Florida, we need to talk…

Winter is to COLD as Florida is to:
A) DERP
B) HERP DERP
C) DURRRRRRRRR
D) All of the above

floridawinterPlease note: this image is from December 19, 2016. There’s an image floating around on social media from like 2013 that shows the same phenomenon. You can use either one to describe it as both are equally true. Map source: Weather Underground.

Hey Lowly Worm!

Hey Lowly, mind using your one red sneaker to kick this thing east?

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We’re perfectly safe up at Disney World right now and there are no major issues as a result of the storm, but. …. if you don’t have a full tank of gas you’re not getting it.

If you’re at the parks though try the Speedway station near the Magic Kingdom on Buena Vista Boulevard.

Windshear, please!

Hurricane Danny’s floating around out there in the Atlantic basin and I keep staring at the pretty windshear maps and hoping to see it stumble upon craggy rocky airmasses.
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Note: This is a STATIC image and is not up to date.

This image is from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones TCTrak page. 

The storm is surprisingly tiny and compact. Yesterday, computer models were showing it climbing pretty steadily in intensity, but now our good friend windshear filled its sails a little bit more.

I’m rooting for the windshear. Seriously, I’ve got a chant for it… no I don’t really, I just don’t want a hurricane. 😉

Smog! I dare you to handwave this one.

So a lot has been said recently on other blogs and various sources about how the Southeast Florida area cannot handle any more development due to transportation, water and sewer issues…

However there’s one thing nobody ever seems to want to talk about these days …. We’ve got smog.

This is what happens on any day without a strong breeze off the ocean or Everglades (what’s left thereof).

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This is the view of Miami from Okeechobee Station in Hialeah with no wind. The air reeks like hot garbage and tailpipe.

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This is the same view on a day with a strong sea breeze. You can just see it starting to whip up the hotter wet air from over the land and generate some rain clouds.

Uh, we have a problem.

Decades ago, we got dinged by the EPA for this situation; a system of mandatory vehicle smog checks was put into place. As soon as a single set of air quality measurements showed our pollution levels to be in compliance, governor Jeb Bush saw to it that the inspections stopped, then promptly gutted the air quality monitoring and saw to it that future monitoring would require a certification that doesn’t exist.

Oh well. Just file it under “things that don’t exist”, just like climate change.

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Summer’s coming back…

The downtown Miami skyline, viewed from Okeechobee station, and playing peekaboo in a rainy haze.

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Soon we’ll get our big thunderstorms rolling in again in the afternoons. For those not familiar with them, South Florida thunderstorms are a unique and powerful breed.

In my Skywarn training years ago, they presented us with a unique set of reporting criteria for the area. The major hazards we have from our thunderstorms are intense straight line wind gusts and extreme heavy rainfall causing urban flooding. The NWS Miami office in particular wanted notice of >2 inch per hour rainfall which usually comes as a blinding curtain of rain with very low visibility, any hail (it’s very unusual here due to high temperature) and strong wind gusts higher than 40 mph…. Which are very common!!

Will Smith’s song “Miami” makes reference to the intensity of our storms, though if you listen to the rest of the lyrics it’s clear he never left Miami Beach. “Hundred thousand dollar cars, everybody’s got em”? Naaaah go look on the other side of the bay.

The lightning gets pretty frequent too and is at its best when it lights up the night sky with cloud to cloud bolts. Lightning… I’ve seen it all. Green lightning from airborne salt water, ball lightning, blue jet lightning above clouds, secondary arcs induced near direct strikes, all sorts of wild arcy sparky.

I seem to recall hearing that this is an El Niño year, which tends toward weak tropical (hurricane) activity but really impressive summer thunderstorms.

We’ll see what we get, I guess. For now I just need to stop forgetting my umbrella.