Florida temps flirt with triple digits; Atlantic warming rapidly

June 4 SSTs

TROPICS WATCH: One of the reasons preseason hurricane forecasts have been ratcheted down recently is persistently cooler-than-normal water in the Atlantic, from the coast of Africa all the way west to the Caribbean. But an interesting point was made by hurricane tracker Mark Sudduth in his Thursday Hurricane Outlook and Discussion on YouTube — the Main Development Region of the Atlantic is warming quite rapidly. The above graphic shows temperature anomalies on June 4 and the second graphic, below, shows anomalies on June 21. “That is a pretty stark difference,” he said. Also, as he notes, there’s very warm water off the southeastern U.S. Water temperatures aren’t the only factor in tropical storm generation, though. Wind shear is a major factor as are pressure trends over the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center predicts clear sailing over the Atlantic Basin for at least the next five days. (Image credits: NOAA/ NESDIS)

June 21 SSts

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Summer slammed into the Florida peninsula Thursday on a wave of brutal heat, with temperatures nearing the century mark from top to bottom.

Jacksonville hit 98 — and no, that wasn’t the heat index, that was the actual high. It was 97 in Vero Beach (1 degree off the record high), Fort Lauderdale (Executive Airport), Pembroke Pines, and Tallahassee.

Unofficially, it hit 100 degrees in West Palm Beach at the Banyan Cay Resort and Golf Club northwest of downtown. An observer in Boynton Beach, also in Palm Beach County, reported a high of 99 to the National Weather Service.

One of the coolest locations in the state was Key West, where it was 87. Even Marathon hit 93.

Friday was expected to be a rinse-and-repeat day, but afternoon storms may once again take the edge off the heat on the East Coast.

With a westerly wind flow, storms that fired up over the interior made it to the East Coast, mercifully cooling things down. For example, the heat index in West Palm Beach at 3 p.m. was 105. Thunderstorms moved in to the area between 4-5 p.m., dropping the actual temperature to 85 and the heat index to 92.

Daytona Beach was soaked with record rainfall Thursday — 2.03 inches, breaking the previous record for the date of 1.26 inches set in 1983.

Miraculously, there were no record highs set around the state, but Naples tied a record warm minimum with 81, matching the mark set previously in 2002. Tallahassee also tied a record warm low with 78 degrees.

 

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New July forecast calls for above-normal temps over most of Florida

PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES: The partly cloudy refers to the clarity of NOAA’s crystal ball used for determining July rainfall in Florida. Forecasters are calling for equal chances of above-normal, normal, or below-normal rainfall for the state and in fact for much of the U.S. Texas and Louisiana, the northwest, and New England are in for a drier month, forecasters said. Only the Desert Southwest is likely to have a wetter-than-average July, they said. Temperature-wise, much of the eastern and western U.S. should have a warmer-than-average July, with the exception of the Rocky Mountain States and the coastal southeast. Still, South Florida and the Keys are headed for an unusually warm month, according to the Climate Prediction Center’s new forecast issued Thursday. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

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Asteroid planPLAN B FROM OUTERSPACE: NASA has issued with a new plan on how Earth can avoid — or deal with — a catastrophic asteroid impact. The strategies were discussed in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

In a remarkable understatement, Levitcus Lewis, chief of the FEMA National Response Coordination Branch, characterized a major asteroid strike as “a low probability but high consequence event” for which “some degree of preparedness is necessary.”

The NASA and FEMA approach was detailed on Space.com, and at the same time the full plan — National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan was published by the White House.

An asteroid strike is not far-fetched. Small asteroids hit the Earth’s atmosphere regularly, where they put on a spectacular sky show as they disintegrate and burn out. But large asteroids can have a catastrophic impact, not only on the area that it hits, but on the planet’s climate years down the road.

An asteroid that hit Siberia in 1908 was the largest ever recorded, measuring about 100 feet. If an object of that size hit New York City it would impact a three-state area.

The asteroid that hit Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 was 62 feet wide. It injured more than 1,200 people and damaged thousands of buildings as far as 58 miles away.

The government’s new plan is to increase detection methods of both smaller and larger objects. It also calls for new methods of deflection if an asteroid is headed toward impact.

There are more than 8,000 near-Earth objects of at least 460 feet, and 95 percent of them have been catalogued by astronomers. After analyzing their tracks, scientists have concluded that none of them pose a threat to the planet in this century.

Of course, it’s that other 5 percent that keeps the experts awake at night.

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Summer solstice

It’s official — summer began at 6:07 a.m., when the sun reached its northern-most point over the Tropic of Cancer. That’s about 70 miles south of Key West. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

‘Oppressive’ heat may give way to wet weekend

CFL dew points

OFFICIALLY, IT’S ‘OPPRESSIVE’: The old saying is: “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” The National Weather Service in Melbourne adds: “Think it feels miserable outside? Blame it on the dew point. The higher the dew point, the more muggy the air will feel.” The office published these dew points from Monday to illustrate the point. Outside of Central Florida, dew points this week topped out at 77 in Miami; 81 in Naples; 76 in West Palm Beach; 77 in Tampa; 75 in Gainesville and Jacksonville; and 79 in Apalachicola. Click on image for link to larger original. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

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The Farmers’ Almanac summer forecast can be summed up in just three words: “Hot, Hot, Hot!”

“The Southeast will experience the triple Hs: hazy, hot, and humid conditions, which may put a crimp in those traditional outdoor summer activities,” the Almanac says. “Not until autumn will it be comfortable to truly enjoy activities outdoors in that area of the country. Only those in the Northwest will see cooler-than-average summer temperatures.”

Well… isn’t it always hot in Florida during the summer? When’s the last time you heard someone complain about a cold summer on the Florida peninsula?

The only question for most Florida residents is, what’s the hurricane season going to look like? Here, the Almanac is forecasting an active season, but just one landfalling storm — along the Texas Gulf Coast during the third week of August.

Mark your calendars accordingly.

The Almanac actually released their summer forecast in April, but re-issued it Wednesday because Thursday marks the first day of astronomical summer. It starts at 6:07 a.m. EDT. It ends at 9:54 p.m. on Saturday, September 22.

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TROPICS WATCH: The disturbance that was being tracked by the National Hurricane Center from the Yucatan Peninsula west into the Gulf of Mexico is no longer a threat to develop into a depression or storm, since it moved over land in South Texas on Tuesday. The system appears to have stalled, or is moving very slowly, near Brownsville, which is under a Flood Watch through at least Wednesday night.

Record rainfall was reported at Harlingen, Texas on Tuesday — 2.57 inches, which beat the previous record for the date of 2.20 inches set in 1991.

Some parts of the area received almost 5 inches of rain through Wednesday morning, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

The NHC is predicting no tropical threats over the next five days in the Atlantic, and the GFS shows clear sailing through at least July 6.

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WET WEEKEND? After a relatively dry week, rain chances should be on the rise this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Probabilities increase to around 40 percent in South Florida, and 60 percent in Central Florida.

Seven day forecast totals from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center — through next Wednesday — show heaviest rainfall over the South Florida interior and areas of northeastern Florida.

Anniversary: Hurricane Agnes battered Keys, slammed panhandle 46 years ago

Hurricane Agnes

Hurricane Agnes caused almost $3 million in damage in the Keys 46 years ago. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

Hurricanes and tropical storms usually lose their punch once they hit land. A rare exception was Hurricane Agnes, which made landfall in the Florida panhandle as a Category 1 storm 46 years ago today.

Agnes, the first named storm of the season in 1972, spun up in the western Caribbean off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the birthplace of many June storms. it brushed western Cuba and passed west of the Keys — but hammered the island chain with the one of the Keys’ worst tornado outbreaks in history. A total of six tornadoes were recorded.

“One of these tornadoes, an EF2 on Big Coppitt Key, remains the worst tornado (in terms of injuries) on record in the history of the Florida Keys with approximately 40 people injured,” National Weather Service forecasters recalled in an anniversary post on their Facebook site.

Agnes was designated a tropical storm on June 15 and became a hurricane on June 18. It made landfall near Panama City on June 19.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Agnes rapidly weakened once it hit Florida, and became a depression as it moved into Georgia. But once in North Carolina, it regenerated back into a tropical storm — over land — on June 21. It emerged into the Atlantic and began curving toward the northwest — hitting New York City as a strong tropical storm.

Anges was one of the costliest tropical storms on record at the time. It damaged more than 2,000 structures in Florida alone.

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SIZZLING SUMMER WEATHER: Good old-fashioned air conditioning was the only way to beat the heat in Florida on Monday.

Naples tied a record high with 96, and the heat index at 3 p.m. was 106 degrees. It was also 96 in Punta Gorda, 94 in Fort Myers and 94 up the coast in Brooksville.

It wasn’t exactly picnic weather in North Florida, either, with highs of 95 in Gainesville and Tallahassee, and 94 in Panama City.

East Coast cities were a bit more moderate thanks to easterly winds off the Atlantic — it was 89 in Miami and 88 in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The heat index topped out in the mid-90s.

To the north, it was 88 in Fort Pierce and 87 in Daytona Beach.

But you didn’t have to go very far inland to get back into 90-plus temps — while it was 88 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, it was 92 in Weston.

And NWS forecasters in Miami had this to say in their Tuesday morning discussion: “Temperatures will continue to show an upward trend Friday and Saturday, with some mid-90s possible into parts of the southeast Florida metro area and near 90 to lower 90s elsewhere. Heat index values may approach or even exceed 105F over parts of the area Friday and Saturday, something to keep an eye on over the coming days.”

Luckily, rain chances also rise as we close in on the weekend, forecasters said.

After mid-month respite from rain, June may go out wet in Florida

With the subtropical sun at its strongest as we head toward Thursday — the summer solstice occurs at 6:07 a.m. EDT — Florida can dry out pretty quickly, despite all the rain that fell in late May and early June.

Check it out: Tampa was 95 on Sunday; Naples, Punta Gorda, Sarasota, Winter Haven, Brooksville and Gainesville all topped out at 94. Rainfall was scant around the peninsula, although Gainesville picked up a third of an inch, and an observer southwest of Orlando reported 1.25 inches to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

An observer on Sanibel Island reported almost an inch of rain Sunday — 0.92 of an inch — but just a few hundredths of an inch were reported on the mainland.

The East Coast stayed below 90 thanks to easterly winds off the Atlantic, but that pushed most of the clouds and showers to the interior and West Coast.

14 day rainfall

Will June go out on the wet side in Florida? The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal rainfall for the entire eastern U.S. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The National Weather Service says there are suggestions from the forecast models that “a surge of higher moisture from the southeast” may move into the peninsula late next weekend. But until then look for more 90-degree weather with lots and lots of heat index values over 100.

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Tropical development potential for the low in the Gulf of Mexico was cut to 10 percent by the National Hurricane Center, as the low moved on to the Texas coast Monday afternoon. But heavy rain and potential flash flooding was in the forecast for southeastern portions of the state. (Image credits, above, NHC: below, NOAA/ Weather Prediction Center)

Excessive rainfall

Cooler breezes brush Florida’s East Coast as Midwest sizzles

7 day rainfall

With the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico heading north and west, much of the rain over the upcoming week will be focused on the Texas Coast. The week will be generally drier in Florida, the National Weather Service says, with an uptick in precipitation probabilities by the end of the week. The National Hurricane Center in Miami was giving the Gulf disturbance a 20 percent chance of development into a tropical depression or storm. (Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)

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Chicago heat
(Image credit: NWS-Chicago)

With winds off the Atlantic, high temperatures on Florida’s East Coast are expected to be in the upper 80s Sunday and Monday, with low 90s in the interior and West Coast. That’s pretty much par for the course this time of the year — residents anticipate it and are ready for it.

Not so much in Chicago, where Father’s Day looks to be a dangerous scorcher — with possible highs in the upper 90s, according to the National Weather Service, and lows Monday morning that don’t dip much below 80.

The area is under an Excessive Heat Warning through Monday night. The heat index is expected to reach 106.

“The extended duration of heat, combined with nearly full sunshine, and oppressive warmth at night will lead to hazardous conditions, particularly for the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions,” forecasters in Chicago said on Sunday.

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ON THE OTHER HAND: El Niño usually causes a less active hurricane season in the Atlantic, and a stormier winter across Florida and the southern United States. But AccuWeather has an interesting article today noting that not all El Niños are created equal, and there may be unanticipated weather impacts as the tropical Pacific warms into late 2018.

“Other natural climate phenomenon can also interact with El Niño, resulting in a wide variety of seasonal impacts across the globe,” says Brett Anderson, AccuWeather’s Senior Meteorologist.

And while the number of tropical storms and hurricanes may be affected this year, the strength and location of the ones that do form could still end up making it a very troubling season for the U.S. It’s early, but so far it looks like the Gulf of Mexico may be the spot in the Atlantic basin to keep an eye on, since the tropical Atlantic is cooler than normal.

But we may also see more “home-grown” storms that form and strengthen quickly right off the U.S. coastline.

Will ‘El Niño Watch’ impact peak of Atlantic hurricane season?

two_atl_5d1

(Image credit: NHC)

As Florida finally begins to dry out, where is all the rainfall going? Texas, apparently.

That’s what NOAA is saying in its seven-day precipitation forecast, and the National Hurricane Center concurs with its five-day Tropical Weather Outlook. The forecast sends gusty winds and heavy rain from a broad disturbance off the Yucatan Peninsula sliding into the Texas Coast as early as Sunday night.

The NHC was giving it a 20 percent chance of development into a tropical depression or storm — slim chances due to strong upper level winds.

Southwestern Louisiana may also be impacted, they said.

In Houston, forecasters are talking about the “potential for heavy downpours” in their Saturday forecast discussions, “with efficient storms capable of 3-plus inches per hour rates.”

Fortunately the ground is dry in East Texas right now so absorption of heavy rain should limit flooding concerns, forecasters said.

As we head into late June and the meat and potatoes of the summer season, tropical activity has been focused well to the west of the Florida peninsula and the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Coast. Tropical Storm Carlotta is spinning just off Mexico’s West Coast and is expected to move north into southern Mexico on Sunday, spreading torrential rain as it dissipates.

The remnants of Hurricane Bud in the Pacific are headed toward the U.S. Desert Southwest — highly unusual for June, says Bob Henson at Weather Underground.

All the activity may be related to warming waters in the eastern Pacific — as evidenced by the El Niño Watch issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center on Thursday. Chances of an El Niño — unusually warm water in the eastern tropical Pacific — shot up to 50 percent during the fall in the latest CPC analysis. Chances are at 65 percent during the 2018-2019 winter.

The potential impacts for Florida are two-fold. The first is that strong wind shear in the tropical Atlantic may limit tropical development during this hurricane season, particularly as we head into the more problematic months of September and October. Water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic continue to be abnormally cool, so we have that going for us as well.

anomw.6.14.2018

Thursday’s satellite analysis still shows cooler-than-normal waters in the tropical Atlantic. (Image credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)

El Niño winters in Florida are another story. They can cause very unsettled weather over the Florida peninsula, with unusually high amounts of rain during what normally is the state’s dry season.

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WARNING, WILL ROBINSON! WARNING! There’s a dust storm raging on Mars, and it may get worse before it gets better. The storm shut down communications between NASA and the agency’s Opportunity rover on Tuesday. Researchers are hoping that the rover will revive once the storm is over, Space.com reports.

But the end is not in sight. “Martian storms can grow to epic scale,” notes staff writer Chelsea Gohd. “The researchers said the current storm is expanding and could potentially stretch across the entire planet, which humans have seen happen on Mars before.”