Drier weather in Florida’s weekend forecast; tropics take a break

Thursday’s wet conditions kept South Florida July precipitation engine running on all cylinders, cylinders, and put a lid on temperatures with plenty of cloud cover.

It was the first day of the month in West Palm Beach that the high  temperature failed to reach 90 degrees, and another 0.29 of an inch was collected in the rain bucket at Palm Beach International Airport.

Miami reported 0.06 of an inch while 0.23 of an inch fell in Fort Lauderdale. Naples reported a tenth of an inch.

It was drier in the Keys, though, with Marathon hitting a high of 92. And Key West tied a 28-year-old record warm low temperature record with 84 degrees.

East-Central coastal locations were also generally dry, but Orlando was slammed with another 1.64 inches of rain on Thursday, bringing the city’s July total to an impressive 8.53 inches — 3.91 inches over normal for this point in the month.

Record rainfall was reported in Orlando on Monday.

Drier weather was forecast to move into the peninsula for the weekend.

Centeral FL rainfall

Slow-moving storms soaked Central Florida earlier this week, with Orlando reporting a record 3.09 inches on Monday. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne)


TROPICS WATCH: The Atlantic remained quiet on Friday, and the National Hurricane Center was predicting no tropical development at least through the middle of next week. None of the major forecast models show anything of consequence spinning up over the next seven to 10 days.

The Atlantic continues to be dominated by dry air, which helped destroy Tropical Storm Don and wiped 96L off the NHC forecast map earlier this week.

But conditions are expected to become more favorable for tropical development when August starts, and the tropical wave train from the coast of Africa is still in full swing. An active August and September seems likely.

Colorado State University will have another updated 2017 seasonal forecast on August 4, and hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach will begin issuing outlooks every two weeks in August and September.

Eastern Atlantic SAT

Another tropical wave was getting ready to roll off the coast of Africa on Friday. (Credit: NOAA)

Don fizzles in Caribbean; Orlando socked with record rainfall

Caribbean satellite

The remnants of Tropical Storm Don were well west of the islands Wednesday morning, while 96L, right, was struggling to get its act together. (Credit: NOAA)

Short-lived Tropical Storm Don dissipated late Tuesday night after surviving for just 30 hours. Its remnants were in the eastern Caribbean, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said regeneration was not expected due to the brisk pace of the system and higher wind shear.

An observer from the island of Grenada for the Caribbean Hurricane Network said Don didn’t have much of an impact on the area. “The only evidence we had of Don passing, was the calm before the storm, followed by the anticipated picking up of wind as it passed. The rain was no worse than any other tropical wave passing through.”

East of the islands, Invest 96L was still being given a 30 percent chance of developing. The system looked ragged overnight on Tuesday and early Wednesday, but appeared to be firing up some fresh convection by mid-morning.

In any case, 96L — which would be called Tropical Storm Emily if it powers up enough to earn a name — was expected to move north of the islands.


WET WEEK CONTINUES: Orlando broke a 67-year-old rainfall record on Tuesday, with the airport officially picking up 3.09 inches. That easily smashed the previous daily record of 2.47 inches set in 1950.

Orange County was where most of the precipitation action was on Tuesday, although to the northwest, parts of Alachua County also reported in excess of 3 inches.

In South Florida, Miami International Airport measured 1.15 inches, but some areas of Miami-Dade checked in with well over 2 inches.

In fact, Miami’s official July rainfall total of 8.59 inches is almost double the normal for this point in the month.

The wet weather is forecast to continue in both South Florida and Central Florida, according to the National Weather Service, before drier air and high pressure moves in for the weekend.

Rain chances range from 40-60 percent through Friday before falling to around 20 percent on Saturday and Sunday.

Temperatures have continued to be summertime hot — that’s a given, of course. But it’s interesting to note that Palm Beach International Airport hasn’t had a high below 90 since June 23, and Miami since June 19.


More than 4 inches of rain soak parts of Florida peninsula; Don races toward islands

Decent rains soaked parts of the Florida peninsula Monday, but totals ranged widely from more than 4 inches in southern Broward County to just a splattering at Miami International Airport.

More than 3 inches fell east of Fort Myers while only a few hundredths of an inch were measured in the Tampa area.

Up to 3 inches was reported south of Orlando and up to 2 inches in North Florida.

West Palm Beach picked up 0.67 of an inch Monday; while Fort Lauderdale reported 0.11 of an inch and Miami had 0.02 of an inch. Naples posted goose eggs.

Rain chances remain in the 50 percent range through Friday when some drier air may move into the peninsula. However, National Weather Service forecasters in Miami were watching runs of the GFS model that pushes a cut-off low into northern parts of the peninsula over the weekend.

But the GFS is alone in that prediction, so forecasters are taking a wait-and-see approach to the weekend forecast before raising precipitation chances.


Tropical Storm Don had strengthened to 50 mph Tuesday morning. (Credit: NHC)

East of the Windward Islands, Tropical Storm Don powered up to a 50 mph system Tuesday morning as it charged westward at a brisk 18 mph. The main question with the system is how strong it could get before hitting the islands, since Don is currently in an environment of low wind shear and water temperatures that are about a degree above normal.

After Don reaches the Caribbean, wind shear is expected to pick up, and the storm’s proximity to the coast of South America may also take a toll.

The low to Don’s east was designated 96L by the National Hurricane Center, and was given a 40 percent chance of becoming a depression, or Tropical Storm Emily, by Sunday. It’s too early to say whether this system could impact the U.S. East Coastbut early forecast models suggest that it could approach the Bahamas if it stays together.

At Weather Underground, hurricane expert Jeff Masters https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/tropical-storm-don-forms-near-lesser-antilles-islands noted: Don is likely to be the second tropical storm to affect the Lesser Antilles Islands this year. According to NOAA’s Historical Hurricanes site, this would be the first year on record for the islands to see two tropical storms before August 1.

“There were two other years that came close: in 2005, Hurricane Emily passed though the islands on July 14, and the tropical depression that would become Hurricane Dennis passed through on July 4. In 1933, a tropical depression passed though the islands on July 14, and a tropical storm hit on July 25

“It should give no one comfort that these were the two busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record!”


Early model runs for Invest 96L suggest a movement toward the northwest followed by a possible turn more toward the west-northwest late in the forecast period. (Credit: SFWMD)

Tropical Storm Don threatens islands, but only slight strengthening forecast


Advisories for Tropical Storm Don were initiated at 5 p.m. EDT. (Credit: NHC)

The fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed late Monday in the Central Atlantic. But Tropical Storm Don — which was packing winds of 40 mph — was not expected to strengthen much and appeared to be no threat to the U.S.

And top winds were confined to a small area east of the center of circulation, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Don was expected to strengthen only slightly, withg winds of 45 mph forecast by Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The associated convection is not particularly well-organized, but there is a curved band located to the north of the center and a couple of bursts have formed closer to the small circulation center,” NHC forecaster Dan Brown said.

Although wind shear was low on Monday and the system was over warm water, Brown added: “Once the system enters the eastern Caribbean Sea, strong upper-level westerly winds and strong low-level easterly flow are likely to cause the small circulation to open up into a trough. As a result, dissipation is forecast within 72 hours.”

Tropical storm watches and warnings were posted for some of the Windward Islands, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.

On the forecast track, Don would move due west, just north of the coast of South America, through Wednesday. In fact, some of the GFS Ensemble members bring Don into Venezuela. Whatever is left of the system by the end of the week is likely to wash ashore in Central America.

A disturbance to the east of Don was given a 30 percent chance of becoming a depression or named storm by the weekend. The next name on the Atlantic list is Emily.

Hurricane Center watching new Atlantic system; wet week for Florida


MONDAY UPDATE: The National Hurricane Center added a second suspicious system to its forecast map — a disturbance to the east-southeast of Invest 95L. Forecasters gave 95L a 50 percent chance of development by the end of the week, while the tropical wave to the east has a 30 percent chance. The forecast for 95L is for a due west heading toward the Windward Islands . If it stays together over the normally hostile Caribbean, it could later impact Central America.  (Credit: NHC)

The second half of July begins with a tropical bang, as a new Atlantic disturbance pops up on the National Hurricane Center forecast map.

The system was given a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Don, by Friday. It’s tracking toward the west and early forecast models suggest it will be a low rider, skirting South America through the Caribbean and perhaps eventually slamming into Central America.

The first set of intensity models, for whatever they’re worth — and it’s usually not very much — show the system, tagged Invest 95L, becoming a strong tropical storm or even a hurricane in five days.

Looking directly at the global forecast models, Sunday morning’s run of the GFS viewed 95L with a shrug, keeping it too close to the South American coastline to get revved up. The European (ECMWF) was equally unenthusiastic.

The Canadian (CMC) developed 95L, ramming it into Central America. The Navy model (NAVGEM), presented the most intriguing scenario, bringing the system through the Caribbean and then northwest off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula next Sunday. However, a later run of the NAVGEM looked to be backing off that idea.

Nonetheless, the NHC is taking the system seriously and has tentatively scheduled an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance mission to look at it on Monday afternoon.

SF tropical wave

National Weather Service forecasters were watching a tropical wave in the Bahamas on Sunday. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

Meanwhile, another tropical wave was slated to slide across South Florida Sunday, with the heaviest rain potentially soaking the extreme southern peninsula as the system sags a bit to the south.

Sunday morning radar showed showers and storms heading into Broward County from the Atlantic. Palm Beach and Miami were dry, but National Weather Service forecasters say coverage will slowly increase through Monday as winds swing around to the south, bringing in additional tropical moisture.

Sunday’s rains may miss Central Florida but precipitation chances jump during the work week, according to the National Weather Service. A trough of low pressure sliding through the southeastern U.S. keeps rain chances high in the central peninsula and North Florida.

In fact, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting a wet week for  most of Florida, all the way from the Everglades up through Orlando and north toward Georgia.

Vero Beach sets all-time record warm low

Other records matched or broken from Daytona Beach to Key West

Another round of record hot morning lows were posted up and down Florida’s East Coast Friday.

Vero Beach reported a low of 81 — the warmest low temperature ever recorded in the Treasure Coast city since records began in 1942. It beat the previous record warm low of 80 set 65 years ago in 1952.

Miami’s overnight low was only 83, breaking the record of 81 set in 2007 — and tying the mark for the warmest low ever recorded in July, according to the National Weather Service.

Melbourne’s low on Friday was 83, which smashed a 47-year-old record for the date of 80, set in 1970.

It only made down to 84 in Key West, tying a mark previously set in 2014.

And a record warm low was also set Friday in Daytona Beach– 78, tying the mark set in 1977.

Look for more records to be set over the weekend. Palm Beach International Airport’s apparent low on Saturday was 82, which would tie a record set in 2010. Saturday’s apparent low was also 82 at Miami International.

Why all the records? Water temperatures are cooking off Florida’s East Coast. They are running at about 86 degrees off Miami Beach. With easterly winds continuing to push in off the Atlantic, coastal temperatures don’t have much of a chance to drop overnight.


Above, water temperatures are unusually warm in the Atlantic — and rising in the Gulf of Mexico as mid-July arrives. (Credit: NOAA/  NESDIS) Below, the National Weather Service preps for a Sunday hurricane program in Marathon directed at boaters in the Keys. (Credit: NWS-Key West)

Hurricane seminar

Florida posts record-warm first half of 2017

First half 2017

Florida was one of four states that had a record warm start to the year. (Credit: NOAA/ NCEI)

The first half of 2017 in Florida was the warmest such period on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reports. The U.S.  overall had its second-warmest first half of the year from January through June.

Florida also had its second-wettest June on record, the agency said.

Record warmth also took hold in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. A large swath of states from the Desert Southwest through the Mississippi Valley and into the Appalachians had second- or third-warmest first-halfs on record.

These are overall average temperatures, taking into consideration the highs and the lows.

If you just look at high temperatures from January through June, all-time records were posted in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, while Florida had its second-warmest first half in terms of highs.

Ironically, Florida’s June temperatures brought the six-month average down slightly due to all the rain and cloudy weather.

July temperatures in South Florida are running 2-3 degrees above average in Miami and West Palm Beach, but just slightly above normal in Fort Lauderdale and Naples.

July temps are about a degree above normal in the Keys, 1-3 degrees above normal in East-Central Florida, 1-2 degrees in the Tampa area, 1-2 degrees in North Florida, and about a degree higher in the panhandle.

Florida’s East Coast has been above normal in large part due to the prevailing easterly winds this summer coming in off an unsually warm Atlantic. Melbourne challenged another record warm low Thursday with 80 degrees, tying a mark for the date set in 2006.

WEEKEND WEATHER WATCH: With this week’s tropical waves pushing out into the Gulf of Mexico, a relatively dry weekend is in store for Florida’s East Coast, according to the National Weather Service. Rain chances edge up early next week as winds swing around to the southwest. That should drive any showers that develop over the peninsula’s interior toward the East Coast metro areas.

TROPICS WATCH: No tropical development is forecast by the National Hurricane Center through at least the next five days. The forecast models show a quiet Atlantic over the next seven days, although the GFS and Canadian (CMC) suggest a weak system may approach the Bahamas the week of July 23.

The Climate Prediction Center issued its updated El Niño forecast Thursday, calling for the current neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific to last into the 2017-2018 winter.

“However, chances for El Niño remain elevated” — forecasters said. They put chances of at 35-45 percent.  An El Niño — abnormally warm water in the tropical Pacific — would discourage tropical development in the Atlantic.

But even if these conditions would arrive later this year, it would likely be too late to affect the peak months of the hurricane season.