Northeast Florida slammed with 6 inches of rain, more on the way

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Tropical Depression 11 was struggling in the Central Atlantic on Wednesday, but forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted that the low would soon be under a very low wind shear environment that will cause it to strengthen into a 60 mph tropical storm by Friday, as it approaches the northeast corner of the Lesser Antilles.

The NHC forecast has it missing the islands, though, and turning more northwest after the weekend, well east of the Bahamas.

The system looks like it’s no threat to Florida, although a couple of forecast models, including the Canadian (CMC) suggest that the storm could make it all the way to the northwestern Bahamas.

Forecast models aren’t showing much of anything else spinning up over the next week to 10 days — up to two weeks for the GFS. But forecasters say environmental conditions will become more favorable for tropical development in the Atlantic after August 20.

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NEFL rainfall

More rain — and possible flooding — was in the forecast for Jacksonville and northeastern Florida. (Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)

Northeast Florida is where all of the precipitation action has been this week. On Tuesday, an observer just south of Jacksonville reported 2.72 inches — just a day after Jacksonville officially (via National Weather Service) busted a 126-year-old rainfall record with 3.50 inches.

Just south of the Georgia State Line in Jefferson County, a CoCoRaHS observer near Monticello reported 2.62 inches.

There were a few other locations that picked up heavy rain on Tuesday. But as is typical in Florida this time of the year, a location that reported 2-3 inches might be only a few miles from a spot that received no rain at all.

Elsewhere in Florida CoCoRaHS observers reported around 3 inches of rain in the Plant City area, Hillsborough County. In Orange County northeast of Orlando, an observer checked in with 2.30 inches. In the far western panhandle, an observer in Escambia County reported 2.28 inches.

Tropical Depression 11 forms in Atlantic; record rainfall swamps Jacksonville

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UPDATE: Tropical Depression 11 formed deep in the Atlantic on Tuesday. But forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said the system — forecast to become Tropical Storm Josephine by Thursday morning — would be battling wind shear as it slides west toward the Lesser Antilles. Early forecast models suggest TD 11 will turn north and out to sea before reaching the coastal U.S. (Image credit: NHC)

Jacksonville was socked with 3.50 inches of rain on Monday, which broke a 126-year-old rainfall record for the city. The previous wettest August 10 was in 1894, when 1.92 inches fell.

There was extensive flooding in Jacksonville and some roads were closed. See photos on Twitter.

Other parts of northeast Florida reported more than 2 inches. The other precipitation focal point was the southwestern peninsula, where more than an inch fell in coastal locations from Collier County up to Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas counties.

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ORIGINAL TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center was close to designating the next tropical depression. Advisories on Tropical Depression 11 — or possibly Tropical Storm Josephine if the winds are strong enough — could begin later today or tonight in the Central Atlantic. The disturbance, 95L, had a 90 percent chance of development.

Forecast models show this system reaching the northeast corner of the Lesser Antilles by the weekend. The long-range forecast by most of the GFS Ensemble members, and the European Ensembles as well, takes it out to sea without threatening the U.S. Southeast coast.

If it does become Josephine, it would be the earliest “J” storm on record, beating out Tropical Storm Jose, which formed on August 22, 2005.

Beyond Josephine, wherever that spins up, Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center said on Twitter Monday that wind shear in the tropical Atlantic is forecast to plummet during the second half of August and the first half of September.

Since that’s the statistical peak of the hurricane season, get ready for some rough sailing as we head toward autumn.

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DWINDLING DAYLIGHT: Today is the first day that sunset occurs before 8 p.m. since May 13. That’s sunset time in Palm Beach, which is the farthest east location on the Florida peninsula. Sunrise is at 6:50 a.m., a considerable jump from the 6:26 a.m. sunrise in early June.

On August 31, sunrise in Palm Beach will be at 6:59 a.m. with sunset at 7:40 p.m.

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RECORD WATCH: Key West busted a record warm low Monday with 86, beating the old mark for the date of 85 on August 10, 2007. That’s the year that Key West’s all-time record warm low of 87 degrees was set — on July 26, 2007 and on August 4, 2007.

Fort Lauderdale tied a record low with 83, matching the mark also set for the date in 2007.

West Palm Beach ties all-time August low temperature record; Hurricane Center eyes Central Atlantic

WCFL precip

(Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

RAINFALL REPORT: It was a wet weekend for West-Central Florida, where many locations picked up more than an inch of rain Sunday through early Monday morning. In addition to the totals listed above, a CoCoRaHS observer near Plant City found 2.69 inches in the backyard bucket.

Orange County also got a good soaking, with 3.10 inches falling just east of Apopka. In Volusia County, 2.13 inches fell near Deltona.

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RECORD WATCH: West Palm Beach tied a record for the warmest low ever recorded in August — 83 degrees — on Sunday. It was 2 degrees short of the all-time warmest low of 85 set on July 28-29 in 2011.

The low was also 83 in Miami, which tied a daily record set in 2017. Fort Lauderdale’s low of 84 tied a record set in 2017.

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SUNDAY MAX HEAT INDEX READINGS: Fort Lauderdale, 108; Immokalee, 107; Orlando, 107; Naples and Gainesville, 106; Melbourne, 104; Miami and West Palm Beach, 103; Tampa, 102; and Jacksonville, 101.

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Monday morning forecast tracks for Invest 95L. (Image credit: SFWMD)

TROPICS WATCH: Invest 95L was given a 60 percent chance of development over the next two to five days as it moves west-northwest across the Central Atlantic toward the Lesser Antilles. Monday morning forecast models suggested that the system — which would be called Josephine if it earns a name — may curve out to sea east of the Bahamas.

South Florida sizzles as heat index soars as high as 110

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UPDATE: Chances of development for the disturbance in the eastern Atlantic, now designated Invest 95L, jumped to 40-50 percent over the next two to five days in the Sunday afternoon Tropical Weather Outlook by the National Hurricane Center. Early forecast models show this low moving toward the northeastern Lesser Antilles. If this system gets a name it would be Josephine. The earliest “J” storm on record currently is Jose in 2005, which formed on August 22. (Image credit: NHC)

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Weather moods

Summer weather can be challenging for Florida residents, especially those who are new to the state and haven’t experienced it. But remember, we’ll be back enjoying cooler temperatures in just a few short … well, months. Late October maybe? Veterans Day? Surely by Thanksgiving! (Image credit: NOAA)

It’s hot out there, campers!

Heat index readings of up to 109 were expected across South Florida Sunday as high pressure builds over the state. It’s a rinse and repeat day after brutally high index values on Saturday and relatively dry conditions.

A Heat Advisory is generally issued if the heat index is over 108 degrees for two hours. It could be a close call today and Monday, the National Weather Service said. Air temperatures could near records as well, they said.

Max heat indices Saturday: Immokalee, 110; Kendall, 109; Marathon, 108; Fort Lauderdale and Key West, 106; Miami and Naples, 105.

Central: DeLand, 107; Ocala, 105; Venice, 104; Orlando and Sanford, 103; and Tampa, 100.

North Florida: Tallahassee, 105; Gainesville and Cross City, 101; and Jacksonville, 100.

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RAINFALL REPORT: An observer for the citizen network CoCoRaHS reported 1.84 inches northeast of Naples on Saturday. An observer in Hillsborough County near Sun City Center reported 1.16 inches. In northern Marion County, north of Fort McCoy, an observer reported 1.22 inches.

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TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center dropped a disturbance approaching the Lesser Antilles from its Tropical Weather Outlook map on Saturday, and replaced it with a larger system to the east. This new disturbance was given a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Josephine, over the next two to five days.

As we head toward mid-August, global forecast models aren’t suggesting much of anything in terms of development in the Atlantic. But that can change on a dime (and probably will). For now, the only hint of tropical activity is showing up in some GFS runs, where a storm spins up in the Caribbean and pushes into the Gulf of Mexico — but that’s two weeks out.

White knuckle time for Florida is usually the middle of August through the middle of October, an eight-week stretch that is almost upon us.

“Historically, ~85% of Atlantic major (Category 3+) #hurricane activity occurs after August 20,” Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach noted on Twitter.

Tropics watch: La Niña coming into focus

Developing La Nina

SATURDAY UPDATE: This is what the fuss is all about — the blue streak in the image coming off western South America is evidence of a developing La Niña, which is why NOAA is predicting a wild hurricane season. La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific, abnormally cool water, reduces wind shear in the Atlantic and allows more tropical storms and hurricanes to spin up. On top of that, Atlantic waters are unusually warm, which provides fuel for developing storms. Tropical systems are coming off Africa fast and furious this time of the year, but only one had the attention of the National Hurricane Center this weekend. That’s the tropical wave in the Central Atlantic, which still had a 10 percent chance (near zero as of 2 p.m.) of development over the next two to five days as it moves west toward the Lesser Antilles. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

RAINFALL REPORT: 2.88 inches fell near Sebring Friday through early Saturday morning, a CoCoRaHS observer reported. Amounts in excess of 2 inches were also reported in northern Collier County, Sarasota County, and in southeastern Levy County north of Dunnellon.

Hurricane Center tracking new system; a look back at Erin anniversary

Hurricane Erin

HURRICANE HISTORY: Sunday was the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Erin’s landfall near Vero Beach. As the recent Hurricane Isaias was being tracked in the Bahamas, several forecasters were comparing it to Hurricane Erin. But Erin actually made landfall in East-Central Florida with winds of 86 mph, while Isaias crawled up Florida’s East Coast. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne) 

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: After NOAA’s hurricane season forecast update on Thursday, calling for as many as 25 named storms — 16 additional storms — you wouldn’t expect the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Weather Outlook map to be clear for very long.

It wasn’t. A small but vigorous tropical wave moving southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands popped on to forecasters’s radar this morning.

They gave it a 10 percent chance of becoming the next tropical depression — or Tropical Storm Josephine — as it moves west over the next two to five days.

The University of Wisconsin’s wind shear map shows high shear in the Caribbean, but low shear in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the subtropical Atlantic around Florida and the Bahamas.

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Keys sunset

ON THE LIGHT SIDE: Another spectacular sunset snapped by a National Weather Service lead forecaster in Key West. This picture was taken Thursday evening from Bahia Honda State Park. (Image credit: NWS-Key West Meteorologist Andy Haner)

RECORD WATCH: Key West posted yet another record warm low on Thursday with 85. That beat the old August 6 record of 84 set just last year.

WEDNESDAY WET SPOTS: More than 3 inches of rain fell in western Brevard County Thursday, while only a few hundredths of an inch falling closer to the coast. In Hillsborough County, a CoCoRaHS observer near Plant City reported 2.11 inches.

 

Record rain over parts of peninsula; NOAA hikes hurricane forecast

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MORE STORMS … AND STRONGER: NOAA released its final 2020 hurricane season forecast today calling for up to 25 named storms — just three short of the record 2005 season — as many as 11 hurricanes and six major hurricanes. Colorado State University released its updated forecast Wednesday, calling for 24 named storms. Both totals include the nine named storms that have formed already. “This year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average, and our predicted ACE range extends well above NOAA’s threshold for an extremely active season,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The forecast for a wildly active season is based on warmer than normal ocean temperatures, lower wind shear in the Atlantic, lighter trade winds and an active monsoon season in Africa. (Image credit: NOAA)

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RAINFALL REPORT: Parts of South-Central Florida were slammed with more than 3 inches of rain on Wednesday. Two cities posted record rainfall totals.

Fort Myers reported 2.77 inches, beating the old record for August 5 of 2.19 inches set in 2000. On the other side of the peninsula, Fort Pierce checked in with 1.76 inches, beating the old mark of 1.62 inches set in 1953.

To the west of Port St. Lucie, an observer for the citizen network CoCoRaHS reported a 24-hour total through early Thursday morning of 3.42 inches.

An observer northeast of Naples reported 3.17 inches. To the north in Port Charlotte, an observer reported 2.81 inches and an observer near Bradenton reported 2.49 inches.

And in Clay County, an observer west of the St. Johns River checked in with 2.93 inches.

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UPDATE: The NHC issued an all-clear Tropical Weather Outlook map Thursday, dropping Invest 94L as a concern. No storms are expected for at least the next five days. (Image credit: NHC)

EARLIER TROPICS WATCH: Invest 94L was the only disturbance on the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Weather Outlook map on Thursday morning, but its chances of development had all-but run out, according to forecasters.

Other than that, forecast models suggest a quiet seven to 10 days. The GFS continues to show a storm in the western Gulf of Mexico toward the end of its run on August 22.

RECORD WATCH: Key West posted another record warm low on Wednesday with 85 degrees, which tied a mark set in 2017.

Forecasters up hurricane season outlook (again); Vero Beach hit with record rainfall

State of the tropics

UPHILL CLIMB: We are unfortunately entering that nail-biting period of time known in Florida as the peak of the hurricane season. While the season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, the most likely time for a hit from a strong hurricane is from around August 15 to October 15. Perhaps surprisingly, in South Florida, October hurricanes are slightly more common than September hurricanes. (Image credit: NOAA)

Strap on your seat belt for the second-busiest hurricane season on record — and close competition for the infamous and wildly busy 2005 season. Colorado State University released its final 2020 forecast today, calling for an incredible 24 named storms, just shy of the record 28 in 2005.

CSU is now calling for 12 hurricanes and five majors, which would mean we still have all of those five in front of us, storms of Category 3 or higher with winds of at least 111 mph.

The 24 named storms includes the nine we’ve had already. That leaves 15 more coming up. CSU forecasters are betting that 10 of them will be hurricanes, and five of them majors.

“The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 140 percent of the long-period full-season average. We expect Atlantic basin Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) to be approximately 190 percent of its long term post-4 August average,” hurricane researchers Philip Klotzbach, Michael Bell and Jhordanne Jones said in the latest analysis.

Isaias became post-tropical Wednesday in Canada, leaving no active storms in the Atlantic. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. As per climatology, the worst storms are yet to come late this month and into September.

But the 2020 season has already been one for the record books. While the average number of named storms to this point of the season is two, this year we’ve had nine, which is 429 percent of average. Accumulated Cyclone Energy — a measure of the strength and duration of all storms — stands at 23 compared to an average of eight to this point in an average season. That’s 288 percent of normal, Klotzbach said on Twitter today.

The CSU July 7 forecast called for 20 named storms, nine hurricanes and four majors. We’ve had two hurricanes so far but no majors, Category 3 or higher. But since then we’ve had four additional named storms and two hurricanes.

NOAA releases its final 2020 season forecast on Thursday. In its May 21 forecast, the agency called for 13-19 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to six majors.

AccuWeather released its final forecast last Thursday, also calling for up to 24 named storms. If that pans it would put 2020 in second place ahead of 1933 (20).

Forecasters have been jacking up their hurricane season outlooks all summer, due to unusually warm water in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic and low wind shear, the result of a developing La Niña in the tropical Pacific.

CSU will begin issuing two-week forecasts during the remainder of the peak of the hurricane season.

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RAINFALL REPORT: Vero Beach was socked with 1.53 inches of rain on Tuesday, a record for the date. The previous record for August 4 was 1.34 inches set in 1969.

A CoCoRaHS observer in Southwest Jacksonville reported 6.10 inches of rain, and another observer just to the east reported 3.79 inches. Officially, the National Weather Service in Jacksonville reported 1.32 inches.

RECORD WATCH: Apalachicola set a record high Tuesday with 97, beating the old record of 95 set in 1972. Naples set a record warm low with 81, beating the old record of 79 set back in 1957.

Florida West Coast dealing with new rainfall deficits

Drought conditions FL

LACK OF RAIN TAKING A TOLL: Abnormally Dry conditions have edged back into West-Central Florida, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The designation, a precursor to full-fledged drought, covers a five-county area in addition to northwestern Collier County. Particularly hard hit in July by dry weather was Fort Myers, which ended the month with a 6.63-inch rainfall deficit. Tampa was down 2.64 inches. Sarasota was down almost 2 inches; Lakeland, on the other hand, was up almost 2 inches over average in July. (Image credit: U.S. Drought Monitor)

TROPICS WATCH: Isaias, briefly back up to hurricane strength, made landfall Monday night near the North Carolina-South Carolina state line. It knocked out power to the area, including a line that feeds a nuclear power plant, according to WWAY3 TV.

Cities upstream were bracing for heavy rain and winds today, including New York City, where wind gusts of up to 60 mph were possible from the system, again downgraded to a tropical storm Tuesday morning with top winds of 70 mph. The forecast track takes Isaias or its remnants into Canada on Wednesday.

Invest 94L, the system moving toward Bermuda, was downgraded to a 30 percent chance (from 60 percent on Monday) of becoming the next Atlantic tropical cyclone. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted 94L would stall later this week begin drifting back toward the southwest.

The GFS forecast model shows something spinning up in the Bay of Campeche the week of August 17.

TROPICAL FACTOID: “The 2020 Atlantic #hurricane season is the 8th season on record (since 1851) with >=2 landfalling continental US hurricanes by August 3,” Colorado State University tropical weather researcher Philip Klotzbach said on Twitter today. “Amazingly enough, in 1886, the continental US had already been hit by 4 hurricanes by July 19. #Isaias”

RECORD WATCH: Orlando and Vero Beach both tied a record warm low Monday with 77. Sanford tied a record warm low with 78.

Hottest July on record in Miami, Sarasota; Isaias begins long track up U.S. Coast

August forecast

MORE OF THE SAME: The long-range outlook for August, released on Friday, calls for more wet weather in Florida, along with above normal temperatures. NOAA forecasters said the last full month of summer will be wetter than usual all the way up the East Coast into southern Maine. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

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TROPICS WATCH: Almost the entire U.S. East Coast was under watches or warnings Monday related to Tropical Storm Isaias, from just south of Jacksonville all the way up into Maine. The storm, off Florida’s northeast coast, was forecast to become a hurricane again today, briefly, before making landfall in North Carolina.

Isaias is forecast to batter the mid-Atlantic and Northeast with heavy rain and wind by mid-week.

Invest 94L near the Lesser Antilles still had a 60 percent chance of becoming the next tropical depression — or Tropical Storm Josephine — as it moves north in the open Atlantic. However, it was forecast to stall southwest of Bermuda, and some forecast models show it looping around and heading west again by the end of the week.

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July climate report

Temperatures in Tallahassee were hotter than usual for July, with close to normal rainfall. (Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

JULY WRAP: It was the hottest July on record in Miami, the National Weather Service said. The average monthly temperature of 85.9 degrees edged out the old record of 85.7 degrees set in 2017. Miami ended the month wet, with 10.26 inches during July, 3.76 inches above average.

It was also the warmest July on record in Sarasota — and the warmest month since record keeping began in 1911. Overall temps came in just below Miami and Key West at 85.8, beating the previous July and all-time record set in July 2016.

Key West also ended July with an average temperature of 85.9 and a precipitation total of 6.19 inches, 2.64 above average. Tampa was slightly cooler at 85.5 degrees, but that was still 2.5 degrees above average. Tampa posted a precipitation deficit of 2.64 inches.

In Central Florida, Orlando had an above normal July at 83.7 degrees, a degree above average; and a precipitation total of 7.19 inches, just under normal rainfall for the city,

Jacksonville had temps and rainfall very close to norms for July.

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RECORD WATCH: While Florida’s East Coast was keeping a nervous eye on Tropical Storm Isaias over the weekend, the West Coast was dealing with a heat wave. The thermometer reached 98 on Saturday, a record for August 1 that easily beat the old record of 95 set in 1993.

Key West tied a record warm low Sunday with 84, and Orlando broke a record warm low with 79, beating the old mark of 77 set in 2016.

Melbourne tied a record warm low Sunday with 78, and Vero Beach tied a record warm low with 76.