JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nelly sang, "It's gettin' hot in here." So true. Near record highs in fact by Wednesday afternoon. Hold on though, we're about to crest the top of that proverbial roller coaster, again, as temperatures free-fall back to winter-like levels. Hands up, ya'll!
We've spent the last two afternoons basking in the brilliant sunshine and temperatures at 81 degrees. In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw Richard Nunn sunbathing behind the station Tuesday. With temperatures forecast at 85 degrees Wednesday, it'll be bordering on hot. We'll go with a more politically correct 'uncomfortable' for now.
Temperatures will flirt with record highs coming to within one degree at both Jacksonville and Alma, GA. Gainesville's record of 89° set in 1997 is likely safe as the forecast high temperature is four degrees shy of the record. See above image for Wednesday's records.
The winds of March are going to bring change soon. Big change.
TEXAS TO NEW YORK
Winter storm warnings (seen in pink below) are hoisted from north-central Texas, including Dallas-Fort Worth through the Ark-La-Tex stretching through most of Tennessee, Kentucky and into the northeast including some of the big cities of the megalopolis including Washington and Philadelphia.
The 'Big D' is forecast to be a big mess by Wednesday night into Thursday. As much as a tenth of an inch of ice and one inch of sleet is expected to make traffic all but impossible around the Metroplex as well as in and out of DFW International. If American is your carrier, delays are likely nation-wide by Thursday. Call ahead to your carrier.
Texas normally isn't known for it's cold weather and snow but it's quite a misnomer. Between February 16th and March 3rd, Dallas has reported 8 days with ice or snow and more is expected.
Nearly the entire state of Arkansas, West Virginia and all of Kentucky and Deleware are under a winter storm warning including most of Tennessee, Maryland and parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania and many other states.
Has anybody apprehended that stupid groundhog yet?
The ice threat transitions to a snow threat east into Arkansas. Little Rock is expecting 2-4 inches of snowfall and temperatures hovering in the low 20s for daytime highs by Thursday. The snow moves into the District where up to 8 inches is being forecast with wind chill values as low as one degree below zero. Anybody wanna walk the mall?
Further north, Philadelphia is looking for up to 10 inches of snow with wind chills as low as five degrees below zero. Even New York City is under a winter storm watch where as much as 5 to 8 inches of snow is expected.
Temperatures are expected to take a dive here in north Florida behind the passage of this front.
The current forecast calls for a 30 degree or more drop in daytime highs between Thursday and Friday. It'll be all the more shocking to the system being that we'll be so far above normal for this time of year followed by a big drop to well below normal in just 24 hours. The normal high temperature for March 4th is 71°.
We'll slowly see temperatures return to normal over the following days heading into next week but as seen in the graph at right, it will be a day by day climb and not nearly as dramatic as the drop.
Rain chances with the passage of the front have decreased with each subsequent model run. Currently we're only looking for about a 30% chance of showers as the front moves through with no thunderstorms expected. Rain fall amounts should be under a quarter inch for most of us and not cause too much disruption across the first coast.
Look, the bottom line here is, I'm the messenger. Contrary to popular belief, I don't have a magic wand to change the weather (although I do have tarot cards and a stereotypical fortune-teller hat -- but that was for Halloween). I can tell you though that for those who love the warm weather, it's March and it's only a matter of time before we're all baking in the perpetual heat and stifling humidity.