Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Ocean Effect" Snow In Florida Thursday

You can barely see it in the photo, but those are
snow falkes drifting down in Jacksonville, Fla
on Thursday. Photo from WJXT-TV.  
We've all heard constantly about "lake effect" snows that are burying areas downwind of the Great Lakes.

Some spots near Lake Ontario south of Watertown, N.Y. are ending up with a up to five feet of new snow this week due to lake effect.

You can get ocean effect snow, too. In a footnote to the cold wave that hit much of the nation over the past week, Jacksonville, Florida managed to get some ocean effect snow.

It was the first time it snowed in Jacksonville in five years, and only the 18th time since 1910 there's been snow in Jacksonville, says television station WJXT.

Don't worry, the palm trees in the parks around Jacksonville are not crumbled and buried under five feet of snow. It was just flurries that didn't stick.

The cold had gotten established in Florida a couple days earlier, plunging early morning temperatures into the 20s across wide areas of northern Florida.
Several feet of snow in Turkey
this week after ocean effect snows
from the Black Sea. Photo from
Severe Weather EU.  

As the high pressure system causing the cold moved well north of Jacksonville, it set up a cold northeast wind over the area.

Usually, if a northeast wind comes off the ocean, it warms up so much that Jacksonville gets a bit of rain, not snow.

This time, a northwest wind blew off the coast of South Carolina. Then it shifted south, then southwestward toward Jacksonville.

The air didn't have much time to warm up over the water, so it was still cold when the moisture moved inland over the northeastern corner of Florida.

That's how Jacksonville got its snow flurries this week.

In some parts of the world, ocean effect snows can be every bit as deep and dramatic as the lake effect stuff that regularly pummels Buffalo, N.Y and other cities near the Great Lakes.

Just this week, ocean effect snow dumped on parts of Turkey as cold north winds persistently blew across the Black Sea.

Northern Japan is famous for its huge snows when cold northwest winds blow off the Sea of Japan and hit mountainous areas on the northern island of Hokkaido

One such storm dumped four feet of snow on parts of Japan back in December.

So yes, it's possible a nice day at the beach can turn into an ocean effect blizzard, given the right conditions.

By the way, the weather has improved in Jacksonville. Though not exactly balmy, daytime temperatures are expected to be in the upper 50s and 60s around Jacksonville for the next week. Too warm for more snow.

1 comment:

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