Total Solar Eclipse 2017

A total solar eclipse will be visible this August 21st across parts of the lower 48! This hasn’t happened since 1979, so it’s a pretty rare event. The good news is that the total eclipse will take place in Georgia! The bad news is that you will need to be in a tiny slice of the northeast corner of the state to see it in it’s entirety. If not don’t worry, you will still get an almost total eclipse even from metro Atlanta. Here is a map showing the path of totality.

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Not only will the view be limited spatially, but it will be limited in time as well. Provided there are good weather conditions to view the eclipse it will only last around 2 minutes sometime between 2:35 pm and 2:40 pm depending on where in northeast Georgia you are located. If your are elsewhere in Georgia during that time you will only see a partial eclipse. If you miss this one the next Total Solar Eclipse visible in the lower 48 won’t come until April 8th, 2024 and it won’t be visible here in Georgia. For that one you will have to travel west to Arkansas for the closest view.

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For those planning to take a look skyward remember do not look into the sun without proper eye protection. There are alternate ways to view the eclipse as well, and by following this link from NASA Eclipse 2017 you can find all the information you need to view the eclipse safely.

 

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More Rain To Kick Off June

It looks like the rainy pattern that we have been in, is not going away anytime soon thanks to a near persistent trough of low pressure covering the eastern half of the nation. Although it will shift, and loose it’s grip on us from time to time, the overall result will lead to above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures. The following chart shows the 500 mb circulation around the northern hemisphere. The big L parked over the Great Lakes is the trough that is currently helping to bring us the unsettled weather of late.

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The forecast from the Climate Prediction Center points to this trend continuing as well. Both the 6-10 day, and 8-14 day forecasts call for below normal temperatures and above normal rainfall.

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The winner in all of this is the drought situation across north and central Georgia. Since the beginning of the year the percentage of the state that was under extreme drought has been reduced from 49.64% to 6.37% with absolutely zero extreme or exceptional drought showing up in north Georgia. February and March were not kind to us as far as rain is concerned. A combined 4.55″ in that stretch was woefully below normal. Since then we have made up ground with 5.75″ in April and 4.35″ so far this May!

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So even though it seems like we can’t get a break from the never ending showers and t-showers, it will be nice to be ahead of the game before the dog days of summer arrive.

T-STORM RISK THIS THURSDAY

Another strong storm system will be heading toward the Southeast on Thursday after delivering a blow to Texas and the Gulf Coast on Wednesday. Portions of east Texas and Louisiana could get hit the hardest. The Storm Prediction Center has parts of that area under an enhanced risk for severe t-storms including tornadoes.
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By the time the system gets to here in the Southeast the risk for severe weather will have greatly diminished. That being said we could still see a few strong to severe storms here in north Georgia, but the threat is greater across middle and south Georgia.

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The upper level forcing combined with the instability in the lower levels of the atmosphere support the possibility of damaging weather Wednesday in Texas and Louisiana.

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Things are not the same as the storm system makes its way into the Southeast. The forcing aloft is still there, but the instability in the lower levels is greatly reduced.

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Therefore don’t look for a large outbreak of severe weather here in north Georgia, but do be prepared for a few strong to severe storms that could be capable of damaging winds, large hail and a brief spin up tornado. While you’re at it download the FOX 5 Storm Team App for your smartphone. It’s FREE!!! Just follow the link below:

DOWNLOAD the FREE FOX 5 Storm Team app to keep up with this extreme weather

Recent Rain & The Drought

The recent rain from this past weekend will undoubtedly help with the drought conditions across north Georgia. Most locations saw between one and two inches of rain with two to three inches in isolated spots.

Leading into this past weekend forty six percent of the state was classified as being in a moderate drought, with thirty eight percent being abnormally dry.  Nine percent had severe drought with another three and a half percent in the extreme category.  None of the state was classified in the exceptional category, while almost three percent had no drought at all.

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Lots of heavy rain fell across the mountains where extreme drought remained as of last week. Hopefully when the new numbers are released tomorrow we will see that area of red (extreme drought) shrink!

COLD IS OUT, WARM IS IN

After the bitter cold that came in the wake of our first winter storm this past weekend, it now looks like a reversal of fortune is fast approaching. We could see temperatures a good 40 degrees warmer Thursday than they were on Saturday! Any snow north of Atlanta will sure to be gone by then.

Unfortunately another cold night is on the way with subfreezing temperatures across most, if not all, of north Georgia. There are many areas still dealing with ice and snow covered roads that will refreeze in the overnight hours as temperatures once again drop below freezing. This should be the last night this week, and possibly for a while, where temperatures this cold will develop.

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As we head through the day on Tuesday our winds will start to swing more to the south, helping the high temperatures to jump into the 50’s. Much of the nation will be warming as well, as a large ridge of high pressure begins to establish itself across the eastern half of the country.

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By Wednesday we are looking at highs in the 60’s, and by Thursday and Friday highs will climb to 70 or better. Not bad for a week that is starting out this cold.

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Usually when you get such a spike in temperatures this time of the year, you can always count severe weather not being to far behind. This time though that is not the case. In fact apart from a few showers north on Wednesday, our next chance for showers won’t arrive until sometime on Sunday!

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GOOD NEWS FOR YOUR HEATING BILL

If you’re looking to save a few bucks on your heating bill this winter you may be in luck. Starting Christmas Day temperatures will trending upward as we head toward the New Year. The medium to long range forecasts keep the Southeast in above normal temperatures through March, which overall could help to reduce your heating costs. If we could get some decent rains to help with the drought it would be a big bonus.

Starting Christmas Day we see highs climb to near 60 degrees. The following week headed into New Years Day will bring temperatures well into the 60s to near 70. The record highs that week are in the low to mid 70s so we will close to record warmth, but won’t be breaking any.

Now onto January! Here is the latest outlook for temperatures and precipitation from the Climate Prediction Center for the month of January. As you can see we are projected to be slightly above normal for temperatures…….

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and slightly below normal for precipitation.

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In fact the news gets even better for the three month period January through March. Our potential for above normal temperatures increases…..

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while our prospects for rain falls anywhere between slightly above normal and equal chances.

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So hopefully Mother Nature will be kind to us, and give us a break on the heating bill this winter. Remeber this is all subject to change, but at least for now it doesn’t paint us a into a deep freeze.

Weekend Wintry Mix

You may, or may not, have heard of the possibility that some parts of northeast Georgia could see a brief period of a wintry mix early Saturday morning. While this is true, the chances of that happening, as well as the impacts, are quite low. While temperatures will be close to freezing in some spots northeast of a line from Athens to Gainesville to Ellijay, the amount of moisture arriving early Saturday morning will be very limited. There very well could be none at all.

First the set up. I’m sure your aware of the cold air moving across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. That cold air will arrive here on Thursday as a cold dome of high pressure expands from the Midwest to East Coast. That area of high pressure will eventually move eastward and reposition itself across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic setting us up for the classic wedge of cold air near the surface that so often occurs this time of year.

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Temperatures across the northeast corner of Georgia will drop to near freezing in a few spots early Saturday morning with the coldest readings being located across Habersham,  Rabun, Towns and Union County. This is where the greatest likelihood of any wintry mix occurring would be. Most locations though in northeast Georgia should remain above freezing lessening the chance of any wintry mix developing. Meanwhile lows will only drop into the upper 30’s to lower 40’s in and around the metro area, and locations west, southwest and south of Atlanta will remain well outside of the wedge with lows only dropping into the mid to upper 40’s. Safe to say that if anything falls from the sky in and around metro Atlanta it would fall as rain.

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Last but not least is the amount of moisture. Right now it doesn’t appear that the return of moisture will be that great early Saturday morning with most of the rain holding off to the west. If that is the case then little if anything will be falling early Saturday morning.

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Of course all of this could change, but even if we were to get some icing in far northeast Georgia the good news is that by afternoon the temperatures will be in the 50’s melting anything that may have frozen earlier in the day. As the say….Stay tuned!

NOVEMBER AND SEVERE WEATHER

Just about every November here in the south we invariably see a round or two of severe weather from thunderstorms forming along strong cold fronts sweeping in from the north. It’s a time of the year similar to spring, where the atmosphere is in turmoil with the introduction of cold air from the north colliding with leftover warm air here in the south. Tornadoes and damaging winds are the main culprit during severe weather’s “Second Season”.  In fact last November 18th. tornadoes developed in Coweta, DeKalb and Fulton counties. Although they were small EF1 & EF0 tornadoes they still caused some minor damage.

Next week we could be dealing with one of those scenarios where a strong cold front, combined with a potent upper level system, collides with warm air already in place. The GFS model is hinting at a very strong vortex aloft sweeping in sometime next Thursday the 10th.

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This combined with a strong cold front at the surface could produce damaging thunderstorms from Mississippi to here in Georgia next Wednesday and Thursday. The 00z 6 hour precip depiction from the GFS Operational indicates a strong line of thunderstorms moving in next Thursday evening.

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Hopefully this will change, and we will come out with a gentler solution, but just in case we will be watching for the possibility of severe weather closely.

NOVEMBER TO START OFF WARM BUT WILL IT STAY THAT WAY?

One thing for sure is that November will start off well above normal with record highs possible during the first week. Highs this weekend will soar back into the low 80s, and those type of readings should stay with us at least through the following weekend. But will it last through the rest of the month? After all it is November, and it should be cooling off, right?

Well I decided to look back through the record books at previous Novembers going back to 2000. Of the previous 16 Novembers, 7 of them were above normal (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2015). The warmest year was 2001 checking in with an average overall temperature of 59.9 compared to the normal of 54.0. From the graph below you can see that most of the month stayed above normal. It was very consistent.

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Many months started out very warm only to end up below normal in the end. 2000 is a perfect example where the month began very warm with a high of 80 on the 1st, and then back to back records of 81 on the 2nd and 3rd only to start a slide toward cooler temperatures. That month ended up with an overall average temperature of 51 compared to the normal of 54!

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You can see by the graph above how the first three days of 2000 started off much warmer than the rest. Along with the cooler weather that year it was also wetter than average with over 5 inches of rain recorded!

Patiently Waiting For Hermine

Wind shear and dry air (kryptonite to a tropical system) continue to hamper the strengthening of Tropical Depression 9 into Tropical Storm Hermine but the official forecast is for that to happen possibly as early as tonight. Satellite imagery continues to show a poorly defined circulation, but that should improve over the next 12 hours.

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Water temperatures remain very favorable for development, so once TD 9 wins the dry air/wind shear battle, strengthening should commence in earnest.

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The official track from the National Hurricane Center has not wavered, and still places a tropical storm near the Big Bend region of Northwest Florida sometime during the day on Thursday.

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Even though the storm remains below hurricane strength, wind damage and storm surge could cause damage especially just south of the center of landfall. Rainfall totals of more than a foot could lead to flooding, especially  just north of Tampa.

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Flooding inland in Florida as well as into extreme South & Southeast Georgia will occur as well, mainly Thursday into early Friday.

While all this activity is going on here in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico a rare event is occurring near Hawaii. A pair of Hurricanes is poised for a narrow miss of the Big Island of Hawaii. Never before has the Big Island taken a direct hit from a hurricane. The good news is that Madeline should slip just south and Lester just north of the Big Island as they continue moving westward across the Pacific. For now at least it looks like the Islands of Hawaii will dodge two bullets in a row.

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