Pierce County and Southeast Appling County Georgia Christmas Eve Tornado

...STORM SURVEY FOR THE PIERCE COUNTY AND SOUTHEAST APPLING COUNTY GEORGIA EF-1 TORNADO...

RATING:                 EF-1
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  9.64 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   60-100 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:             DEC 24 2014 
START TIME:             1250 PM EST
START LOCATION:         8 MILES NORTH OF BLACKSHEAR / PIERCE / GA 
LAT/LON:                31.406 / -82.251
END LOCATION:           8 MILES NORTH OF PATTERSON / APPLING / GA 
END_LAT/LON:            31.505 / -82.137

Updatedmap31Dec2014

SURVEY SUMMARY: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSONVILLE CONDUCTED A STORM SURVEY LATE CHRISTMAS EVE AFTERNOON IN PIERCE COUNTY AND APPLING COUNTY GEORGIA. THE METEOROLOGIST IN CHARGE CONDUCTED THE SURVEY...DETERMINING THAT THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN APPROXIMATELY 8 MILES TO THE NORTH OF BLACHSHEAR ALONG WALKERVILLE ROAD IN BETWEEN TAYLOR FARM ROAD AND EAST HORSESHOE ROAD AROUND 1250 PM EST.  LOW-END EF-1 DAMAGE WITH TORNADIC WINDS OF 100 TO 105 MPH WAS NOTED ALONG THE TORNADO PATH AS IT CROSSED GEORGIA STATE ROAD 121/15 INTO BRISTOL...INCLUDING DAMAGE TO 7 HOMES... POWERLINES DOWNED...AND LARGE TREES SNAPPED. EF-0 DAMAGE WAS NOTED AFTER THE TORNADO CROSSED GEORGIA STATE ROAD 121/15...WITH THE TORNADO CONTINUING ITS PATH NEAR SPOTTED FARM ROAD AND SONGBIRD PLACE...OR ABOUT 14 MILES NORTH OF BLACKSHEAR...THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO MOVE NORTHEAST CROSSING SALTILLA CREEK INTO SOUTHEAST APPLING COUNTY INTO THE LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY.  THE MAXIMUM WIDTH OF THE TORNADO WAS ESTIMATED TO BE 60-100 YARDS. PIERCE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT REPORTED NUMEROUS POWER OUTAGES IN THE VICINITY OF THE TORNADO. A SKYWARN SPOTTER IN APPLING COUNTY REPORTED TREES DOWNED, DEBRIS IN YARDS, ROOF OFF OF FARMING EQUIPMENT, LARGE SHINGLES OFF OF A LARGE PORTION OF A ROOF AND A SNAPPED POWER POLE.   

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Waves of Heavy Rainfall and Isolated Severe Thunderstorms Possible Late Tue-Wed

…Heavy Rainfall Potential through Wednesday…

…Slight Risk of Severe Thunderstorms NE Florida late Tuesday through Wednesday..
Synopsis & Timing

A swath of moderate rainfall along a warm front will continue to shift northward this morning over NE Florida and then over SE Georgia this afternoon. A few embedded thunderstorms are possible, but there is little potential for severe storms today. The main hazard will be locally heavy rainfall. Thus far, NWS Doppler radar indicated 24-hr rainfall across portions of Marion County of 2-2.5 inches.
The swath of heavier rainfall will continue to shift northward over SE Georgia tonight trailed by scattered to isolated showers over NE Florida into Tuesday morning.

A more widespread heavy rainfall event will unfold  Tuesday  afternoon through Wednesday ahead of a cold front, with an extended period of heavy rainfall expected across inland SE Georgia and the Suwannee River Valley of NE Florida. There is also the potential for a few strong to severe storms during this period.

Rainfall will gradually diminish west to east Wednesday night trailing a cold frontal passage. Cooler and drier conditions are expected by Thursday, Christmas day.

Impacts

The main local impact from this storm system will be widespread heavy rainfall with storm totals nearing 3-5 inches. Locally higher amounts are likely especially over portions of the Suwannee River Valley. There is also the potential for isolated strong to severe thunderstorms, mainly Tuesday afternoon through early  Wednesday especially across the Suwannee River Valley.

Rainfall:

At this time, widespread flooding is not a major concern given that it has almost been a month since significant rainfall fell across most locations. Waves of heavy rainfall are expected during two distinct periods.  The first wave of moderate rainfall will continue to lift northward today, with a break in persistent widespread rainfall tonight and early Tuesday morning. The second wave of moderate to heavy rainfall is expected late Tuesday through Wednesday ahead of cold front.

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Storm Hazards:

A few strong to severe storms are possible Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday across northeast Florida. A few strong storms may impact southeast Georgia Tuesday Night, but instability will be more limited over this area. There will be a variety of strong to severe storms hazards including gusty winds of 40-60 mph, hail, and the potential for brief tornadoes, especially across the Suwannee River Valley Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

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Please continue to monitor this evolving weather pattern.
Additional Information Resources:
NWS Jacksonville Webpage:  weather.gov/jax
NWS Jacksoville Facebook:  facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov
NWS Jacksonville Twitter:   twitter.com/NWSJacksonville
AHPS River Forecasts:  water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=jax

Heavy Rainfall Potential through Wednesday; Slight Risk of Severe Storms Late Tuesday

…Heavy Rainfall Potential through Wednesday…

…Slight Risk of Severe Thunderstorms NE Florida late Tuesday…

Synopsis & Timing

A very dynamic weather pattern will unfold over the southeast region over the next several days as a strong storm system develops across the central United States. Waves of moderate to locally heavy rainfall will impact the local area with embedded isolated thunderstorms beginning this afternoon, then a more widespread heavy rainfall event is expected Tuesday through Tuesday night ahead of a cold front. Strong to severe storms are possible across northeast Florida Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday Night. Widespread rainfall with embedded thunderstorms will impact the area Wednesday, with rainfall gradually ending west to east Wednesday night trailing a cold frontal passage. Cooler and drier conditions are expected by Thursday, Christmas day.

Impacts
The main local impact from this evolving storm system will be widespread heavy rainfall with storm totals nearing  3-4 inches across much of NE Florida, and 2-3 inches across SE Georgia. Locally higher amounts are likely especially over portions of the Suwannee River Valley. There is also the potential for isolated strong to severe thunderstorms, mainly Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday Night across Northeast Florida.
 
Rainfall:

At this time, widespread flooding is not a major concern given that it has almost been a month since significant rainfall fell across most locations. In addition, the rounds of heavy rain are expected during two distinct periods.  The first wave of moderate rainfall is expected later this afternoon through early Monday. Rainfall is expected to decrease in rate and coverage Monday afternoon through Monday night. The second wave of moderate to heavy rainfall is expected late Tuesday through Wednesday ahead of cold front.
Graphic1_21Dec2014

Storm Hazards:

At this time, the best window of opportunity for strong to severe storms is Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday night across northeast Florida. A few strong storms may impact southeast Georgia Tuesday Night, but instability will be more limited over this area. There will be a variety of strong to severe storms hazards including gusty winds of 40-60 mph, hail, and the potential for brief tornadoes, especially across the Suwannee River Valley Tuesday evening.  The threat for severe storms may shift into early Wednesday if forecast models continue to trend slower with the frontal passage.
Graphic2_Dec212014

This storm system is very dynamic and forecast models are in fair agreement through Monday morning, then begin to diverge with the timing of local impacts. Please continue to monitor this evolving weather pattern.

Additional Information Resources:
NWS Jacksonville Webpage:  weather.gov/jax
NWS Jacksoville Facebook:  facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov
NWS Jacksonville Twitter:   twitter.com/NWSJacksonville
AHPS River Forecasts:  water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=jax

Severe Thunderstorms and an EF0 Tornado Strike Northeast Florida

Event Date: Monday, November 17, 2014

A line of strong, to occasionally severe, thunderstorms moved across northeast Florida ahead of an intense cold front during the afternoon of Monday, November 17th, 2014.  These storms brought strong winds, frequent lightning, and very heavy rainfall.

Widespread straight line winds of 45 to 55 mph with localized area winds of up to 60 to 70 mph were common over portions of Baker, Duval, Clay, Nassau, and northern St. Johns counties associated with a squall line.

From: The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey
From: The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey – tractor-trailer flipped on Dames Point Bridge.
From @ActionNewsJax via @stormchaser4850
From @ActionNewsJax via @stormchaser4850

Within the line of thunderstorms, a circulation formed over Columbia County in northern Florida, and tracked east-northeast over portions of southern Baker, northern Union, and southern Duval Counties, as highlighted by the image below.  At one point, NWS Doppler Radar was detecting winds up to 80 mph over northern Union and southern Baker Counties.

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This resulted in one confirmed tornado touchdown of 65 to 75 mph (EF-0) over southern Baker county. The path length was 1.09 miles, and the width was 75 to 125 yards.

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One tornado touchdown has been confirmed in southern Baker County, radar showed areas that received significant damage, from severe straight-line winds.  The animations below show the track of a particularly intense storm from Columbia County to eastern Duval County.  You can easily see the circulation within this storm on the velocity animation, as illustrated by the green/red couplet detected within this storm.

ReflectivityNov17

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Pictures of an NWS Jacksonville employee’s daughter taking shelter during the height of the storm on Monday afternoon.

Shelter 11-18-2014 2-44-53 PM

Shelter 11-18-2014 2-43-37 PM

Tropical Storm Arthur – Update 230 pm

There are not any terrestrial warnings for the state of Florida.
Marine and Coastal:
At 230 pm today, the NWS Jacksonville cancelled the tropical storm warning from Flagler Beach to the Altamaha sound from 20 to 60 nautical miles out offshore, as the storm continues to pull away from the Northeast Florida peninsula. There will however, be small craft advisories with heightened seas and swells with occasional winds gusts to gale force (34 knots), particularly in the 40 to 60 nautical mile range through 11 am tomorrow. There may be some rain bands that come during this afternoon and tonight across the coastal waters, that enhance winds intermittently.
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Rips currents and breakers will be dangerous through the fourth of July. This is the biggest impact that we will have to be cognizant of for beachgoers. Remain vigilant for young children near the water, especially at night, when it is hard to discern rip currents.  A few lingering swells will keep an elevated rip current risk at local beaches, potentially through the holiday weekend.  
Winds:  Near the immediate coast, winds will be generally 15 to 20 mph, with higher intermittent gusts at 30 mph associated with a few rain bands that come on shore.
This afternoon will be the closest approach to the northeast Florida and southeast Georgia coastlines.
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Rain:  Rainfall will be generally sparse through the next 48 hours. Rainfall amounts may near 1-1.5 inches along the immediate coast, especially south of St. Augustine through Thursday. Some higher amounts may be experiences if a rain band is slow to move or trains over the same location. 
48hourrainfall
High Heat Indices

Dangerous heat indices are expected today and Thursday inland with values near 105 expected during the afternoon across southeast Georgia and northern portions of the Suwanee River Valley.

 
Additional Information Resources:

NWS Jacksonville Webpage:  srh.noaa.gov/jax

NWS Jacksoville Facebook:  facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov

NWS Jacksonville Twitter:   twitter.com/NWSJacksonville

AHPS River Forecasts:  water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=jax

Factors Not Yet In Place For Significant Strengthening of Arthur

Tropical Storm Arthur has become a little better organized this evening, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. The storm is only drifting west or northwest at less than 5 mph.

The radar image below suggests why Arthur is struggling to intensify.  The surface low pressure center (small L on image) is displaced a considerable distance NW of low pressure further aloft (large L). Much of the thunderstorm activity is circulating around the low aloft.  Because the low aloft is not directly above the surface low, there is weak northerly shear over the surface low, along with drier air spreading in from the north.

ArthurRadar

The latest model guidance keep the low aloft separated from the surface low, and thus show minimal intensification of the system over the next few days. However, once Arthur gets east of the South Carolina coast, the surface  low becomes positioned beneath the low aloft, and strengthening is shown…possibly to a hurricane as it approaches the North Carolina coast.

That is the current expectation.  If, however, the surface low becomes positioned under the low aloft sooner, and the system is over the warm gulf stream, intensification could occur sooner than forecast and we could see a stronger system well offshore of GA than currently expected.  This would only impact winds and seas over the marine waters.

At this time…little has changed with respect to expected impacts of Arthur, which should be fairly minimal for areas of northeast FL/southeast GA that are well inland from the coast.  We may see some rain bands from Arthur affect the coastal counties Wed as Arthur moves northward…bringing heavy downpours and gusty winds of 25 to 35 mph.   The greatest threat from Arthur will be strong rip currents through July 4th.

Continue to closely monitor the progress of Arthur, and your latest forecast.

Additional Information Resources:
NWS Jacksonville Webpage: srh.noaa.gov/jax
NWS Jacksonville Facebook: facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov
NWS Jacksonville Twitter: twitter.com/NWSJacksonville
AHPS River Forecasts: water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=jax

 

…Tropical Storm Arthur Offshore of the Central Florida Atlantic Coast…

At 2:00 p.m. EDT, Tropical Storm (TS) Arthur was located near latitude 27.9 north and longitude 79.4 west, or approximately 210 miles south-southeast of Mayport, Florida. This position is also about 150 miles southeast of Flagler Beach, Florida. TS Arthur is moving northwest at 5 mph. This general motion should continue through tonight, followed by a turn toward the north on Wednesday. The center of the tropical cyclone is expected to remain offshore and move east of the central Florida east coast during the next day or so. The system is forecast to pass 80 to 120 miles offshore of northeastern Florida on Wednesday and Wednesday night and about 120 to 140 miles east of southeast Georgia coast early Thursday morning. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center. Conditions should allow for at least steady strengthening and TS Arthur is expected to become a hurricane offshore or near the Carolina Coasts by Thursday night and Friday morning.

 

 

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Local Impacts & Timing:

Based on the latest forecast, the greatest impact from this system will likely be over the adjacent Atlantic waters out 20 to 60 nautical miles Wednesday and Wednesday night, with conditions improving Thursday as the low tracks farther NE away from the region. A tropical storm watch was issued this morning for the offshore Atlantic coastal waters (20-60 NM east of the Altamaha River southward to 20-60 NM east of Flagler Beach) and this watch may be upgraded to a warning around 430 p.m. A Watch means that Tropical Storm conditions are possible over these waters within 48 hours.

The highlight impact (rip currents) for our region

As onshore winds increase through midweek and swells build, the chance of dangerous rip currents along the coast will also increase. Today there is a moderate risk of rip currents, with a high risk of rip currents expected on Wednesday. Breezy ENE winds will near 15-25 mph today and Wednesday with higher gusts…especially along the immediate beaches. The main impact for coastal counties will be dangerous rip currents on area beaches from swells originating from the storm through July 4.  This is where lifeguards and local coastal county officials will have to remain vigilant and safeguard beach goers into the holiday weekend.  Folks going to nighttime fireworks near the beach, a word of caution, please be very mindful of whereabouts of children, due to the strong rip currents that will be hard to discern during the dark of night!   

Marine Impacts:

As Tropical Storm Arthur begins to track northward alongside the northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia Atlantic Coast tonight through Wednesday Night, the threat for sustained winds offshore is likely to increase.  The latest forecast is for tropical storm force winds from late Wednesday afternoon to late Wednesday evening.

Northeast winds will likely increase to Tropical Storm strength Wednesday and Wednesday night over the offshore waters (20-60 NM offshore). Winds will increase 30 to 35 knots over the offshore waters with gusts up to 50 knots possible Wed through Wed night.  Seas will build up to 7 to 10 feet offshore by Wednesday night. Mariners are encouraged to continue to closely monitor this system.

Event Rainfall: 

These are general rainfall totals, remember rainfall totals may be locally higher if a rain band stalls over a particular area.

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Winds:  

Generally during the event, winds will be generally be between 10 to 20 mph during the entire event for all inland areas.  The exception will be for occasional squalls with the outer rain bands furnishing wind gusts to 30 mph along the immediate beaches and intracoastal waterway.   

Additional Information Resources:
NWS Jacksonville Webpage: srh.noaa.gov/jax
NWS Jacksonville Facebook: facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov
NWS Jacksonville Twitter: twitter.com/NWSJacksonville
AHPS River Forecasts: water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=jax

 

Tropical Depression 1 – Local NE FL and SE GA Impacts Tonight thru Early Thursday

…Marine & Coastal Impacts likely Wednesday and Wednesday Night from Tropical Depression One…
…Depression One likely to become a Tropical Storm later Today…

 

Synopsis & Forecast Confidence: 

Tropical Depression One was about 170 miles SE of Flagler Beach early this morning. Conditions are favorable for this depression to develop into a Tropical Storm later today and then track north and northeast offshore the northeast Florida and southeast Georgia coast Wednesday night.  Forecast models have come into good agreement with this storm strengthening to Tropical Storm strength as it moves northward while paralleling the southeast Atlantic coast through late Thursday.
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Local Impacts & Timing:
Based on the latest forecast, the greatest impact from this system will likely be over the adjacent Atlantic waters and along the immediate coastline Wednesday and Wednesday night, with conditions improving Thursday as the low tracks farther NE away from the region. A tropical storm watch was issued this morning for the offshore Atlantic coastal waters (20-60 NM east of the Altamaha River southward to 20-60 NM east of Flagler Beach). This watch means that Tropical Storm conditions are possible over these waters within 48 hours.
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Marine Impacts:
NE winds will likely increase to Tropical Storm strength Wednesday and Wednesday night over the offshore waters (20-60 NM offshore). Winds will increase up to 35 knots offshore with gusts up to 50 knots possible Wed through Wed night.  Seas will build up to 7 to 9 feet offshore. Mariners are encouraged to continue to closely monitor this system. 

Coastal Impacts:
As onshore winds increase through midweek and swells build, the chance of dangerous rip currents along the coast will also increase. Today there is a moderate risk of rip currents, with a high risk of rip currents expected on Wednesday. Breezy ENE winds will near 15-20 mph today and Wednesday with higher gusts. 

Thunderstorm/Rainfall Outlook:

Coast: Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to begin to move onshore later today, edging their way northward up the Atlantic coast tonight through late Wednesday. Bands of showers and isolated thunderstorms will move onshore through Wednesday night, with locally heavy rainfall possible. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible generally south of St Augusine thorugh Thursday, with locally higher amounts. Gusty winds in squalls may reach up to 40 mph.

Inland:  Scattered mainly afternoon and evening thunderstorms are expected both today and Wednesday.

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Once again, this forecast is highly dependent on the eventual track and strength of this Tropical system.

Additional Information Resources
NWS Jacksonville Webpage: www.srh.noaa.gov/jax
NWS Jacksoville Facebook: facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov
NWS Jacksonville Twitter:  twitter.com/NWSJacksonville
AHPS River Forecasts: water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=jax

…Marine and Coastal Impacts Likely Late Tuesday through Wednesday from Low Pressure east of Florida Atlantic Coast…

Synopsis & Forecast Confidence: 
An area of low pressure was about 197 miles ESE of Palm Coast, Florida  this late afternoon. Conditions are still favorable for this low to develop into a tropical system (likely a tropical depression Tuesday, and tropical storm Wednesday) over the next  few days as remains east of the Florida Atlantic Coast, and then tracks northward track toward the Carolinas after mid-week. Forecast models have come into some agreement with this low through early Tuesday, then, however, continue to diverge with the strength and track of the low as it begins a northward trek late Tuesday  through Wednesday. This is the time period when the system will near the local coastline.
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Impacts & Timing:
Based on the latest forecast, the greatest impact from this system will likely be over the adjacent Atlantic waters and along the immediate coastline Tuesday and Wednesday, with conditions improving Thursday as the low tracks farther NNE away from the region.
Marine Impacts:
N-NE winds will increase into the 15-20 knots with combined seas of 3-5 feet expected to build to 4-6 feet offshore today as swells increase.  As the low drifts farther south of the waters Mon & Tue, wind speeds may decrease into the 10-15 knot range then increase again Tue night-Wed as the low begins lift northward along the Florida Atlantic coast. At this time, winds 20 knots or less are forecast through the upcoming week with seas 6 feet or less. These magnitudes could change if the storm track shifts and/or the storm strengthens. Mariners are encouraged to continue to closely monitor this system.

Coastal Impacts:

As onshore flow increases today through midweek and swells build, the chance of dangerous rip currents along the coast will also increase. Today there is a moderate risk of rip currents, with at least a moderate risk of rip currents expected to continue through midweek.
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Thunderstorm/Rainfall Outlook:

Coast: Below normal rain chances in the 20% or less range today. As the storm develops tonight into Tuesday, onshore winds will bring a low 20-30% chance of showers with the best chances south of St. Augustine through midday Tuesday. Rain chances increase late Tue night through Wed into the 50-60% range as the storm drifts northward, likely  paralleling the Florida Atlantic coast with squalls brushing the coastline and making some inland penetration. Squalls are the outer rain bands of the storm, and brief locally heavy rainfall as well as gusty winds of 25-40 mph will be possible in the rain bands as well as isolated thunderstorms.

Inland (generally west of the Interstate 95 corridor): Below normal rain chances in the 20-30% range are expected during the afternoon and evenings, except for a corridor of higher rain chances in the 30-40% during the late afternoon and early evening near the I-75 corridor today and again Tuesday since the area will be on the drier, west side of this low pressure system. Therefore, rainfall is not a major concern at this time. Wednesday, moisture is expected to increase as the low begins to track northward, possibly paralleling the local coastline, and rain chances increase into the 30% range for SE Georgia and 40% for inland NE Florida.

Once again, this forecast is highly dependent on the eventual track and strength of this developing area of low pressure.

Additional Information Resources:

NWS Jacksonville Webpage:  srh.noaa.gov/jax

NWS Jacksonville Facebook:  facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov

NWS Jacksonville Twitter:   twitter.com/NWSJacksonville

AHPS River Forecasts:  water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=jax