Jacksonville, FL — A very warm February ended up as the 6th warmest on record for Jacksonville (going back to 1871). The 17 80-degree days was a record & there were 5 record high equaled or exceeded. And on the 28th, the low of 71 degrees was not only the warmest for the date (66/1962) but the warmest for any Feb. (70 on Feb. 22, 1961). The month was also dry - about half our avg. rainfall.
So we turn our calendars to March. Averages at JIA:
March into early April night skies... courtesy Sky & Telescope:
Mar. 1 (dusk): Look westward after sunset to spot brilliant Venus and dimmer Jupiter a mere ½° apart. Stunning!
Mar. 2 (evening): High in the southeast, the waxing gibbous Moon is about 1½° from Pollux, Gemini’s brightest star.
Mar. 5 (evening): The slightly fatter Moon is in Leo, the Lion, 4° or less left of Regulus.
Mar. 9 (dusk): The waning gibbous Moon and Spica rise together in the east-southeast, around 5° apart. They get closer during the night, and by dawn only 2° separates them.
Mar. 12: Daylight-saving time starts at 2 a.m. for most of the U.S. and Canada.
Mar. 14 (morning): The last-quarter Moon and Antares, the Scorpion’s smoldering heart, rise in tandem 4° apart.
Mar. 20: Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere at the equinox, 5:24 p.m. EDT (2:24 p.m. PDT).
Mar. 22 (dusk): Low above the western horizon a razor-thin Moon, just one day past new, is 1½° upper left of Jupiter. Catch this sight before it sinks out of view. Venus blazes above the pair.
Mar. 23,24 (dusk): The lunar crescent has grown slightly while climbing in the west where it visits Venus — 5° below the planet on the 23rd, 6° above it the following evening.
Mar. 25 (dusk): High in the west, the waxing crescent Moon is in Taurus, about 1½° left of the Pleiades.
Mar. 27 (dusk): Right after sunset look toward the west to see a string of celestial bodies stretching from the Moon, one day before first quarter, gleaming in Taurus with Mars upper left and Venus farther lower right. Mercury and Jupiter adorn the western horizon, with less than 1½° between them.
Apr. 6 (evening): The nearly full Moon rises above the east-southeastern horizon trailing Spica by less than 5°.
Apr. 9 (evening): The waning gibbous Moon rises less than 1° from Antares, the Scorpion’s heart.
Apr. 10,11 (evening): Venus is 2½° left of the Pleiades above the west-northwestern horizon.
Full Moon Mar. 7 7:40 a.m. EST (Worm Moon)
Last Quarter Mar. 14 10:08 p.m. EDT
New Moon Mar. 21 1:23 p.m. EDT
First Quarter Mar. 28 10:32 p.m. EDT
As we head into the warmer months of the year.... from Joani Maskell, Swimming Safari Swim School:
Spring is here and summer is not far away. Kids want to get out and jump in the pool. But before they do it’s imperative to have “Family Rules” concerning everything to do with water and swimming!
Some universal rules that everyone should follow begin with making sure your kids know that they need to ask permission before they can go swimming or near the water. By practicing this habit even before they go swimming but with any activity they do, this will establish “a habit” which will come in very handy when they do go swimming.
Also, children should know the rule to follow that they can only go near the water and ONLY go swimming when an adult is around watching them. However, let’s say you have a pool in your backyard (even a fenced one), you might make a household rule that the kids can’t play in the backyard without an adult present. This would also go for visiting a friend’s home.
Explain to your children about the dangers of running around a pool. They understand “You may get injured.” Even 2 yr. olds can understand that they don’t want to get “hurt.
Practice these rules with your children and keep the rules short and memorable so they will be able to remember and retain them. Be sure to talk to them before each event that includes water. For example, if they are going to a friend’s birthday party and it includes swimming, be sure to remind them of the safety rules. Sometimes kids get so excited and get caught up in the fun that they won’t be thinking about the pool safety guidelines, so be sure to remind them and talk often about “the rules” so they will become second-nature.
Swim Classes are imperative.
Rules are important but as a parent it’s your responsibility to watch your child! Active adult supervision is essential. This is true for baths or any place where there may be as little as an inch of water! To help your child, having the ability to swim is an important line of defense. Now, not tomorrow, is the best time to get them started in swim lessons!
Talk to your children about swimming and any concerns they may have. It’s never fun to talk about drowning with your children, but it is important that they do understand that with water, there come risks. Be sure to share with them the possible dangers and reinforce your “family’s safety rules.”
In the United States: More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death, according to the Center for Disease Control. From 2017 to 2019 combined, Florida was ranked the highest in the U.S. for unintentional drowning death rate among children ages 1 to 4 year. And since the Pandemic these numbers are rising.
Swim lessons are a crucial part of your strategy to keep your kids safe. Here’s what else the experts have found on the subject.
Formal swim lessons result in an 88% reduction in drowning risk for children ages 1 to 4, according to the National Institute of Health. To prevent accidental drowning, swim lessons need to begin before age 5, since children ages 1-4 have the highest rates of drowning. This means that swimming is not only fun but an important life-saving skill that must be taught to children early.
Swim lessons and watching your children are only a couple of layers of protection against drowning, so what are the other layers? Additional prevention steps include:
- Making sure there are pool gates and fences surrounding backyard pools
- Using a pool safety cover and alarms on pool gates
- Wearing life jackets when near a lake and on a boat or jet ski
- Learning CPR and having a phone nearby to call 911 in emergencies.
Swimming Safari Swim School is one place that takes the dangers of water seriously. They teach swimming to infants and adults, and open every day, offering swimming lessons in 90 degree saltwater, indoor pool. In addition, they offer free, fun, interactive water safety presentations to schools & libraries. Owner, Joani Maskell says, “Everyone should be able to learn to swim. This is why we have established The Eric Bass Scholarship in memory of a former instructor. This scholarship is in partnership with The Hope Floats Foundation so underprivileged children can learn the joy of learning to swim. Please contact swim@swimmingsafari for more information or call 904-260-1836.
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