Flood Warning expires at 10:04 PM on 4/24, issued at 10:04 PM Blackshear, GA | Bristol, GA | Mershon, GA | Millwood, GA

Warmer... Active Storm Track... Feb. Averages... "Earth Gauge": Super Savings, W. U.S. Drought, Polar Bears

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Updated: 1/31 10:39 pm
The warming trend has arrived but there will be a few showers over the weekend.  Temps. will rise into the 70s.

The weather pattern will be active during the upcoming week.  See the map below.....storm #1 will have no impact directly on the First Coast but will draw warmer, more humid air northward triggering a few showers at the same time.  Meanwhile the storm system will produce a heavy swath of snow from St. Louis to Chicago....
Storm #2 will be a littler farther south with heavy snow in the Midwest to the Great Lakes as the cyclone heads into Canada.  With the energy so far to the north, the cold will weaken as it moves across the First Coast Wed. with modest cooling behind the front but enhanced by onshore northeast winds off the chilly Atlantic late in the week.
Storm #3 will be even farther to the south & east & will have a more profound impact on the First Coast weather next weekend.

Time to turn the calendars to February.  Averages below are for JIA:
                                                     1st                                           28th
Low / High                                    43 / 66                                      47 / 71
Rainfall: 3.19"
SR / SS                                7:17am / 6:03pm                         6:54am / 6:25pm - gain 45 min. of daylight

 

Earth Gauge: Score Super Savings

When the Broncos and the Seahawks hit the field on Super Bowl Sunday, they’ll be playing in the NFL’s most energy-efficient stadium, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. Compared to the original Giants Stadium, MetLife Stadium – which is nearly twice the size – has reduced energy use by about 30 percent by using an automated lighting control system and energy efficient window coating that reduces heat gain. Water-efficient plumbing reduces the stadium’s water demand by 25 percent, compared to Giants Stadium. And, MetLife Stadium is reducing its waste by providing compost bins and expanding its recycling efforts. In 2012, the stadium composted 153 tons of waste and pulled 152 tons of recycling from its waste stream.

Tip: Take a page from MetLife Stadium’s playbook: Use some of the same strategies to save energy, save water and reduce waste at home. Oh, and you’ll save money, too.

  • Save energy with efficient lighting. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-saving light bulbs. Use lighting controls, like dimmers, motion sensors and timers, to automatically turn lights on and off as needed.
  • Install energy-efficient window treatments. Awnings, blinds, draperies, window coatings, insulated panels and other window treatments can help keep the heat in during winter and out during summer. Learn more about your options from Energy.gov.
  • Save water with efficient products. According to EPA’s WaterSense program, toilets are by far the main source of water use at home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Replace old, inefficient toilets that use as much as 6 gallons per flush with WaterSense labeled models that use less than 1.3 gallons and are independently certified to perform well. Your family could score savings of up to $120 per year on water costs!
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Recycling just one aluminum can saves the amount of energy needed to power a laptop computer for five hours! Before you toss a household item in the trash can, find out if it can be recycled. Visit ** here ** to find out what you can recycle, how and where

(Sources: The Alliance to Save Energy. “Here Are the NFL’s 5 Most Energy-Efficient Stadiums,”; MetLife Stadium. “Sustainability,”; EPA. “WaterSEnse Program,”, EPA. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,”)

Climate Fact: Persistent Drought in California and the Western U.S.

The year-long drought that covered over half of the United States in 2012 resulted in about 30 billion dollars in damage costs, and the Western drought and heat wave of 2013 is on NOAA’s list of billion dollar weather and climate disasters. Unfortunately, dry conditions in the West are lingering in 2014. A zone of high pressure in the atmosphere off the West Coast – almost four miles high and 2,000 miles long – is blocking storms from bringing precipitation into California, rerouting them to Alaska and portions of western Canada. This ridge of high pressure has been stalled for an incredible 13 months. Scientists aren’t sure why it has been stalled for so long or how much longer it will stick around, but the impacts are clear.

Droughts are among the most expensive natural disasters, harming agriculture, the economy and human health. They also create perfect conditions for wildfires, like the Colby wildfire in Glendora, California. Sparked by campfire embers flying into the dry foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Colby fire caused evacuation of nearly 2,000 residents and burned 1,932 acres as of January 23, 2014.  About half of California’s annual statewide precipitation occurs in December, January and February. December 2013 was drier than normal, making 2013 the driest calendar year since 1895 for the Western region. Since then, drought has expanded throughout the Pacific Northwest and intensified in California because of low precipitation and low snow water equivalent, the amount of water contained within the snowpack. Drought is expected to worsen in the Pacific Northwest through the end of January and persist until the end of April 2014. It will possibly worsen for California, as well – Governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought emergency in mid-January.

Scientists have shown that drought is a common and recurrent event in North America by studying the thickness of tree rings, which narrate the story about how climate and hydrology behaved historically. Droughts can be regional or pan-continental, short or multidecadal, and can occur in different climates and seasons. Pan-continental droughts – like the 2012 U.S. drought that covered 61.8 percent of the contiguous U.S. – are less common than single-region droughts, but have occurred in 12 percent of years since the 10th century. No major U.S. region is immune to such droughts. There have also been pan-continental megadroughts lasting several decades, which were most common during the 12th and 13th century.

View NASA’s side-by-side comparison of satellite images of California in January 2013 and January 2014.

(Sources: Cook, B.I, J.E. Smerdon, R. Seager, E.R. Cook. 2014. Pan-Continental Droughts in North America Over the Last Millennium. Journal of Climate 27:383-397; California Department of Water Resources. 2014. Drought Information. Accessed online 23 January 2014; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2014. U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook. Accessed online 23 January 2014; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2014. State of the Climate: National Overview for the Month of December. Accessed online 23 January 2014; Incident Information System. Soda Fire. Accessed online 23 January 2014 and Incident Information System. Colby Fire. Accessed online 23 January 2014; United States Drought Monitor. 2014.  U.S. Drought Monitor: West. Accessed online 23 January 2014; San Jose Mercury News. 2014. California Drought: What’s Causing It? Accessed online 23 January 2014; Overpeck, J.T. 2013. Climate Science: The Challenge of Hot Drought. Nature 503: 350-351)

Climate in the News: “Polar bear diet changes as sea ice melts”Science Daily, January 22, 2014.

A polar bears more resilient than we thought? A series of papers recently published by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History suggests that polar bears in the warming Arctic are turning to alternate food sources.

Have a great & safe weekend!

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