JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This weather story has a little bit for everybody: heat, rain, sunshine and what could be a significant arctic outbreak. Let's get to it.
WARMTH AND RAIN:
After a January that was colder than normal, the overall atmospheric setup has shifted back to a warmer regime across much of the lower 48. Temperatures Monday reached 80 degrees and Tuesday could be equally as warm, if not a degree or two more.
The record high for Tuesday is 84 degrees set back in 1990. While it appears that record is safe, we'll definitely be within striking distance, temperatures are currently hitting the low 80s areound town. The absence of coats in place of shorts and flip flops will be short lived- so enjoy it while it lasts.
What could be a tornado outbreak across portions of Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky ahead of a cold front will move east into a more stable atmosphere thus ending the tornado threat for the most part. However, the heavy rain threat will persist into our neck-of-the-woods.
The weather team is monitoring the possibility of a Weather Authority Alert Day for Thursday for moderate to heavy rains and cooler conditions.
At this time it does not appear as though thunderstorms or severe weather will be an issue for those of us along the First Coast but we can't totally rule out a lightning bolt and a few cracks of thunder.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has placed our area under a general risk of thunderstorms, the lowest classification of any adverse weather. A little further to the north in Georgia, there is a marginal risk of severe weather, the lowest classification of any severe weather category risk.
Therefore, our concern is not about severe weather but just widespread rains that may impact your Thursday plans; morning, noon and night.
POTENTIAL ARCTIC OUTBREAK:
It's Groundhog's Day. "Tired of the winter blast? An early Spring is my forecast," says Punxsutawney Phil. I wonder if he saw what's looming to our north for next week?
The Weather Authority has, since at least Saturday, been monitoring what could be a very significant, long duration arctic outbreak for the United States, including right here in Jacksonville around the Wednesday/Thursday time frame next week.
While it's far too early to talk specifics, what is clear is that first this is a high confidence event while the severity of it is very low confidence. Second, the computer models are waffering on how significant this could be for our area. Indications are right now, still 8-10 days out, that it would easily...easily...be the coldest days of the year so far with temperatures at night well below freezing.
There are many factors that play into our local weather as to how cold it could or could not get including how strong the winds are, the direction of the winds and if we have clouds.
Stay tuned! We'll have more as the event draws closer.