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With a  cool weekend ahead you may find it easier to get in the holiday spirit. But heed my words: You should enjoy your hot chocolate quickly. We are about to have the hottest Christmas Day ever in Orlando.

With Christmas a week away there is still some wiggle room –  a record-breaker is not a guarantee. But the models are leaning that way.

“Extended Long Ranger” numbers are calling for highs to climb steadily through next week.  Keep in mind a normal high this time of year is  72 degrees. A normal low for the week of Christmas is 51. Not this year.

The record for the hottest Christmas ever in Orlando is 85 degrees from 1924.  As of right now my prediction for Christmas Day this year is 86! It’s not a smashing of the record, but it will be a record just the same.

 

hot christmas

Some will blame El Nino. Everyone knows it’s been an El Nino season so far. But actually record heat is not a characteristic of El Nino. El Nino winters in Central Florida tend to be stormy – our tornado threat goes way up – but we generally have near normal temps early followed by below normal temps in February. So, what’s the deal?  Is it “Global Warming”? Well no, probably not. Last year we had a high of 65 on Christmas Day. I really believe it’s just a strange run of heat. The whole fall season has been dominated by a HUGE, persistent ridge of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean.  While we have just finished up the warmest fall season (Meteorological fall is September, October, and November. By astronomical definitions fall is not over until December 21st) on record, it’s not like we haven’t had December heat waves before.  The Christmas record, from 1924, was a really hot year. Two other December record hot days are from that same year. The hottest December day of all time was a 95 degree reading on December 1 from 1922.

We have also had some of our coldest weather during Decembers past. The coldest temperature ever in Orlando was 18 degrees on December 28, 1894.

The bottom line here is our weekend will be a taste of Florida winter. But enjoy it while you can. Drink the hot chocolate quickly, the hottest Christmas ever is on the way!

Back to Back record weather days. Yesterday it was the heat, today it’s the rain.

As of right now Daytona Beach and Orlando have both set record rainfall for the date.

recordstue

Other totals for the day are impressive. One viewer in Edgewater in Volusia county is reporting more than 7 inches of rain.recordrain

As we go through the night we will have the cold front moving over Central Florida. The front should clear Orlando around daybreak. Most of our showers will end as the front passes, but before it stops we should have 2 to 4 more inches.

That will mean an end to the rain and a beginning for the colder air. The low tonight drops to 57… the high tomorrow will crawl back to 64.

The Forecast for Thanksgiving Thursday will Fantastic if you like it cool. The high will be 67 under a sunny sky.

For Black Friday the weather looks great,..you could not PAY me to go shopping, but if you do hit the stores for deals, the weather will be GREAT. Look for more sunshine on Friday with a high of 66.

Saturday and Sunday both look nice with the highs making it back to the mid 70s and no chance of rain.

I watched the end of the Daytona 5oo yesterday. Hard to believe a boy who turned 20 on Saturday won the race on Sunday. My 11-year-old daughter looked at me and said, “You SO wish that was you!” I paused and said, “Ummmm, I’d like to win the 500, but I want nothing to do with being 20 years old.” Of course that’s because when I was 20 I couldn’t find Daytona.

Anyway, the weather for this year’s race was AWESOME. Today that trend continues. There will be a cold front late in the week. Check out this forecast from JustWeather.com

Next 8 Days

Do we live in paradise, or what?

The big forecast worry for the week will be the Shuttle Launch. It’s set for Thursday afternoon at 4:50. Looking at this graphic it’s looking pretty good to me for a GO!  The official forecast always comes from the 45th Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base.

You can read it here.

It’s an 80% chance of a Go… offically anyway.

High today hits 81 in Orlando. Time for sunglasses AND sunscreen.

See you on Local 6 at 6pm, 7pm and 11pm.

“Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again.”

That’s just one of about 100 of my favorite lines from the classic movie “Groundhog Day.” I think I would have loved it even if I was not a weather geek. Bill Murray almost always makes me smile. Except for “Lost in Translation.” Didn’t get that one. And I won’t ever see it again to give it a second chance. “Groundhog Day,” however, always brings me to a stop. No matter what I’m doing, if I run across it on cable, I stop and watch.

The whole Groundhog forecasting thing is a German tradition. You can read all about it on the website of the official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. I like Punxsutany Phil, but it is all kind of silly. Today I placed our giant stuffed groundhog on the front porch in Windermere.

 I called him Windermere Willie. Hallmark Cards sent Willie to me on Groundhog Day in 1996, while I was in Detroit.  But from here on out I’m calling him Windermere Willie. For the record, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning. That means six more weeks of winter. Windermere Willie did NOT see his shadow. It was already raining in Orlando. And for most of us, six more weeks of a typical Florida winter would be fine. Just as long as it doesn’t freeze anymore.

Rain this afternoon will slow down. We will be much drier tomorrow. You can track the radar at JustWeather.com

The next system that will bring rain to us is starting to come together in the western Gulf of Mexico.

National

The timing now looks like we’ll have a dry Thursday and a wet and stormy Friday afternoon and Friday night. Can’t say for sure yet if the Friday p.m. event will be severe. But it is for sure going to be windy. Make your plans accordingly. I wouldn’t be setting up any outdoor events for Friday after about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Clearing comes in Saturday.

For the Super Bowl? The forecast looks wet on Saturday with clearing in Miami by Sunday. Right now the game time temps (kickoff around 6:30 p.m. on WKMG Local 6) looks to be about 67 degrees with a North wind at about 5-15 mph.

As long as it doesn’t rain, I think it’s all good. I’ll keep watching this next system and have an update later.

Stay dry!

TS

Woke up at 6:26 this morning. Pool pump was in Freeze Prevention mode. Temp was 38. Now it’s 7:30 and the temp is up at my house to 40, it’s 38 at OIA. We made it through the night without too much trouble. For comparison Ocala is at 28,  Lady Lake sits at 32…and it’s 37 in Titusville.

Today the weather will be amazing. One of those sunny, spectacular, winter days when runners can run for miles. If you look out the window it looks great. When you step outside you feel the wind. The high today will be in the low 50s. But, with the wind, it doesn’ t feel like 50…It feels much cooler. Then tonight, temps crash again.  

Check out this hour by hour forecast for tomorrow:

Tomorrow

Just before sunrise it’s lookin’ VERY cold. With an overnight low 0f 31 or 32 in Orlando the areas to the North and West go back to the upper 20s. I’ll check back in later this afternoon with a break out of exact lows where you live.

In the meantime,  make plans for 3 more cold nights. The worst of it will be Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Cover all the tender and tropical plants. Here’s the extended outlook:

Next 8 Days

Stay warm!

2009 went out with warm days and cool nights. 2010 is starting off VERY cold. As I’m writing this the sun is setting low. I just walked my dog and noticed my banana tree is NOT looking the greatest. I think maybe the cold last night did some damage. Tonight will be even colder. The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for a large part of Central Florida. I think my banana tree will have some laundry on it tonight. I’ve grown attached to that silly tree. I want it to survive as much as it wants to live.

If you are interested in exact lows check out this map from JustWeather.com

Low Tonight

This means a HARD FREEZE for the areas to the North and West of Orlando.  Places like The Villages/Lady Lake, Ocala, all of Sumter County will all be below freezing for hours. In Western Orange County the temp will be down to 35 or 34 around 4 am. A thin layer of cirrus clouds just might save us from dropping too far…but I’m not going to count on it. I don’t think you should either. If you have tender plants that you want to have this time next week I’d say cover them now. Sooner the better. A couple of tips here:

1) Remember to use blankets, towels, sheets, etc. NEVER use plastic tarps. Tarps are great for stopping water from getting in from a hole in roof. They are worthless when it comes to holding in heat. Your plants will simply freeze to the plastic. Big mistake to use any thing like that. No tarps, no plastic trash bags, etc.

2) If tonight is your watering night for the lawn, and you live North of Orlando, TURN THE WATER SPRINKLERS OFF! If you leave them to run you will wake up to a winter wonderland that you dont want.

I’ll check in with an update a little later tonight.

Right now I’ve got to go cover my plants…I really do have a thing for that banana tree. Did I mention I also love my lime tree? Well I do. But the citrus trees in my yard don’t have any blossoms on them right now so they will be fine tonight.

Holy Cow, it’s really New Year’s Eve.  This year went by in a hurry. That tends to happen more as you get older. I don’t really like to think about it.

The weather has been a bit weird lately in Central Florida. The warm days in December made it tough to get in the “spirit” of the season. The cool in the last week has been a nice change for most. The chilly night at the Champs Sports Bowl was GREAT football weather. If you have never made it to the Citrus Bowl for that game, try to get there next year. It’s really a nice experience. It’s a night game,  the crowd is much smaller than for the New Year’s Day game, and the teams are glad to be there. I’ve been to 4 of them in the last 9 years and I’ve always had a blast.

 The forecast for Friday, for  the Capital One Bowl, looks like it might be a bit stormy. I’m betting that most of the rain action takes place before the 1 p.m. kickoff. That will make for a wet tailgate, but a drier game. Of course, the LSU crowd has been soaked lately in their home state… I don’t think the rain will bother them one bit. The Penn State folks will think the rain is a joke compared to the snow and frozen tundra back home in State College… I don’t think the rain will slow them down either. This game looks like a good one. I’ll be watching from my sofa.

Tomorrow

 Did I mention it’s going to be colder? Check out the extended forecast.

Next 8 Days

Those lows to start next week are a little on the chilly side.

Let’s talk Blue Moon.  When I was a child, my grandfather used to always use the phrase “Once in a Blue Moon.” I always took it to mean something that hardly ever happened. I think most people do. But in the world of science there is controversy over what it means. (Did you expect any different? If you can’t agree on what temperature scale to use, global warming, or where to hold next year’s meeting, how can you be expected to agree on what is, or is not,  a Blue Moon? But I digress…)

Here’s the deal: It’s become part of pop culture to refer to a second full moon in one calender month as a Blue Moon. I like the term and tend to use it. Tonight is the second full moon in the month of December. I’m going with a Blue Moon for New Year’s Eve. I like the term, I enjoy explaining it, and it gets people talking about the moon, the stars, weather, and all that jazz. I like anything that is interesting enough to take attention away from video games for a moment and get kids to look at the sky. So tonight, look up at the full moon. Take a moment to point it out and explain, “It’s a Blue Moon guys…look!”

Of course, not everyone likes my Blue Moon idea. The guys at Sky and Telescope are kind of a kill joy. They prefer to keep with the technical definition of the moon having a bluish color. That normally happens when particles in the atmosphere filter the moonlight and make it appear blue. That can happen when there is a huge volcanic eruption and the dust spreads around the globe. I have never seen that… I remember great sunsets back in ’92 after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. But I don’t recall a blue looking moon.

 I love Sky and Telescope magazine. But I’m keeping my Blue Moon. Gives me hope for 2010.

Happy New Year!

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