January thaw

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SUMMARY

The warming trend that began yesterday continues today. Clouds will drift in and out, keeping temps cooler than they would otherwise be. Regardless, we should still touch 50 degrees for a high temperature. Our next storm system moves in Monday with rain and isolated thunderstorms. No severe weather is expected. Winds will be gusty from the south. That system, with it’s trailing cold front, will pass through Monday night, bringing cooler temperatures to the plateau. This is not an arctic front, so bitter cold air will not filter in behind this system.

DISCUSSION

One thing you can often count on with the big arctic cold outbreaks that we’ve had lately is that you can expect a rather dramatic warm-up once they’ve moved east.  As the cold high pressure cell moves south out of Canada, we get north winds, which opens the flood gates for cold air to invade our region. As time goes along, the high will shift east of us, which means south winds will begin bringing in that warmer air from the South (sometimes dramatically!). Remember, the flow around a high pressure is clockwise, with north winds on its east side, south winds on its west side.

Looking at Monday’s storm system, there will be a chance for isolated storms. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted areas to our south for the possibility of some strong storms. Can you believe how much we’ve shifted gears? One week I’m warning you about snow and dangerously cold temps, the next week I’m telling you we’re going to have storms, but you don’t have to worry about them being severe. This system is very dynamic and, were it springtime and temps were warmer and dewpoints were higher, we’d be talking about severe weather. Remember, the dewpoint temperature is a measure of moisture in the air. The higher the dewpoint, the more humid it feels outside. When the temperature and dewpoint get within about 5 degrees of each other, the air is often humid enough to support precipitation falling. You’ll hear me mention dewpoint a lot as we head into spring. That moisture in the air is a storms fuel. The higher the level of moisture in the air, the higher the octane available for storms is.

After this front passes, we’ll have some rather pleasant weather for January. I think we’re all a bit ready for that. Remember, the persimmon seeds said we’d be shoveling snow this winter. They said the same for folks down South and look what they’ve dealt with! We still have the rest of January to go and all of February and March, so don’t dismiss the persimmon just yet! (haha)

Finally, I’ll leave you with something that really impressed me on my trip to Cape Canaveral this week. During our tour of the Kennedy Space Center we noticed buses that kept leaving out. We assumed it was something else that would cost money. Just getting into Kennedy Space Center was $50.00. As we started to leave, I told my co-worker and traveling partner Matilda that I would go check and see what the buses were all about. Thank goodness I did! They were shuttling people to the launch pads and it didn’t cost a thing, so long as you had paid the $50.00 bucks to get into Kennedy. That was worth the whole trip to Florida for me. I was awestruck. I just kept thinking that this is the gateway to space. This is where we left for the moon. This is where we’ll leave this earth and explore a space we still know so little about. Who knows what we’ll find? This, I thought, is where we’ll leave for Mars. And just as I thought that, our tour guide spoke up to point out that we approaching that very launch pad.  I looked around and thought, “This is the last thing those astronauts will see of our planet before they leave for another.”  It also struck me that this place may even be the last they ever see of our planet again. This is where friends and family will wish the brave explorers a safe journey, fervently hoping and praying those wishes come true.

As we press forward in our endeavors to explore space, lets hope and pray for safe endeavors. And just think, someday you’ll look up at that night sky and see a moon that is no longer void of life. We’ll be there. And someday, you’ll look up at the night sky and see Mars and know that folks are there, too. And they’ll look up into their night sky and see the earth they took their flight from. Heck, maybe some of us will even get to visit them! Pretty cool, huh? It’s exciting times, folks, and the best is yet to come!

Below is the launch pad that will take us to Mars.

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