Updates on major weather events, storm chases and forecasts for the North Florida region, all summed up and reported from the perspective of Chani Morris.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Want wetter weather? Bippity boppity boo. You're welcome.

Well, North Florida, I've got good news.  We've got a shortwave trough (click HERE for a great explanation of a SWT if you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about) on the way to our smokey state.

Arrow points to the shortwave trough at its current location on the 700 mb map. It will continue moving to the southeast over the next few days

This system is expected to move through the area Thursday, but chances of rain will continue through the weekend as a longwave trough (again, click HERE if you'd like the definition) positions itself over the eastern U.S. 

Arrows point to the longwave trough on 300 mb map

With all this action, we're also going to be getting a relief from the blistering heat. Go ahead and celebrate, because right now (6/20 4:55 pm), the NWS GNV has Friday's high predicted at....wait for it.... 88 degrees. The last time Gainesville had a max temp in the 80's was May 18th, when we hit 82 degrees. I guess we'll see if it actually happens (I'm moderately skeptical).

SPC current convective watch

Currently, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued a Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) tornado watch for much of eastern KS and southeast NE. The watch calls for tornadoes, hail up to 3 inches in diameter, wind gusts up to 80 mph (hurricane force) and dangerous lightning. The system that is causing this severe weather is none other than the front associated with the above longwave trough, which is heading our way. We could see some severe weather (hail, strong winds and lightning) when it moves over Florida, but I'll have to update you on that as we get closer to the end of the week. 

Current surface map showing the low pressure system responsible for the aforementioned severe weather

I know I said in my last blog that I was going to the beach last Saturday, rain or shine...Well, unfortunately, that didn't happen. I did, however, float down the Itchetucknee, which was beautiful. My friend Emmie (see her blog HERE) bought a (very expensive) waterproof throwaway camera specifically for the trip, and as soon as she posts the pictures, I'll put the link up. As we were floating down, I mentioned to Emmie that I had seen an otter the last time I was there, and about a minute later we saw one in the exact spot I saw one last time I went...So I guess we've found its home. That was pretty much the main highlight of the trip, but the entire thing was awesome. If you've never been there, the water is clear (because it's a spring), and tons of people just rent tubes and float for hours. It's one of the best stress relievers I've ever come across, and I already have another Itch trip planned for this week. 

I'll (hopefully) be posting a photo blog after Thursday's rain, and I'll likely have more stories to tell by then. 

Stay cool,  


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A heated discussion. Literally.

Hot. Smoldering. Blistering. Roasting. Searing.

If you've ever been curious as to what life would be like living in a sauna, then come on down to the Southeast.  Honestly, the second I walk outside I feel like I stepped in front of a lawn mister.  Luckily enough for me, I have physics to keep me busy, so I'll be planting myself firmly on the couch (in the AC) for the next 10 hours while the sun continues to beat down outside my door.  Yesterday, a strong shortwave trough moved through much of the southeast, bringing a good bit of severe weather to portions of Mississippi, and dropping a hefty .05 inches here in Gainesville.  That was, of course, me being facetious.  With over 310 wildfires scorching the state of Florida, and a declared state of emergency by Rick Scott, it was almost an insult to receive such an insignificant amount of rain from yesterday's system.  Any rain is helpful though, so I suppose I shouldn't be too pissy with Mother Nature.  That being said, Gainesville's high today is 99, as is tomorrow's. If we hit 99 or higher, we'll break temperature records (of 99 degrees) from 1907 (today) and 1909 (tomorrow).  Fun, right?  I snapped a few pictures from yesterday (pre-storm) and this morning after the front had moved out of the area. 

Tomorrow and Thursday seem to be looking nice and wet, with a 30-40% pops (probability of precipitation) in Gainesville.  This weekend, we'll have a good chance of scattered showers as an upper level trough over the W. Atlantic allows disturbances to move in and mix with the sea breezes.

I'm taking a beach trip on Saturday, rain or shine, so expect a few pictures and a blog post after I get back.  Unfortunately, I've run out of things to say and am swimming in physics homework that seems to have piled up without my noticing, so have a great week and stay cool!


Friday, June 10, 2011

After months of procrastination, here it is. My first blog post.

First things first, I'm Chani (AKA WeatherTroll), and this blog is mainly going to be filled with my never-ending weather ramblings.  I, of course, have a life outside of weather, and I would say it's likely that I'll throw in the occasional undergrad nightlife story, book/restaurant/bar review, or a rant about some new injustice I've witnessed.  Now that you know the purpose of this blog, I think my first slightly (un)interesting story should be how I became the weather troll that I am.

Some people are just born with imaginations that dull, boring people (such as myself) can only dream of. Others are born with the ability to win any argument, or control any room without having to read any of those obnoxious "How To" books.  I, on the other hand, was born and raised in Florida, with no apparent "talent".  The only thing that really fired me up was thunderstorms.  That interest stayed with me through high school, but I hadn't actually thought about doing anything weather-related as a career. So, you know the drill, lost college student with no idea where she's going ends up in a weather class in her first semester at the University of Florida.  From that point on, I knew it was weather.  That was my "talent" and that was what I was going to spend the rest of my life doing.  My mom, an extremely patient nurse practitioner and mother of five girls (AKA super mom) wasn't at all surprised, not even when I dropped the bomb that my plan was to move to Tornado Alley and study tornado science.  My dad, who is a kick ass librarian if there ever was one, was also perfectly fine with my dangerous aspirations.  I thought it slightly odd that neither of them had a single complaint about the life-threatening situations I planned to throw myself into, but then I remembered, my parents are pretty batty themselves.  I presume their genes are what actually made me crazy enough to choose this path for myself, and I honestly couldn't thank them enough.  So, that does it. That pretty much lands me where I am at this instant.  Senior in college, about to apply to Texas Tech and University of Oklahoma, and trying to motivate my way through physics.

I can't possibly close this entry without actually rambling about the current weather, so I'll begin with the massive heat wave that seems to have taken up shop in our country.  If you live in the south, or even in the mid-section of the country, you've practically been living in an oven for the last few weeks.  There are triple-digit days popping up all over the place, as if Mother Nature herself feels like we need them.  The heat is also drying us up, making conditions far too favorable for wildfires. Drought levels in North Florida range from D1-D2, which is "moderate" to "severe", but if you look at the US Drought Monitor, you'll notice that most of the southern US is in the highest stage, D4 "exceptional".  This drought is sparking wildfires all across the south, and North Florida, specifically my hometown of Lake City, is currently burning as I type.  I drove home (to Lake City) to babysit last night, and on my way I noticed this giant plume of smoke hovering over the county.

Pardon the smeared love bugs on my windshield.  I've been meaning to get that taken care of.  Anyway, smokey as it was, I at least didn't have to drive through any falling ash, so I'll take that as a good sign.  Today's forecast in Lake City and across North Florida is the norm... Instability and sea breeze interactions will lead to afternoon thunderstorms.  Next week, the chance of rain increases as an upper level low moves toward the east coast on Monday.  The surface lows will push down into the southeast, giving us the chance to wash out not only the Columbia County wildfire, but also the wildfires burning in Flagler County and the Honey Prairie region.

I think that is a good stopping point for my first post.  Hope you didn't fall asleep.  Have a great weekend!