(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)
PM UPDATE: As expected, Cristobal regained tropical storm status as it emerged into the Gulf of Mexico. It was still expected to make landfall as a 60 mph storm late Sunday or early Monday on the Louisiana cost. Storm Surge Watches were posted for Coastal Citrus, Coastal Hernando, and Coastal Levy counties. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Intracoastal City Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border.
INTERESTING TIDBIT: Dew point temperatures were soaring in South Florida today. It was a tropical 79 degrees in Miami, with a heat index of 100.
CRISTOBAL WATCH: The storm, reduced to a depression Thursday as it meandered over the Yucatan Peninsula, neared the border with Belize overnight with convection spreading into the Caribbean. But the difficult to find center had finally made its northerly turn by 5 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said.
The system was forecast to emerge into the Gulf of Mexico late tonight and quickly ramp back up into a tropical storm. The forecast is for Cristobal to make landfall during the wee hours of Monday morning in Louisiana.
From the NHC this morning: “There is a risk of tropical storm force winds this weekend from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle and a risk of dangerous storm surge from Louisiana to the Florida Big Bend. These hazards will arrive well in advance of and extend well east of Cristobal’s center. Storm surge and tropical storm watches will likely be issued for a portion of the U.S. Gulf Coast later today.”
THURSDAY RAINFALL TOTALS: From the National Weather Service — 1.77 inches in Miami; 2.07 inches in Orlando; 2.15 inches in Vero Beach; 0.84 of an inch in Tampa; and 0.65 in Jacksonville.
Key West only checked in with a tenth of an inch Thursday after getting hammered with 2.99 inches on Wednesday, a record for the date. That beat the previous rainfall record of 2.58 inches set in 1968.
Tallahassee reported only a trace of rain Thursday, and in fact the city has yet to receive any measurable rainfall this month. But that should change this weekend with the arrival of Cristobal.
Amounts of up to 2 inches or more were reported to CoCoRaHS in South and Central Florida.
BUMPED UP: Researchers at Colorado State University increased their Atlantic hurricane season forecast Thursday from 16 to 19 named storms and added one more hurricane for a total of nine. They continued to predict four majors. The new forecast, released Thursday, includes the three storms that have already formed: Arthur, Bertha and Cristobal.
The reasoning has been outlined by CSU and other forecasters: Abnormally warm water temperatures and a trend toward La Nina conditions in the tropical Pacific, which should keep a lid on wind shear in the Atlantic.
“We anticipate an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” said CSU’s Philip Klotzbach, Michael Bell, and Jhordanne Jones.
CSU has a generally good track record with their June forecasts, although last June’s forecast was low-balled at 14 named storms. The season ended with 18 storms, six hurricanes and three majors.