WEATHER MADE CLEAR FOR ALL TO HEAR

"But seeing they could not See; hearing they could not Hear"
“The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Weather Service or affiliate/related organizations. Please consult .gov sites for official information”

"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".

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weensy Storm Chance but Overall Cloudiness With Frontal Passage

Overall chance of storms today looks pretty slim despite sufficient directional and speed shear across Central Florida with the stickler being lack of a trigger and greater surface heating / lack of low level instability  Regardless, the frontal boundary will be sinking to Central at Prime Time
TODAY: Front will glide into station across Central later this afternoon between 2-5pm on the way to South Florida. There is a small chance that storms could manifest with convergence closer to the boundary, as the amount of bulk shear is nothing to mess with. Supercell and even small tornado parameters are showing up due to the wind fields, but getting a storm to go up otherwise could be a problem. To play it safe, a least we can expect some spotty drip drops around heading south through dark into South Central, although even those could be on the wane as the wind fields shift east and off shore before the front ever gets there, especially south of Brevard or Indian River County.

Frontal passage across Dead Central (as a point of reference) should occur between 3-5pm or so, with dry air intrusion commencing almost immediately. Dead Central, as such, could see rapid clearing an hour before sunset (potentially) and falling temperatures behind the boundary, especially between 7:30 -11pm going into the 50Fs with 40Fs, further south  upper 60Fs and 70Fs remaining until frontal passage.

SUNDAY: Winds NNW and quite cool, with highs central in the mid-upper 50Fs, warmer into the low to mid 60Fs further south, cooler north. Cleared out skies as wind slowly veers toward the north and eventually NNE after midnight.

MONDAY: Have a sneaky suspicion it will become partly cloudy to mostly cloudy near the coast over night Sunday night, such that so ..the lowest temperatures will occur potentially before 9pm Sunday night along the immediate coast before stratocumulus clouds move in. So far, it looks like mostly lower level clouds with maybe some sprinkles eventually spreading across the state Monday afternoon with winds E-ESE and highs in the 60Fs due to cloud cover. At least so far that seems to be the trend.

TUESDAY: Winds becoming ESE, but light, and possibly seeing high clouds move in with time with continued low level moisture in place. In short, high temperatures could be held down because of more clouds at other levels, but good drying is also shown at other atmospheric levels too, so hard to be for certain.

WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY: The next front will have partial origins from the Gulf, with only a slow sag toward the Central Peninsula as it aligns parallel to jet stream winds. It's going to take a while to 'sink in' but once it does someone could get very wet. So far, the GFS is showing measurable rainfall either late Wednesday or sometime into Thursday, but this could again manifest as merely cloud cover. Too soon to say but chances are all of the North half will get wet in some form or another once again.

BEYOND: Seeing as how the next front after today/tonight will partially manifest from the western Gulf region, it will merely act to recirculate air already present in the region mixed with some cooler air from the north  so no big temperature drop is expected. 

After that, only warmer air is seen to  the 9Th of January.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Gradually Warmer Through Saturday

Generalization of Temperature Spreads around 8:30AM This Friday Morning
TODAY: Gradually warmer today with light winds. Cloud cover increase most likely over the SW part of the state spreading NE, especially toward Central within an hour of sunset, although some patchy clouds could materialize prior to that time. Otherwise, fairly cool but not bad with highs Central Line between 68F and 72F and warmer into the 72-75F range far South Central and South, and cooler north in the mid 60Fs,

TONIGHT: Increased cloud cover should prevent overnight lows from falling as much as they did last night into early this morning as winds become light from the east and eventually ESE-SE duing the day Saturday. Winds aloft already coming from the SW under the shallow easterly type flow near the surface/ground level. Coastal lows (along A1A) , especially from the Cape South, might bottom out only near sunset, and even warm a few degrees by sunrise.

SATURDAY: Frontal boundary entering the panhandle with rain showers and some thunder 'possible' north of I4 toward South Tampa Bay, but at this point lack of instability and increasingly unilateral flow from the surface to aloft would prevent upward lift in the presence of lack of a triggering mechanism. Although, the region from near Brooksville south to South Tampa could see some measurable rains and thunder, areas to the east would be stabilized further under upstream blow-off cloud cover. Rain-shower chance though is present most all day long on Saturday as well as cloud cover.

SATURDAY NIGHT: Frontal boundary to slide south of Dead Central close to an hour before sunset with cloud cover remaining for a few hours with rapid clearing mid evening toward midnight from Central to South. Cold/dry air intrusion commences in full around sunrise, thus, daytime highs on Sunday on the cool side.

SUNDAY: Cold air infiltration (advection) accompanied by dry conditions peak out mid morning with little change during the day. Highs dead Central and north might be lucky to crack 60F, with low to mid 60Fs further south. Winds slowly veer toward the NE-E rather quickly ahead of yet another frontal boundary heading toward Monday morning.

NEXT WEEK: Gradual warm up into Monday and Tuesday as frontal boundary sinks toward Central. So far, it appears it will go nearly stationary for nearly 36 hours, accompanied by some cloud cover, but shower chances are not overly impressive so far across Central and South until after frontal passage in an over-running type set up. This will need to be re-evaluated as that time draws nigh. The region north of I-4 toward I10 might not be so lucky closer to and behind where the boundary rests, awaiting greater push from the north as a mid level trough passes further to the north by a good 36 hours.

NEW YEARS DAY: Looks rather   warm contingent on cloud cover with highs either way in the low-mid 70Fs if not upper 70Fs. Winds SW at 12-20mph during the afternoon.

BEYOND: So far, it appears that after Sunday morning/day..we could be in for yet another shift in the overall synoptic scale (broad scale) pattern for much of the United States, mostly affecting on the warm side the Deep Southeast , especially Florida into South Georgia and Alabama. Could see a good period of round the clock 60Fs and 70Fs "Florida". And, if the GFS trend continues, it would be potentially above average temperatures during the onset of the coldest time of year some years for Central and South Florida. Fingers crossed. Guidance has swung through all extremes from possible severe, to plain out wet, to near nothing happening at all. But in all cases, no big cold spell has yet to be foreseen to match any previous ones to date since the colder season commenced.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post Christmas Frontal Boundary Marches Through

Pencil line of clouds  tracing along the cold frontal convergence at low levels extends well beyond this image to the SW into the Gulf denoting the frontal boundary which steadfastly marches across the state, plowing the land cape of warm moist air along its treacherous path
TODAY: Post-Christmas Cold front is  careening  across the state this afternoon with no holds barred. Severe weather not expected, nor nary a 'strong' storm. Although, there is some thunder and lightning here and there along that line, it is always possible a quick shot of 'strong' could occur due to wind gusts alone, thunder or no thunder since winds just above the deck are primed and ripe for the pickins of random gusts toward 45 -  55mph if one is at the right place at the right time. 

The southern orange line marks the most south I'm thinking any possible thunder might occur. As of this hour, even that might be a stretch if the Meso Scale analysis page is correct , showing much drier air across Central Brevard and south. However, it appears the moist air supporting the showers and thunder is moving along with the front it'self, so that it could be that further south it will be a matter of the setting sun and slightly weaker wind fields that will no longer support that aspect of the front beyond showers. In any case, would expect that no one location will see rain in the area any more than one hour if even that, some locations will see none.  

Otherwise, the best timing for 'instability meets wind fields aloft could be getting ready to occur in the next hour or so, which means a stronger storm or two could pop up along the line from Southern Volusia toward Central Brevard before the sun gets lower and the stronger and more favorable wind fields in the lower levels pull offshore to the east.  That would be from 1pm -3:30pm.

TONIGHT: Expecting a steady temperature drop across the Central and South immediately following frontal passage, with the most notable nose-dive across most of Central from 7pm -11pm, falling into the mid-upper 40Fs.  Lower 40Fs are possible away from the coast but all in all this cold spell will be less notable than the previous since 1) we've already had the experience of the first cold spell; 2) it does not look like it will be as windy with this one   as it was during the previous cold front 3) It will be cool Thursday but a warm up will commence toward late Friday afternoon in to the evening especially along and east of A1A up and down the coast as winds ease on shore, so it will not as prolonged.

WEEKEND: Cool in the morning on Friday but the immediate coast east of US1 will hardly be fazed as winds will lightly keep overnight lows up several notches from that of inland locations. Next front slated for Saturday afternoon,  appears so far that it will be more wet that today's. Much of Saturday we'll be dealing with  either from cloud cover and or rain with possible thunder as it stands today. Update on that aspect likely will be necessary, and suspect the rain chance might go down with time. Instability might be lacking too much to result in strong storms this coming Saturday time frame as well.

BEYOND; Yet a similar cool down and nearly as much as a gradual warming before yet another boundary proceeds through. We are approaching the 'core of Florida usual worst' as far as Central and South go for winter, which not always but most often is in the January 9th to February 21st time frames for consecutive cold day potentials.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Similar Conditions To Today on Christmas, Possible Storms Day After

Possible Strong Storms/Severe Weather on Wednesday Mainly Along/North of I-4
TODAY/CHRISTMAS: As anticipated, Southern Branch Jet Stream Cirrus began to stream in on Sunday, and such will likely be the cast into Christmas Day...with some holes here and there. We could see a small drying slot for a portion of the day tomorrow with some clearer breaks in cloud cover, but otherwise winds to remain from a southerly component as the atmosphere in the low levels continues to recover (warms/more moist) from the last dry/cold spell. Winds tomorrow might be a little less breezy, but otherwise the day will be meteorologically non-event-filled. 

Out side of the local area, the potential for very severe weather encompassing strongly rotating thunderstorm updrafts with  accompanying  tornadoes (some strong) appears to be in the lime-light for a very similar swath of which mimics the big Tuscaloosa Tornado/Birmingham Event of a while back now that made infamous that city amongst many others. Although the set up so far does not appear to be as violent as a history book maker, it only takes one long tracking violent storm to pack a punch. That would be on Christmas day of all times. Mainly from Southern Louisiana  Southern Mississippi/Central and Southern Alabama as well...and into the West Florida Panhandle to a much lesser degree.

DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS: The same storm system and accompanying frontal boundary will jettison toward the Mid-Atlantic states to just offshore drawing, curling back moist Atlantic air into a cold air mass toward the "Storm Sandy Swath Zone" including other parts of New England. Could see some big and heavy snowfall totals in some areas between late the 26th through December 27th.

Meanwhile closer to home, the same front will pass through the panhandle toward Central Florida by late afternoon. Wind fields will become more aligned with the front as it gets toward I-4, but there will be some respectable instability and accumulated bulk shear as the boundary approaches portions of Central Florida. At this time, the Storm Prediction Center is watching for potential Severe running along a line from Tampa Bay toward Southern Volusia County, with possible stronger activity as far south as South Florida. Thus, the image above might be on the conservative side. It is based primarily on the GFS model which has been consistent in regard to at least where rain will fall, and South Florida has not been a part of it, at least not yet according to that model.

27th and 28th: Quick cool down into morning lows in the 40Fs wide spread, but it will not be as breezy nor prolonged, another low pressure system and front appears will be quickly in the making toward the coast of Louisiana once again.  By the 29th warm air once again ushers north prior to that morning. This is the day that Central Florida might be on the look out for a better chance of severe weather. Like waves come in sets in the ocean, so too are the 'air-waves'..this particular set appears will be on the wane after the end of the year boundary, with another yet too to follow, but details remain sketchy on what kind of rain impact another boundary will have going into 2013. So far, it looks like the atmosphere will not have much time to recover back from the system which is so far expected around or on the 29th, with a prolonged cool to cold spell in store, but again, nothing as cold as what we've just experienced; only it will be very persistent in nature with re-enforcing shots of high pressure moving across the state .  

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Winter Like Conditions' To Arrive Nearly to the Minute Florida



Old man winter came in with a blast.
Oh, how I wish, he...
Were a thing of the past!

Every time I open the door -
Snow, sleet, wind, rush in
Will there be more ?!

We crawl under covers
And hide in our heads.
Like Rip Van Winkle, some stay in bed.
See link for the details, no need to dread.
The earliest winter since 1896 arrives with the solstice 
at 6:12 A.M. on December 21 (EST)


TODAY: Warm right along the A1A before sunrise with the porch now near 70F, yet inland and even at the Space Center we see temperatures in the 50Fs. Regardless, winds becoming SSW by late morning toward noon time; warm, with highs in the low and mid-80Fs with potentially near record high temperatures in a few locations for the date. Previous record highs for this date indicated. All but Orlando seem to hold the chance to break it, but could come close to tying it. Per the National Weather Service out of Melbourne, FL:
  
DAYTONA BEACH  83F  1990  
ORLANDO        86F  1924  
MELBOURNE      83F  1974, 1971, 1946  
VERO BEACH     83F  1965

Otherwise, a frontal boundary will be crossing the panhandle and into North and North Central Florida into the mid evening and after midnight. Showers and maybe some rumbles mainly north of I-4, although a quick spurt could occur as far south as into South Central . Either way, this will be occurring after dark in regard to Central Florida proper and end by sunrise with quickly clearing skies on Friday.

Guidance indicates the front will be cross the the Canaveral to South Tampa Central Dividing Line during the official astronomical onset of Winter with a
vengeance. Having moved into South Brevard at least by sunrise.

 
WSW winds quickly shifting to WNW-NW prior to sunrise along that line of demarcation and shifting southward quickly into mid morning. Much drier air follows the boundary. Temperatures in Central, in general, will be warmer at 3-4AM than we will experience for over the next 48 hours.

Accompanying the drier and much cooler air (relatively speaking, it's going to feel down right cold after sunset by a few hours since it has been quite some time we've experience the over-taking of such an 'air mass') will be breezy conditions. 

Highs from Central toward North Brevard and north might luckily crack 60F with winds in the 18-28mph much of the day, especially early to mid-afternoon as heating aloft mixes stronger winds aloft to the ground all the while cold air advection (continued influx of cold air from the north) will be in full throttle mode from the NW. Continued breezy overnight as temperatures fall in the mid-upper 30Fs interior North Central zones and parts of South Central while east coast 'immediates' will be closer toward 43-46F. 46F has been a bit of a 'magic number' for initial cold spell outbreaks along the barrier island A1A strip of the Cocoa Beach area in the past noted historically over years of experience.  I suspect wind chill advisories will be hoisted for Friday night into Saturday late morning.

SATURDAY: The all out coldest day of the season thus far, with the afternoon potentially not reaching 60F north of Melbourne to Tampa and lows quickly falling as sunset approaches .  It will not be quite as breezy though with lows in the 30Fs range possibly as far south as the North Shore of Lake Okeechobee. Again, the outer barriers will escape the worst with the wind still up blowing across warmer river waters.  Could see lows along A1A near 39-44F north of Satellite Beach or Canaveral but colder in land. Highs in the mid-50Fs, although near the North Brevard to North Tampa line and norht of there low 50Fs are possible. Any warmth (the high for the day), will be for only an hour or two, even if we do crack 60F.

SUNDAY: Another cold morning with drainage flow beginning to become a larger influence as winds decrease. A1A from Canaveral South might not feel the sting quite as much this morning with the afternoon warming a few degrees.

MONDAY: Winds lightly coming from off the ocean, so that by afternoon conditions will be easily tolerable and approaching comfortable. This is Christmas Eve, with highs in the upper 60Fs - lower 70Fs.

CHRISTMAS DAY: Quite pleasant with light winds and highs in the 70Fs.

The next big storm system I suspect will be making big time headlines from the 26th, especially on December 27th..and the 28th. Impacted areas of big snows could be from the Mountains of North Carolina toward the coast of the Mid Atlantic near Eastern Virginia, Maryland, Eastern PA and SE New York right into the "Sandy Storm Zone".  Whether this system will be a rain or strong storm maker for Florida is up in the air still, but so far guidance has been consistent in showing the air mass over Florida will not be as cold following that frontal boundary as it will be for the upcoming one early this Friday morning. There is yet another front to approach though toward new Years. Guidance was showing this to be a severe weather potential  but has slacked back on that one a bit. Out put waivers from run to run at this early stage of the game. Too early to say for sure.

Noting/wondering off the cuff  if the trend will be similar to two years ago when the coldest days occurred in December, followed by 2-3 months of squall line like frontal passages with severe weather into March, but not that much cold air. Only time will tell.     

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Doomsday Forecast

Look at the bright side.
It can't rain on your parade anymore after Thursday
.  

TODAY: Transition day in store as winds become more southerly albeit quite light. Off and on clouds especially over the east half of the state with a chance of a quick sprinkle or perhaps a shower however
very isolated they will be, if any. Highs  inland near 80F - 82F and closer to the upper 70Fs near the coast except in areas where cloud cover persists where it will be a bit cooler.

MONDAY: So far, looks like we might not have the inversion in place by morning, so fog chances or low cloud ceilings, per the NAM guidance, look less likely. Warm, with a high in the lower 80Fs and maybe some mid 80Fs most everywhere with SW winds ahead of an approaching front. It looks like this front could go through dry, with only some increased cloud coverage by late day toward dark especially. Otherwise, another warmer evening in store.

TUESDAY: In appears the front will glide through Central positions between 11Am through 3PM, with Dead Central targeted for around the 1PM time frame. Winds becoming more west before frontal passage and then WNW-NW and eventually Northerly into Tuesday night. Cooler, especially west of US1. Those least effected by the front on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning early will be those along A1A south of the Cape and then toward all of South Florida and the Keys.

WEDNESDAY: Wednesday looks to be the coolest day around the clock, with a light east wind and partly cloudy skies. Highest in the upper 60Fs to low 70Fs.  

Another front is approaching perfectly timed for the End of the World as we know it.   

DOOMSDAY FORECASTS: SOS!   - At time, scheduled for the 21st at High Noon. Intense tornadoes, flooding rains, basketball sized hail, and constant cloud to ground lightning will be occurring as Seismic Richter Scale 10+ Magnitude Earthquakes devastate the landscape preluding the 100 foot tidalic surges of heaving ocean waves. 

The worst part about it? The cold front will be passing through at the same time, so those who survive will have to potentially experience the coolest weather we've had all season.  The plus side though,all things considered, is that the GFS might be overdoing the temperatures a bit too low as is often the case this far out in time. So far, the day after this front we could see highs barely cracking 60F with lows in the 40Fs to close to 50F at the beaches. Therefore, it is suggested to pack the parka with your survival gear along with the Life Time supply you saved of Twinkies (which went out of style according to the Mayan Prophecy calendars right as scheduled. Apparently they never foresaw Pop Tarts).

BEYOND: ?


Good luck with this one

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Conditional Chance of Isolated Storm (s) Today, Mainly South Central

Satellite Imagery shows some clearing as of this 1pm hour, but more high clouds could threaten the formation of storms today. Any activity will be fairly isolated, with the best chances from Osceola toward Central Brevard South to the north side of Lake Okeechobee
TODAY: Without going into in-depth description per a wide variety of variables and descriptors which for the the most part will be meaningless to most, latest hourly Mesoscale Analysis (per the RAP model), indicates that under no uncertain terms that severe or strong storms are possible today given the degree of shear and more helicity today than yesterday. The issue is not that conditions are not favorable for strong or severe storms, the issue is getting them initiated. With high clouds cutting off the high temperature today, can we reach convective temperatures? The KSC sounding early today showed   the break point temperature to be 84F degrees, but high clouds and some middle clouds could prevent that from being reached long enough for initiation to commence. Granted, that was deemed to be such around 7AM this morning and conditions do change. The frontal boundary seems to reside now across Central to Southern Volusia county on the east coast and stretches off to the SW with little motion during daytime heating. The best wind vectors are in the red zone (mainly the north 1/2 of it), but they quickly fade away to negligible near the Big Lake, not to say that those depictions are entirely accurate though, afterall , it's a model and not necessarily absolutely true. We take what we can get and make the best of it.  Thus, there is a chance of storms today conditionally .

TONIGHT: The front will cross Central toward the Big Lake after dark, presumably with little fanfare once the sun is set and gone for an hour or so, with N-NE winds all areas by this time tomorrow. Chances of low topped stratocumulus clouds accompanied by sprinkles moving ashore mainly south of I-4, especially on Friday. Winds becoming very light as well.

WEEKEND: Very light winds with seasonable air temperatures. There is a suggestion by the GFS that we will begin to see plentiful cirro-stratus and cirrus clouds, especially north of Lake Okeechobee into Georgia and Alabama, so day time temperatures might be held down into the lower 70Fs.

THE NEXT FRONT has been popping up to pass through on Tuesday. So far, as of this morning, surface winds have been tempered back, as opposed to what was written yesterday. This will be a wait and see issue at this conjuncture though to see model consistency. Otherwise, a much cooler time frame could be in store beyond Tuesday of next week. With another front or two before Christmas mainly passing through with little fanfare, but keeping temperatures down, potentially into the 40Fs range for lows and upper 60Fs for highs.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strong/Severe Storms Possible Today Mainly Along/South of I-4

Chance of Isolated Strong To Severe Mainly In Red Zone. Best tornado threat, albeit minimal, appears to be in the purple zones of Central and Far East Central down the coast toward Ft. Pierce. Further South, Wet Downburst winds are possible, with a much smaller tornado threat.
TODAY: Potential for a round two of active weather today. The difference today number one is that it is no mystery, per official outlets that there is a chance of isolated severe storms, some of which may acquire rotation.  

The largest threat area as of early afternoon appears will set up in the coming hours between 2:30pm - 7pm along the Central Dividing Line zone from Tampa Bay toward Cape Canaveral. This is oft the favored zone when the most buoyant and unstable atmosphere resides over the South Half of the state, and the strongest wind shear resides over the North half of the state, with the intersect of both conditions favorable for strong storms residing where they overlap.  

Here is a depiction of the jet stream winds today.


Additionally, the Bulk Richardson Shear values (BRN) noted on the Storm Prediction Center's mesoscale analysis page indicates that conditions for rotating thunderstorms (supercells) could occur in the red area, but most likely in the purple zone. Thus, the higher tornado risk, especially in areas where larger cloud breaks and heating occur near the east coast where either a light sea breeze or 'river breeze' could occur from north to south underneath deep westerly shear aloft, most noted near Central Florida. It is that area under the jet where the BRN shear and Effective Shear is in place which abets in severe storms being realized. Only one thing will be needed. An actual storm to go up.  

The greatest instability is being noted in SE Florida however, an area infamous for throwing curve balls.  There is also a chance of hail in Central. The final clincher for Central is a sharp moisture gradient at 10,000 ft aloft, where 700mb moisture drops off significantly north of the Beach Line toward I-4. 

This mid level boundary (gradient) could act as an impetus for storm initiation in advance of the approaching upper level impulse later this afternoon. Any storm that either manifests along the boundary or rolls off to the right or left and crosses it could have unpredictable results. Point blank, if nothing else, today could be a day summed up with "expect the unexpected, especially after 4pm through 7pm time frame." That could mean nothing happens, or a few tricks could be up this pattern's sleeve, such as 'left movers' as opposed to the usual deviate right moving storms in severe weather situations in Florida. Time, as always, will tell.


There are, however, several 'flies in the ointment' at the current time if the Analysis Page which pulls off the RAP model is correct. That is to say, Lifted Parcel Levels as well as the level of free convection are quite high at this time  (which is unfavorable for tornadoes, per se). A factor playing  for isolated activity is the amount of Convective Inhibition working against the updraft instability in those same areas. Any storm that can manifest and punch through could see rapid growth into a strong storm with very little warning or notice.  For all purposes, that would hold off storm formation early on, but this 'could' quickly change later today. But if not, perhaps it will be a dud over South Florida altogether and much of Central.

Further south, there's bound to be some remnant boundaries laying around down there after early morning activity has now cleared the area setting up all sorts of gradient boundaries. 

In the long run though, any strong to severe storms that manifest will likely be a result of small (mesoscale) boundaries combining from early day to day activity that has since moved out.

Further north of I-4,the mid levels appear to dry for storms to manifest, above an environment of lower dewpoints, and thus less buoyant air near the ground,  ( lower convective available potential energy (CAPE)). Not to say conditions could not change later on today though.  It is noted that some discussions are referring to a boundary lying around far South Central, but that appears to possibly have lifted further north ahead of an approaching upper level 'impulse". The effect of that impulse can be seen in the above image with storms out over the SE Gulf of Mexico...moving toward the ENE.  Not unlike yesterday, high clouds could move in more abundantly in advance of approaching rain showers.

WEDNESDAY: The shows not over until it's over, and the frontal boundary will not be passing through Central into South Florida until after sunset Wednesday (the actual temperatures in the panhandle this hour are in the lows 50Fs  whereas the dew-points alone across the south half of the state are now near and above 70F!)

 As such, rain chances could manifest, with some heavier rainfall totals still remaining up through sunset Wednesday, particularly on a synoptic scale level across Central Florida just about anywhere, not so much it seems across South Florida (yet).

BEYOND: Temperate drops behind this front are not expected to be significant, with a quick shift of wind to the north and NE on Thursday afternoon. Low topped showers and flat topped alto-cumulus clouds, especially across the coast could work in especially later Thursday through Saturday.

OTHERWISE: There has been a trend for a potentially very windy day coming up this time next week behind the next system yet to form. There has been some consistency in the GFS for wind advisory conditions not associated with storms. The trend so far for much cooler to colder air keeps popping up as well after the 18th, but has shifted from one extreme to the other heading to the great beyond of Christmas Day. Hold fast, it could be a cool to cold week preceding Christmas yet still.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

A Strong to Severe Storm Potential Exists Today - Otherwise, Rain Seems Likely

Latest visible satellite Imagery shows storms over the Gulf progressing ENE-ward toward mainly Central Florida. Although that activity will not hold together per se as a unit, the 'energy' causing them should be crossing parts of North Central to South Central after 2-3 pm today with rapid changes forthcoming if that is indeed to be the case
TODAY: Changes already in place today with a southerly, long-awaited  wind directional component. It has been quite some time since there has been  southerly to southwest winds across the state, where easterlies to northerlies have been predominant since early November. As such and as noted yesterday, moisture is expected in increase rapidly by mid afternoon across Central across the boards around the outer periphery of the surface ridge axis which appears will remain across far South Florida one more day (which might off set storm potential in that area).

Otherwise, I've ignored the NAM model as it did not initialize well at all from this perspective of current activity on satellite imagery (above). The GFS and RAP (former RUC) are both showing several low to mid-level 'swirls' of vorticity (energy) to be in place across Central later today, with the GFS showing vertical velocities up through the 18,000 foot level over Dead Central from mid afternoon through early evening. As such, and if that holds true, then some rainfall totals of up to 2,00' could occur in and near the red zone. The biggest issue in that determination is whether or not high clouds streaming eastward from the initial activity to the west will offset (or 'seed')   downstream activity ahead of the west to east storm motions anticipated. Which means, clouds could stabilize the atmosphere and off set storm potential.

On the other hand, the KSC sounding shows respectable turning of height with winds, and the Energy helicity index which compounds helicity with unstable overall atmospheric conditions measured in CAPE *(convective available potential energy) coupled with continued influx of that parameter from the south under any cloud canopy could result in strong to severe storms regardless. So for all purposes in the blog post, will throw this in although no official outlet such as the Storm Prediction Center or The National Weather Service is stating such. Just never know. Otherwise, there is a potential for some unusual for this time of year rainfall to occur across mainly the red/ and / or but not all inclusive orange zone in the image above.

BEYOND: Tuesday and Wednesday get dicey. The SPC has already placed Central in a potential for severe weather on Tuesday as noted. There will likely be timing issues combined with reboot, destabilization requirements after today's activity regardless of which form it takes,  which might need to be resolved after today's anticipated activity. Chances are it will all be continent upon a vorticity max crossing over on Tuesday (upper level energy when stated generically), regardless of other situational atmospheric circumstances. 

This forecast pictured below was formulated around 1 AM last night, and will likely be updated by the time this post is completed, as it is scheduled to be by 12:30PM EST today. (* SPC just updated and maintains this zone shown for tomorrow).


Outside of any severe potential either today or Tuesday the bigger story is rainfall potential accompanied by rather strong wind gusts regardless of whether the heavier rain is being generated by a thunderstorm (or not). 

Any storms to arrive today, do note, will not necessarily be 'easily observable upon approach' except perhaps the first activity of the day, but could be buried in cloud cover, with only a darkening toward the westerly direction as the activity gets close to one's proximity. So, if you have a good radar source on line or on TV and plan to head out, now might be a good period of days to accommodate them.

The GFS and to some degree the latest RAP model run are showing rainfall exceeding 1" today particularly over the Barrier Islands for a reason unknown; that has been the trend now in successive model runs over the past 24 hours as well. In any case, here is an 'example' image of total rainfall between today and when the show is over sometime later Wednesday.

Note the purple which would indicate at least 3" of rain over
East Brevard and Indian River Counties. I cannot really see any sound
basis for selecting that area, but the GFS insists. Perhaps it is using  data points of MLB and KSC
being ingested into the model as a framework of determination.
 
THURSDAY: Up until Thursday, a frontal boundary appears will be 'somewhere' across parts of Central, possibly wavering south then back north  then back south..from Tuesday evening if not before . This means more disturbances riding along the boundary could result in more storms, rains, or merely cloud coverage; nothing is set in stone other-than rain chances are high with emphasis on 'chances'.

By Friday the frontal activity should have cleared as onshore flow quickly replaces said activity  and temperatures will return to much of what we experienced earlier this week, with stratocumulus clouds and possible quick spits of light rain near the coast for a day or two. Could be a bit breezy along the coast as well for a few days, but nothing unusual as lows return to the mid-upper 60Fs and highs in the low-mid 70Fs prevailing near the coast, cooler inland over night.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Warm, Increased Rain Chances Monday - Wednesday

Morning Low  - December 14, 2010. Cape Canaveral, 29F. Lots of ice that morning in the area.
TODAY: Mainly sunny today with a high in the upper 70Fs near the beach to lower 80Fs inland mainly south of I-4. There could be a few light showers mainly South Half of Florida today that would work toward east central after dark, but any shower will be brief and light. 

TONIGHT-EARLY MONDAY: Slight chance of patchy fog and/or low clouds, although winds might start to increase just a bit to off set that chance. In any case, any fog that does form will be quick to burn off.  Increasing moist air to progress from the SW Caribbean from the direction of the Yucatan will begin to funnel north and east across Florida, to approach Central by noon tomorrow. Therefore, increasing humidity as well with highs tomorrow a degree or so warmer than today if cloud cover does not develop too quickly and off set that potential; meanwhile, a cold front will be approach the state. The next image indicates by colored gradients the forecast temperature at 1PM tomorrow EST across the country, with the orange and reds the warmest temperatures.

As can be seen here, tomorrow afternoon will be warmest across the SE Atlantic States mainly into Alabama.
 
MONDAY AFTERNOON: Model consistency is indicating a chance of thunderstorms Central after 2pm through dark. Note the wind barbs (in the image above) are showing the circulation coming up off the western tip of Cuba and across Central Florida around high pressure pulling off to the east of the state, and already centered off of this map east of Bermuda.  

Instability will be ample for thunder tomorrow, and whether there could be some strong ones remains a bit iffy. So far, indications are that most of the South Central and South  Florida will not see much in storms either Monday or Tuesday. I believe that is because the atmosphere there, if the GFS is correct, will be capped by warm air in the mid levels, leaving mainly Central to parts of North Central in the mix for storm, rains, clouds.

TUESDAY: The front will only be about  1/2 way into the Panhandle on Tuesday leaving yet another day for rain and thunder chances. Again, south Florida is left out of the rains, at least from Lake Okeechobee and Southward. Indications are the front will be approaching Central though, and that a second impulse will form along the said boundary possibly originating from the eastern Gulf of Mexico and then riding eastward along the front, stalling the front, and generating a continuous stream of showers with 'elevated thunder' (that is to say, high based thundershowers with a few rumbles under mostly cloudy conditions) potentially late Tuesday afternoon and well in the evening, mainly across Dead Central where the unstable atmosphere feed from South Florida, not able to be utilized due to the cap in that location, can break free near the frontal boundary approaching Central; but, working south with time.

WEDNESDAY: Front to continue to sink toward to just south of I-4 by early afternoon, and rain-showers forming along it. Do not believe we will see thunder this day as any instability could be drained out from a departing low pressure system early in the day, possibly before sunrise. The boundary is expected to pass through Central somewhere between late afternoon Wednesday to before sunrise Thursday.

Wednesday afternoon shows still, warm air over Florida Peninsula (note the rest of the country outside of Florida's Afternoon high temperatures)

THURSDAY/BEYOND: The GFS is consistent with the front after its stall near Central Florida to progress quickly through the remainder of the state either overnight Wednesday or early Thursday  taking a line of showers and maybe some rumbles into South Florida before pulling off shore. But how cold will it get!?

Not bad. By Friday morning the wind may already be coming out of the NNE-NE (off the ocean), setting up for modifying conditions before the cold air even gets out of the starting blocks. Conditions then modulating toward similar to what we've seen lately by the end of next weekend and early into the next week as another front approaches.

BEYOND: The looks for severe weather are starting to disappear in the long range extended, but can never say never; the GFS has a tendency to latch on to an idea, then drop it for 48-72 hours, only to bring it right back again. As it stands now, that model has been oscillating between getting a good cool to cold air blast in toward the 14-19th of December time frame, with another to follow after that toward a day or so before Christmas. That is too far out in time to even consider model reliability in any case no matter which situation it is showing at this point.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Potential for Significant Weather Pattern Changes Approaches

There was some widespread fog early today, as can be seen mostly where the yellow line is, but which is now clearing in varying degrees early this afternoon. Some showers possibly today mainly in the green areas but not limited strictly to those areas  

TODAY: Much like yesterday, with very light winds and highs in the mid-upper 70Fs near the beaches and a few degrees warmer away from the coast. Outside of potential clouds and showers as shown above (some is now occurring near and north of West Palm)...quite pleasant.  Otherwise, would expect that tonight we may again see fog as surface winds will be bringing in continued more warm and moist air from the SSE direction.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: A frontal boundary will be gathering shape over the Central Plains and shifting toward the east coast over the weekend into Monday. Until then, really not much change in store with continued light winds, possible showers  mainly South Half until Monday just about any where at anytime but more likely near the coast over night and inland during the day. Weekend will be quite kind other than areas of cloud cover and some showers as noted, sparse.

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY: The Southern Branch and Northern Branch Jet Streams per the GFS appear will be phasing or coming together the next few days with a larger system pulling south from the Pacific Northwest next week. In turn, the GFS poises the 'by then phased jet streams' to take a hard right to the south into the Deep South toward Florida.

Early portion of Forecast Extended time frame of Jet Stream Winds
By Monday a cold front could be approaching, with some thunder possible along and north of I-4, but so far due to the forecast jet stream position it appears it would be mainly rain showers. Tuesday and into Wednesday shows a much greater chance of thunderstorms potentially as the left exit region of the jet stream pulls out toward the Northeast creating additional lift. Exactly how quickly the associated frontal boundary moves south from Central into South Florida is sketchy with guidance varying anywhere from Wednesday afternoon to as much as nearly 24 hours later. In any case, the period from Monday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon will only be phase 1 of what could be 2 more fronts (potentially more active) in the following 7-10 days as well.

TEMPERATURES: When  'said front' eventually  goes through (it could stall near Central Tuesday for a good 24 hours), the temperature shift is nothing beyond what we've already experienced. The GFS appears to suggest this first front might get well south of the peninsula but then get lifted back north 3 -4 days later as yet another storm system develops somewhere near the Northern Gulf or along the Gulf coast 'somewhere'. 

Another potential rainmaker moves through and then this same scenario repeats itself yet again 3 days later. Granted, this is well out in time, but there has been quite a bit of consistency in the overall occurrence of said events with  timing variations running vastly different from model run to model run as would be expected so far down the line from now.  

Overall, it looks like a big change in the pattern is in store which will become most noticeable Monday and Tuesday afternoons as winds during the day become SW rather than from off the ocean, and afternoon highs approach the low-mid 80Fs. 

STORMS: I would not be surprised if we will need to  be watching for one if not two severe weather potential days coming between the 11th and the 18th.

===================Random  Events of Note =============
This year, we also have lights of a celestial kind. The intense Geminid meteor shower begins at 8:00 P.M. on the night of the 13th and, thanks to a moonless night, will fill the sky undiminished by lunar light

The earliest winter since 1896 arrives with the Winter Solstice at 6:12 A.M. (EST) on the 21st. Chanukah begins  at sundown this Saturday.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chance or Measureable Rain on Wednesday, Warmer by Mid-Next Week

Changes ahead from a temperature and moisture perspective
 
TODAY: Although off and on clouds will be in the picture, the outlook for today looks predominantly dry with similar temperatures to recent days.
 
WEDNESDAY: Guidance up to this point indicates a pocket of moisture from the northern Bahamas will approach South Central and work up the east coast toward North Central interior during the day Wednesday along with minimal instability and very cold air aloft. This appears will or could result in increasing measurable rain chances, and who knows, maybe a distant rumble aloft. Otherwise, winds will be easterly and continue as such in days to follow with mild temperatures in the upper 60Fs to near 70F becoming more likely yet so by the weekend, and humid as well.
 
BEYOND: The next frontal boundary is well far off, but with it's approach, high pressure will be positioned to the east so as to bring a more Southeasterly component to the winds bring warm and moist air influx. By the weekend an inverted east coast trough is shown to be in place as another patch of moisture surges in. Convergence along this boundary will increase both cloud cover and shower chances. At this point, it appears they will be of the low topped variety, meaning mostly light sprinkles would be the rule not unlike recent days, only more of it, with chances of measureable rain also in the cards.  Although that moisture will eventually rotate out of the picture the overall outlook shows for more moisture in place than say, what we will have today and what has been in place in recent days. That means that rainfall or no rainfall, increasing humidity holding overnight low temperatures up with little variability during the day, 70Fs ruling the roost for the most part, especially along the coast from the Cape and south, with day time highs approaching the lower 80Fs into the interior and western portion of the state.
 
As the next true front finally makes its approach well into mid next week surface winds could become more SSW with temperatures increasing most everywhere before it skirts by and shifts us back to the pattern much like what we will see today.
 
Guidance has continuously been shifting the next frontal passage out further in time. What was first a true cold front to occur around the 12th, moved out to the 15th, and is now out to the 18th. I suspect that somewhere toward the third week of December after the 16th we might run into a stormy period for the Deep South, but whether Florida will fall into the scene on a severe weather outbreak so far is a bit uncertain. 

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cold front Overnight To Have Near Zero Influence Temperature/Rain Wise

Frontal Boundary as noted above will enter Central zones tonight. The boundary will grow increasingly diffuse and broaden during it's passage; perhaps a few rains could fall near the coast from the Cape and North, but all in all this of no nor should be a concern tonight south of I-4
TODAY: Off and on clouds today and mild temperatures with highs held a tad at bay due to cloud coverage with highs in the low to mid 70Fs and light to near calm winds. The front will grow broader with impacts weakening as it proceeds eastward tonight. So slow will be the passage that high pressure to the west will be quickly on its heels to the north with weak onshore flow ensuing right to or nearly so after passage keeping temperatures moderate as opposed to those stiff NW winds experienced during those visits from Jack Frost.

BEYOND: Hardly is there yet another front to be seen in regard to Florida for nearly a week beyond today, and even so, that front has been shown to have not much more than potentially a one day temperature impact if even.  Wind will be NE-ENE becoming easterly with time with 24 hour temperature variations east of I-95 and especially along A1A quite minimal hovering around the 67F - 73F zone. Inland temperatures will fall more over night, and warm more during the day away from the now cooling ocean waters. Off and on clouds appear will be in the cards as opposed to absolutely clear skies, but that too could change for the improvement. No rain foreseen otherwise...although some minor cooling could occur as a result of upper level height falls, minus an actual frontal boundary.

GREATER BEYOND: Yet still, projection has been for no 'big sig' cool downs to mid December. Granted, that is much too far off to hold fast on to in confidence; but nonetheless, has been shown 4 times out of 6 to be the trend in the long range GFS model runs for several days now. 

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Potential For Warmer Days Ahead Next Week, Beyond

A few consecutive model runs are showing the low level heating from Mexico to Extreme SW Texas will elevate to the 'mid levels' in the next 5 days and then translate ENE ward mid week next week
resulting in 'temperturally inverted' cold frontal passages. This image is for the 850mb height, or around 5000 feet AGL (above ground level)
MORNING TEMPS BEFORE SUNRISE AROUND 5 AM:
Note the effect of a light west to near calm wind east of the intracoastal waterways at Patrick AFB.

This is likely the case up and down the east coast from Cape Canaveral to the Keys. Note it is cooler in West Kendall than at PAFB. This is not unusual.


LAKELAND CLEAR 43
BARTOW FAIR 43
OKEECHOBEE CLEAR 43  
PATRICK AFB CLEAR 55  (note effect east of the rivers)
MELBOURNE CLEAR 46 
VERO BEACH CLEAR 45
FT PIERCE CLEAR 43  
WEST KENDALL   CLEAR     52  
HOMESTEAD      CLEAR     54    
PUNTA GORDA    CLEAR     49   
FT MYERS       CLEAR     51   SOUTHWEST INTL CLEAR     48   

TODAY-SUNDAY: Continued very pleasant with slightly below normal temperatures, light winds. A frontal passage will occur today during the mid-afternoon, possibly with some clouds, but all in all the effect will be to infiltrate cooler air into the Panhandle and eventually toward the West side of the state by Sunday morning, where it could be the coolest morning yet for those areas.  Again, the warmest zones should be along the immediate east coast from the Cape and southward, with little change from those of this morning's readings.
Car Wash Mural, Cocoa Beach, Florida

BEYOND: Meanwhile, per guidance trends, heights in the mid levels will, if all goes according to plan, will be rising in response to heating over Mexico and into extreme SW Texas (at the lower levels). As each consecutive frontal/trough progresses across the country's mid section this warm air will be pulled east ward.

The net effect is that although we could still see some rain or increased cloud coverage on Tuesday afternoon (rain so far most likely to occur over the South Half of the state from the Cape toward South Tampa Bay and South toward Lake 'Okeebee', the NW winds to follow will actually be warmer BEHIND the front than the will be with the west winds before the front passes Tuesday morning.  Another front is then expected to follow several days beyond Tuesday with the same effect. In that regard, 'temperaturally inverted' cold fronts, or rather, cold fronts acting almost as loosely phrased, 'warm fronts' by virtue that they will be harboring in warmer air from Mexico seems to be the trend.

In Summary, the coldest days after Sunday and Monday morning from a state wide perspective should be ending, with highs returning to normal to slightly above normal in a few locations being possible during the first week of December. No big frontal passages so far are foreseen will out to 12 days.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Giving Thanks Day, Pleasantly Cool Continues

Although not exactly correct as of this typing, we can see how by in large the cooler temperatures are filtering toward the west side of the state toward SW Florida this morning. This is a very typical cool to cold weather pattern in drainage flow like scenarios. This will again repeat going into early next week
HAPPY THANKSGIVING: Cool today through Saturday with highs potentially in the lower 70Fs, but even so, those readings will be for only a relatively brief period with the predominant range in the mid to upper 60Fs with northerly winds, most breezy during thermal mixing hours of 1 - 4pm along open areas, especially near water ways. Otherwise, skies clear to scattered stratocumulus crumbs.


FRIDAY- SATURDAY: Very little change with over night lows warmest along A1A from the Cape and South toward the Keys.  A front is in the making to pass through on Saturday afternoon, and rain chances look best in association with that boundary across Central and South Central Florida, mainly south of I-4 and north of Lake Okeechobee. Warmer on Tuesday prior to frontal passage, but that will be it for many days to come before another front again approaches repeating the same cycle we are currently endowed with.

Ocean temperatures are cooling more and more, thanks possibly due to repeated low pressure systems forming well to the east of the state and drawing NNE flow on their west sides with counterclockwise circulations around them along the U.S. East coast southward...evoking the cooler waters to work as far south as Volusia County especially. This could put a crimp in our style for folks in North Brevard northward near the coast especially later into the winter and early spring in regard to afternoon high temperatures when north to northeast winds are present as waters take longer to warm in responding to ambient outside air temperatures.

  COCOA BEACH ART FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND: Cool with a northerly type breeze, mostly sunny and highs in the upper 60Fs to near 72F.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On The Cool Side, Becoming a Bit Cooler By Sunday

What appears might be a 700mb trough swinging through Central Florida today will reinforce the conditions that are already in place. Namely, breezy N - NNW winds. Note it is mostly clear across much of the state
TODAY: Rather cool and breezy, especially near waterways with highs in the upper 60Fs to lower 70Fs, some mid 70Fs possible mainly South 1/2

THANKSGIVING: Very similar to today, with perhaps some clouds near the coast but otherwise quite pleasant.

BEYOND: Not many changes foreseen in quite sometime as another boundary presses down the state around Saturday into Sunday. Cool mornings in the upper 40Fs with that passage toward SW Florida with the warmest spots in the state from Canaveral south to the Keys right along A1A and then toward US1 from Broward County and South.

NEXT CHANCE OF RAIN?: Perhaps middle of NEXT Week, but even if so, only a small chance. Only the time frame around next Tuesday appears to show any true warming, to last only about a day before another front comes through. Otherwise, before that time coastal over night lows will remain warmest near the beaches as winds become more easterly to ESE come around Tuesday or so.


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Continued Cool Into Next Week, Thanksgiving Special

Low pressure to the east of Florida shown. Guidance shows it to be moving toward the ENE-NE today, yet that is not the motion it is taking as noted in the red arrows. Cool air coming off the warmer Gulf Stream water is likely contributing to the very shallow cloud deck of low cloud heights (and bases), keeping out sunshine today. 


TODAY -TUESDAY: Continued cloudy in most areas as indicated by the above image. THe clouds could work a bit further south, but I do not have much hopes in them breaking up before dark, IF even by tomorrow. There could be clearing later this evening, but whether or not they will remain tomorrow is bit up in the air. Best hope is cleared by morning, but indications are this might hold off until later to mid afternoon. Fingers crossed because other wise it will be cool with highs under the clouds in the low 60Fs and some upper 50Fs, much warmer in the sunshine.

WEDNESDAY: The low will be moving well away by this time so would anticipate that skies will improve; temperatures not so much so with continuing North to NNW flow developing with the shortest days of the year approaching from the 21st November through 21 January.

THANKSGIVING:  In that regard, Thanksgiving will have light winds unless there is full sunshine, at which point mixing will stir the pot up a bit. Open windows on This Day of Thanks Commemorating Arrival at the new "Promised Land" with the locals as recognized as the First Supper with the Lord should be nice. 


The First Thanksgiving

1. The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (June 20, 1676)
2. Understanding Thanksgiving
3. Congressional Record, September 25, 1789
4. A NATIONAL THANKSGIVING
5. Abraham Lincoln (October 3, 1863, passed by an Act of Congress.)



The Pilgrims were Separatists, America’s Calvinist Protestants, who rejected the institutional Church of England. They believed that the worship of God must originate in the inner man, and that corporate forms of worship prescribed by man i
nterfered with the establishment of a true relationship with God. The Separatists used the term “church” to refer to the people, the Body of Christ, not to a building or institution. As their Pastor John Robinson said, “[When two or three are] gathered in the name of Christ by a covenant made to walk in all the way of God known unto them as a church .”




THE FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION – JUNE 20, 1676: “The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present War with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgments he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions.”

_______________________________________________________

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (June 20, 1676)

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their community securely established. By unanimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving, our first.

__________________________________________

Understanding Thanksgiving

The celebration we now popularly regard as the “First Thanksgiving” was the Pilgrims’ three-day feast celebrated in early November of 1621 (although a day of thanks in America was observed in Virginia at Cape Henry in 1607). The first Thanksgiving to God in the Calvinist tradition in Plymouth Colony was actually celebrated during the summer of 1623, when the colonists declared a Thanksgiving holiday after their crops were saved by much-needed rainfall.



The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620, sailing for a new world that offered the promise of both civil and religious liberty. The Pilgrims had earlier left England in 1608, as the Church of England had curtailed their freedom to worship according to their individual consciences.

The Pilgrims had settled in Holland for twelve years, where they found spiritual liberty in the midst of a disjointed economy (which failed to provide adequate compensation for their labors) and a dissolute, degraded, corrupt culture (which tempted their children to stray from faith). For almost three months, 102 seafarers braved harsh elements to arrive off the coast of what is now Massachusetts, in late November of 1620. 

On December 11, prior to disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they signed the “Mayflower Compact,” America’s original document of civil government and the first to introduce self-government. While still anchored at Provincetown harbor, their Pastor John Robinson counseled, “You are become a body politic … and are to have only them for your… governors which yourselves shall make choice of.”



Upon landing in America, the Pilgrims conducted a prayer service, then quickly turned to building shelters. Starvation and sickness during the ensuing New England winter killed almost half their population, but through prayer and hard work, with the assistance of their Indian friends, the Pilgrims reaped a rich harvest in the summer of 1621. Most of what we know about the Pilgrim Thanksgiving of 1621 comes from original accounts of the young colony’s leaders, Governor William Bradford and Master Edward Winslow, in their own hand.
 “They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; for some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no wante. And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter aproached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degree). And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they took many, besids venison, &c. Besids they had aboute a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corne to yt proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained, but true reports.”    -   W.B. (William Bradford)

“Our Corne did proue well, & God be praysed, we had a good increase of Indian Corne, and our Barly indifferent good, but our Pease not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sowne, they came vp very well, and blossomed, but the Sunne parched them in the blossome; our harvest being gotten in, our Governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a more speciall manner reioyce together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst vs, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoyt, with some nintie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed fiue Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed upon our Governour, and upon the Captaine, and others. And although it be not alwayes so plentifull, as it was at this time with vs, yet by the goodneses of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
     -    E.W. (Edward Winslow) Plymouth, in New England, this 11th of December, 1621.

The feast included foods suitable for a head table of honored guests, such as the chief men of the colony and Native leaders Massasoit (“Great Leader” also known as Ousamequin “Yellow Feather”), the sachem (chief) of Pokanoket (Pokanoket is the area at the head of Narragansett Bay). Venison, wild fowl, turkeys and Indian corn were the staples of the meal, which likely also included other food items known to have been aboard the Mayflower or available in Plymouth, such as spices, Dutch cheese, wild grapes, lobster, cod, native melons, pumpkin (pompion) and rabbit.

By the mid-17th century, the custom of autumnal Thanksgivings was established throughout New England. Observance of Thanksgiving Festivals began to spread southward during the American Revolution, as the newly established Congress officially recognized the need to celebrate this holy day.

The first Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by the revolutionary
Continental Congress on November 1, 1777. Authored by Samuel Adams, it was one sentence of 360 words, which read in part:

 “Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received…together with penitent confession of their sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor; and their humble and earnest supplications that it may please God through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance…it is therefore recommended…to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feeling of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor…acknowledging with gratitude their obligations to Him for benefits received….To prosper the means of religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth ‘in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’.”

It was one-hundred and eighty years after the first day of thanksgiving in America, that our Founding Fathers officially recognized the day by proclamation of the Constitutional government

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Roosevelt’s inclination to subsume Thanksgiving for commercial interests foretold much of the secular inversion of “thanksgiving” to come. 

In autumns we now exist amid the oppression of crass materialism in advance of that December day when we give thanks for the birth of Christ, oppression vastly different but somehow remarkably similar to that experienced by our Pilgrim forefathers in England. ANd thus too is it so, Christmas has joined the ranks of the material world yet not insofar as the hearts of Rightmindedness. .

 And, at all times we move amid the seduction of cultural decadence in our everyday lives, again remarkably similar to that tempting our Pilgrim forebears and their families in Holland. Nevertheless, for all the decay and dissolution assailing us, we are still at our core, a nation deeply blessed by God.

"To prosper the means of religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth ‘in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’.”

In God We Trusted.

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