Summer Heat, Humidity

August 11th, 2014 at 2:14 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

The summer pattern keeps rolling along here in mid August in the Deep South. We are seeing another hot and humid day. Afternoon temperatures were in the low 90’s again on this Monday. We are tracking storms popping up over central Mississippi. All the activity will be moving from the northwest to the southeast this evening. Rain chances remain scattered up until around midnight.

Another round of strong/numerous afternoon storms are expected on Tuesday ahead of a weak cool front. This boundary should enter the forecast area on Wednesday and Thursday. We expect lower rain chances and slightly lower humidity by the middle of the week. This front is not expected to be a strong or as cool as the three record breaking fronts we saw in July.

Tropical weather is fairly quiet. We have one wave off the Cape Verdes that has a low chance of development over the next five days. It’s not currently a threat to the U.S.

Facebook: Meteorologist Jason Smith
Twitter: @JasonSmithFox10


Political Divide Widens

August 10th, 2014 at 3:27 pm by under FOX10 News, OnPolitix

UPDATE: I received word on Tuesday, August 12 that Congressman Byrne has agreed to co-sponsor this resolution.

The Pew Research Center recently published an essay about the American public’s political attitudes and values.

In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican. Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, which was later overturned, left Europe on Thursday, July 31, 2014, for the United States, where she will make her new home. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)

AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, File

Evidence of the increasingly polarized public could be seen graphically by looking at a scale of political values over a period of 20 years, 1994 to 2014.  As the report described it, “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades”.  As a result, more Democrats and Republicans see opposing parties as a threat to the nation’s well-being.  When it comes to political compromise, the study says liberals and conservatives define ideal political compromise as “one in which their side gets more of what it wants”.

This may be why there is such a political gulf between Democrats and Republicans over a seemingly innocuous resolution currently before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

House Resolution 440 would congratulate Pope Francis on his election and recognize his “inspirational statements and actions”.  Introduced on December 11, 2013, it reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Congratulating Pope Francis on his election and recognizing his

inspirational statements and actions.

 

Whereas on March 13, 2013, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires,

        Argentina was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church;

Whereas his election marked the first time a Pope from the Americas has been

        selected;

Whereas he is the first Jesuit to become Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church;

Whereas he took the papal name of Francis, becoming the first pope to take the

        name of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for his devotion to

        humility and the poor;

Whereas he has demonstrated his humility by choosing not to live in the lavish

        Apostolic Palace, living instead with the clergy and lay people in the

        Vatican guesthouse;

Whereas on March 28, 2013, he broke from tradition during the washing of feet,

        when he washed the feet of 12 criminals, including two women, becoming

        the first pope to include women in the rite;

Whereas on November 6, he displayed his charity by caressing a man with severe

        disfigurement, drawing comparisons to the actions of his namesake, St.

        Francis, whose kiss of a leper forever changed his life by solidifying

        his commitment to the poorest among us;

Whereas when asked to describe himself during an interview with a Jesuit

        magazine, he replied “I am a sinner”;

Whereas his emphasis on humanitarian efforts to alleviate suffering serves as an

        inspiration to Congress and all Americans;

Whereas his humility, his commitment to economic justice and improving the lives

        of the poor, and his outreach to individuals from all walks of life have

        been universally praised and are living examples of Jesus Christ’s

        message; and

Whereas his call to end inequality has echoed across the globe and brought millions together in solidarity:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives congratulates Pope Francis on his election and recognizes his inspirational statements and actions.

 It turns out Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on this.

203 Democrats, including Alabama’s Terri Sewell, have agreed to co-sponsor the resolution, but only 20 Republicans are willing to join them.

What could be so controversial?  For starters, it was sponsored by a Democrat from Connecticut, Rep. John Larson.

Bradley ByrneAlabama’s First District Congressman Bradley Byrne is not one of the 20 Republican co-sponsors.  “I don’t think this particular one has ever come on our radar,” said a member of his staff.  An offer to “check with the legislative team” about his position has produced silence, so far.

The Hill, which reports on Congress, opines that the Pope may be “too liberal” for Republicans.

Rep. Larson has asked House Speaker John Boehner to request a vote on the resolution.

Unless something changes though, it may not have a prayer.

 

 

 

 

 


Record Lows (Again)

July 30th, 2014 at 4:03 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

We set a new record low in Mobile this morning at 65 degrees. This front is our third significant boundary this July. We have seen 8 nights below 70 degrees this month. Some fantastic heat relief is here again, with much lower humidity. Our coolest night may actually be tonight with lows in the mid 60’s along I-10. The current record is 66 degrees, and will likely be broken. We may also be in record country Thursday night. Drier air hangs around until Friday. Scattered storms return for the weekend. Temps will still be fairly comfortable into early next week, as the front lingers along the coast.

In the tropics, a disturbance midway between the Cape Verde Islands and the Leeward Islands has a medium chance of developing. The system is moving west, and should turn more WNW as it approaches the northern Leeward islands. If this forms into Tropical Storm Bertha, the track will likely stay east of the U.S., based on the current forecast.


Lower Humidity Almost Here

July 28th, 2014 at 2:45 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

We have a slight risk of severe t-storms this evening along and ahead of a cold front. The front should be into the northern sections of the area by early evening, and then offshore by daybreak Tuesday. These stronger than average thunderstorms will contain frequent lightning and gusty winds.

This front will be our third significant boundary this July. Some fantastic heat relief is on the way. Dewpoints will drop 15 degrees between now and Tuesday, and our heat index will also be about 15 degrees lower ! Our coolest night should be Tuesday night with lows in the mid 60’s along I-10. The current record is 67 degrees, and will possibly be broken. Drier air hangs around until Friday. Scattered storms return for the weekend.

In the tropics, a disturbance s’west of the Cape Verde Islands has a medium chance of developing by Wednesday. The system is moving west, and has a high chance of developing in the next 5 days.

Facebook: Meteorologist Jason Smith
Twitter: @JasonSmithFox10


T.D. Two Forms in Atlantic

July 21st, 2014 at 3:45 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

The old stalled front continues to linger over the forecast area and the Gulf Coast Region. The upper low has shifted a little more to the east today. The atmosphere has dried out a little so the t-storm activity is much lower this evening. Scattered chances remain this week, with the driest day being Thursday in the extended range. Temperatures will remain near normal for July with highs near 92, and lows near 73. Heat and humidity will continue to be the main theme.

A small low pressure are located about 1200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles is getting better organized. This feature is now Tropical Depression #2 As of the 4pm advisory. The environment ahead of this feature is not conducive for rapid strengthening.


Record Lows Possible ?

July 15th, 2014 at 2:36 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

A substantial round of t-storms moved across the heart of the forecast area today. These storms were generated along a prefrontal trough ahead of a main cold front. Rain chances drop rapidly this evening. The surface front should make it to the coast by midnight tonight. Rain chances will be lower on Wednesday as the front gradually drifts through the area and offshore. We do expect a small window of drier air. Humidity will be noticeably lower during the day, with a high near 89. Lows on Wednesday night should be in the mid 60’s along I-10. The current record is 65 degrees set in 1886, and we could possibly tie or break it!

The front quickly shifts back across the area and the humidity returns on Friday. Long range models hint at the idea of a low pressure area developing in Arkansas. This should bring back good chances of scattered t-storms by the weekend. The tropics are quiet.


Fewer Storms

July 10th, 2014 at 6:49 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

We saw a significant increase in moisture in the atmosphere today. A break has developed in the upper ridge, and we saw a weak sagging front in central and northern Alabama. As a result a nice round of showers and storms swept through the area, dumping a half inch to an inch of rain in most spots.

Mid-level ridging rebuilds by Friday and the weekend. Drier air should move in, leaving us hot ! Rain chances will be lower by Saturday and Sunday, and this is good news for outdoor events like the Blue Angels. Daytime highs will be in the low to mid 90’s, and overnight lows will work their way back up into the low to mid 70’s. The tropics are quiet.

Long range models hint at the idea of another front arriving late next week. This should bring back scattered t-storms and perhaps slight lower temps by Thursday and Friday.


Heating Up !

June 30th, 2014 at 5:26 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

The heat is here in full force on this Monday. Most spots were reporting low-mid 90’s as of 3 pm. Heat Index values were in the 100-105 range in many areas. More heat is expected Tuesday with highs in the mid to upper 90’s. Heat Indices on Tuesday will be 104-108 ! We are seeing no activity on radar, and things should stay dry through Tuesday. The ridging breaks down slightly on Wednesday, and isolated showers return. There is a slightly higher scattered chance of rain on Thursday. We return to typical summer conditions for the 4th of July on Thursday, with highs bear 92 and isolated t-storms in the afternoon.

There is one area of disturbed weather in the tropical that we are currently tracking. It’s no threat to us. There is an area of low pressure 125 miles east of Melbourne, Florida in the Atlantic. Environmental conditions are more favorable for development. A slight increase in t-shower activity could result in the formation of a depression. If the system becomes a storm, the name would be Arthur. The system will head closer to the Florida Atlantic Coast, and then turn towards the Carolinas on the 3rd and the 4th.


Typical June

June 17th, 2014 at 3:11 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

It certainly is a hot week, with highs in the low 90’s each day and only a few very brief t-showers. One shower popped up over west Mobile around lunchtime today, and then dissipated about 20 minutes later. The upper atmosphere is not supporting long lasting t-showers. Storm motion is very slow from east to west.

An upper level ridge will remain in place over the forecast area, along with weak surface high pressure centered just to our east. A decent sea breeze sets up each afternoon this week yet, moisture values remain moderate to low. Daytime heating and sea breeze activity will be enough to overcome the ridging, resulting in pop up afternoon and evening t-storms.

The best chances of rain will be just north of I-10. Daytime highs stay at or above 90 through early next week. The upper ridge breaks down a little by the end of the week, resulting in slightly higher chances of afternoon t-storms.


Shark attacks along Gulf Coast uncommon, not unheard of

June 9th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by under FOX10 News, Newsgathered

As reports of sharks swimming in the Alabama Gulf Coast started flowing in to FOX10 News, we dug deeper to see the history of shark attacks in the area. In Alabama, in the past 12 years, five people have been attacked by sharks; none of the attacks have been fatal.

Alabama shark attacks

This graphic shows the number of shark attacks in Alabama since 2001, along with the fatalities resulting from those attacks.

Florida Shark Attacks

This graphic shows the number of shark attacks in Florida since 2001, along with the fatalities resulting from those attacks.

In Florida waters, the story is different, of nearly 300 shark attacks there since 2001, three have been fatal. As for the other Gulf States, Texas has seen 18 attacks with no deaths. Louisiana  and Mississippi don’t appear in data released by the International Shark Attack File, a project housed on the Florida Museum of Natural History website.

Shark attacks by coastal area of states

Shark attacks by coastal area of states

Since 2001, of 477 people attacked by sharks in the most active areas in the US, 12 have died.

Florida has 1,350 miles of coastline, the largest amount of the lower 48 states. Similarly, states with a greater amount of coastline are the source of the greatest number of shark attacks. Since 1837, records of unprovoked shark attacks show that Florida has seen the greatest number of attacks, at 687 followed by Hawaii (129) and California (110).

Shark attacks nationally

Shark attacks across the entire country between 2001-13.

The data show attacks are more common on Florida’s Atlantic coast than in Northwest Florida counties, i.e. those along the Gulf of Mexico. Of attacks there since 1882, Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Walton and Monroe counties account for 18 of them, and two fatalities.

MORE on Fox10tv.com:

Most recently, in 2010, a surfer was killed off the Atlantic Coast of Martin County, Fla.

The latest fatality in Florida’s Gulf waters occurred in Walton County in 2005 when a 14-year-old  girl was killed while using a boogie board around 200 yards offshore near the Sandestin resort, according to CNN.

Alabama’s most recent shark attack was on an Orange Beach man who was riding a wave runner.

In 2011, FOX10 News reported on that attack. Officials there initially blamed it on a barracuda, but later said that a shark attacked the rider who had fallen off into the water. Watch the videos below for more info.