"But seeing they could not See; hearing they could not Hear"
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"From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds." - Job 37:9.

"The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course".

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Will STS-133 Shuttle Discovery Be Able To Launch Today?

Images: (1) KSC mesonet with launch area circled in lime color. (2) State wide Local Data Integration shows a very weak low pressure circulation just off Canaveral Blight in the lee of of the Gulf Stream where upstream east to eventually SSEasterlies will develop late this afternoon. A few light rain showers are well offshore, and gray/silver lining shows the greatest cloud coverage at this time.

NOW: Morning fog many areas state wide is burning off and skies are completely clear at Canaveral with a light east wind. Subsidence aloft and in the windward side of cool, light onshore flow is scouring out the clouds at KSC, but dew points remain high, at least until early afternoon. The current conditions might be a bit misleading considering that a transition, albeit insignificant outside of a rocket launch concern, is underway. In the image above, we see what has become this season a very weak cyclonic circulation just east of Canaveral Bight formed by weak overnight land breezes , the remaining old frontal boundary, and stronger SE flow trying to develop...all along an inverted coastal trough tracing the west side of the warmer Gulf Stream waters.

TODAY: As high pressure off the coast of South Carolina strengthens a bit and drops south and east a bit in response to today's severe weather maker for parts of "Dixie Alley" (especially from East Central Arkansas to Western Tennessee, NW Mississippi, extreme NE Louisiana, and SW Kenucky) which will be pressing east throughout the afternoon and into the eveing, the coastal trough will wash out as it forced to cross the cooler near shore waters from where it currently resides and toward the Florida East Coast. Light easterlies this afternoon will transition to SSE around launch time blowing around 12-18mph (perhaps gusts to 22mph). As such, do not believe winds will be a factor.

Otherwise, during the transition a light, short lived rain shower could approach the coast, but the likelihood of one to manifest off the cool ocean waters (or survive the journey away from the warm, moisture Gulf stream waters source) seems very low. However, cloudiness of ' partly cloudy' nature is a possibility. Even so, do not think 'triggered lightning' will be a concern today due to very low end convective nature of the cloud types.

Only concern today from the meteorological perspective is whether or not a broken deck will manifest at around 4500 ft. later this afternoon after peak heating. Like mentioned, at this time it's clear as a bell out there, and that may very well end up being the case right up until launch time. But I wouldn't lay 1000 dollars on it. I'd give it a 65% chance of a go, at least right at launch time. If we don't start seeing clouds appear between 3-4pm we probably never well.

Best chance of clouds appearing will be between 4:30pm through 7pm....somewhere within that time frame as the boundary will become absorbed in the averaged SSE flow and spreads any coverged moisture onshore, lasting because a SSE wind blows across warmer ocean waters than one from any northerly component are at this time of year. By the time we reach the waning minutes of daylight clouds should disperse, with significant clearing within 1 hour after dark.

BEYOND TODAY: SSE winds all night will gradually veer to SSW by sunrise Friday. It will even be a little breezy right after sunrise tomorrow, and warm all along the East Coast, especially north Vero Beach. Highs in the mid-80s, and a few spots of upper 80Fs. Melbourne's record high temperature for the date might again be jeopardized for the 3rd time this month, but probably won't be broken since I think the record high for the date is something like 90F (at least). Not sure, but the record high for today is 92F. Can tell we are in early spring now, with record highs in the 90F degree range and record lows on some days still down in the upper 20Fs.

SATURDAY: Dixie Alley Storm system Number 1 will trail into North Central Florida and meander as the boundary (cold front) fizzles. Tiny 15% chance of a shower over North Central/ North Florida. Not quite as warm as Friday as SW winds will have weakened considerably on Saturday, with coastal sea-breezes (light). Continued abnormally warm over South Florida with highs in mid-80s, closer to 80-82F Central with A1A coming in between 75F-79F. All in all though, still above average.

SUNDAY: Boundary still around, morning fog likely. Temperatures about the same as Saturday. Shower chance diminishes North Central and North. Warmer Monday (like Friday).

FIRST CHANCE OF SHOWERS? Overnight Monday into Tuesday morning North Central, shifting toward South Central and Southeast Florida Tuesday afternoon as Dixie Alley Storm System #2 will be moving in, and likely through, most of gets sticky toward the Miami Metro Area. But we could see more coastal shower chances at various time going into late week and next weekend with temperatures close to normal rather than above average.

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