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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Caucus Chill, Florida Freeze, & Big Changes Soon

I have often said it's a waste of cold air if there is no snow. Well, they have snow in Iowa, but it's still too cold. Florida- doesn't need nor want snow. These temps this morning are dangerous to the citrus crop. All it takes is 6 hours below freezing to damage the oranges. Looks like there was also some damage to vacation plans. Miami dropped to the upper 30s this morning. It should be noted that last year there was a record freeze in California that caused $480 million in damage.

One primary thing I look at for temperatures is the 850mb level. That's roughly 5,000Ft up but a true measurement of an air mass. That's because it is not subject to the influence of surface features such as water, hilltops, and urban heating. We can calculate the net result at the surface using a skew-T diagram such as this (these numbers are in Centigrade). I spent nearly a semester learning this, so no way I can explain it all now. Here is this morning's (12Z) balloon launch measurement, which would calculate to only 30F this afternoon.
Here is a comparison from this morning (left) to Monday afternoon (right). That's -15c this morning to +14 on Monday. A rise of nearly 30C translates to surface temps jumping close to 60F. This high amplitude jet and dramatic change is still a good sign that there is more to come- and perhaps by the middle to end of the month a pattern shift will bring snow back for us.

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