Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Heat Is On!

The heat is on, feels like a sauna, a scorcher...all of these terms have been used to describe the extreme heat we have been dealing with in Central Georgia lately. And the bad news is that the above normal temperatures and high humidity are going to continue through the weekend!

Is this normal? No, it shouldn't be this hot yet. Our average high for the first half of June is 89 degrees. We have definitely had more days in the 90's so far this month. We even hit 100 for the first time this year on Tuesday. Our average low is 67, but we have been starting our mornings in the 70's the past week.

Why is it SO hot? Well, there is an area of high pressure at the upper levels of the atmosphere and it is parked right over the southeast. It's basically keeping a dome of really hot and humid air over Georgia and the south. And with all the heat and humidity the atmosphere can become unstable in the afternoon, which is why we have a daily chance of storms late in the day into the early evening.

Forecast models are hinting at the unseasonably warm conditions continuing through the end of the month. I hope the models are wrong, because summer hasn’t even officially started yet. Season starts on the 21st!

Meteorologist Sonya Stevens

Friday, June 11, 2010

Solar Flare

Did you know that every eleven or so years, the sun becomes much more active, spewing tons of energy out into the cosmos and even hurling it in our direction here on Earth? Most people don't. Every time the sun flings off this energy, it's called a solar flare and can contain 100 BILLION times the energy of the H-Bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Earlier this week, NASA released this statement concerning the upcoming peak of solar flares expected in 2013:

A century-class solar storm could result in 20 times more damage than the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the south-eastern US in August 2005. The storm killed 1,800 people and caused damages worth $81 billion.

Solar Flare & Prominence

Sounds pretty dire doesn't it?! Let's put it into perspective though. Solar flares don't affect us here on the ground. Earth's atmosphere acts as a shield to protect us from cosmic radiation. The magnetosphere will absorb the incoming flare and one of two things will happen. If the polarity (yep, like a magnet) of the flare and the atmosphere are the same we won’t notice anything on the ground because the magnetosphere will absorb the flare. If the polarities are opposite, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) will be activated and be able to be seen much farther south than usual, possibly even here in Middle Georgia.

Our satellites however, are extremely vulnerable. Because they are outside of the atmosphere they have no extra protection against these flares. The good news though is they can be temporarily disabled during a storm to prevent damage. You may notice a brief lack of signal on your cell phone but that's about it.

What NASA is describing is an extremely powerful solar flare that ejects from the sun and travels in the direction of the Earth with no warning, giving us no time to shut down satellite systems, etc. This could cause severe blackouts and loss of satellite based signals (GPS, satellite radios) for weeks or even months. While a possibility, it's a very slim one. In fact you're more likely to win the Powerball drawing next Tuesday. In case you're wondering, those odds are 1 in 195 million. In other words, no need to start hoarding foods and survival supplies just yet.

Meteorologist Jason Disharoon

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mixing Weather & Music

So it's blog time again. Every once in a while you can mix weather with music. Like today for instance. I was watching the interview we posted on our Scene 13 page with Drivin' N Cryin' a few weeks ago. Got nostalgic. Threw on Mystery Road, my favorite DNC album. Brought back tons of great memories of riding in the car with the windows rolled down, jammin' to Honeysuckle Blue. I called it my 280 air conditioner. Roll both windows down and go 80!

It's funny how a certain song can remind you of a season, especially summers full of great memories.

Hmmm, I just had an idea. How many weather songs can you think of? Here's what I got!

  • I Wish it Would Rain Down – Phil Collins
  • Blame it on the Rain – Milli Vanilli (uggghhh)
  • It's Rainin' Men – The Weather Girls (Not one of my favorites. Ahem)
  • Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
  • Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics
  • Love Reign O'er Me – The Who (Well, close enough)
  • Who'll Stop the Rain? – CCR
  • Rainy Days and Mondays – The Carpenters
  • Sunny – Bobby Hebb
  • Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head – B.J. Thomas
  • November Rain – Guns n Roses
  • Sunshine on My Shoulder – John Denver
  • Ride the Lightning – Metallica
  • God of Thunder – Kiss
  • Storm Troopin' –Ted Nugent
  • Snowblind – Styx
  • Candle in the Wind – Elton John
  • Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
  • Hurricane – Bob Dylan
  • Riders on the Storm – The Doors
  • Ridin' the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon
  • Rock You Like a Hurricane – The Scorpions
  • Ain't No Sunshine – Bill Withers
  • The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin
  • It's Raining Again – Supertramp
  • Ride Like the Wind – Christopher Cross
  • I Can't Stand the Rain – Ann Peebles (Have to admit, I searched for this one)
  • Summertime Rolls – Jane's Addiction
  • You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder
  • Laughter in the Rain – Neil Sedaka
  • Heat Wave – Martha and the Vandellas
  • Summer Breeze – Seals and Croft
  • Rain – Madonna
  • Raindrops + Sunshowers – Smashing Pumpkins
  • Cold as Ice – Foreigner
  • Sundown – Gordon Lightfoot
  • Lightning Strikes – Lou Christie
  • Lightning Crashes – Live
  • Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  • Have You Ever Seen the Rain – CCR
  • I Love a Rainy Night – Eddie Rabbitt
  • Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
  • Purple Rain – Prince
  • House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
  • Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks
  • Hot Hot Hot – Buster Poindexter
  • The Heat is On – Glenn Frey
  • In the Heat of the Night – Bryan Adams
  • Clouds – Joni Mitchell
  • Thunder Rolls – Garth Brooks
  • Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen
  • Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
  • Drops of Jupiter – Train (I know…a stretch)
  • The Call Me the Breeze – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Blowin' in the Wind – Bob Dylan
  • Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (sorry)
  • Cool Change – Little River Band
  • I Can See Clearly Now – Jimmy Cliff
  • Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain – The Cascades
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland
  • Stormy Weather – Lena Horne
  • Cruel Summer – Bananarama
  • Fire and Rain – James Taylor
  • Get Off of My Cloud – Rolling Stones
  • Against the Wind – Bob Seger
  • Hot Child in the City – Nick Gilder
  • I Made it Through the Rain – Barry Manilow
  • Summer Rain – Johnny Rivers
  • Cool Night – Paul Davis
  • Summer Nights – Olivia Newton John & John Travolta

Whewww! That's all I've got for right now. What about you?

Chief Meteorologist Ben Jones