept. has had more major hurricanes & major hurricane days.
* a record has been tied (Beta - #9) - the most landfalling U.S. tropical cyclones in a single season of 9 in 1916 (Bertha, Cristobal, Fay, Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Marco, Sally & Beta so far this year)
Colorado State University/Phil Klotzbach:
Sam Lillo’s twitter feed - global ACE. Remarkably low with the exception of the Atlantic Basin:
Astronomical autumn has arrived!.... as of Tue., Sept. 21st @ 9:30am EDT. The days get shorter, NE Fl. foliage peaks in mid to late Dec., the temps. turn cooler & we avg. our first inland freeze by the last week to 10 days of Nov. in SE Ga. & the first week to 10 days of Dec. for NE Fl. The avg. high goes from 86 on Sept. 21 to 66 on the last day of fall, Dec. 20th. Avg. low & high over the next few months:
Oct. 1: 66 / 84
Oct. 15: 61 / 81
Oct. 31: 55/ 77
Nov. 15: 51 / 74
Nov. 30: 47 / 70
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