On the lookout for Otto; Florida’s first real cold front may sweep through next weekend

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MONDAY UPDATE: A developing low near the Bahamas was given a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Otto, by the end of the week. The system is forecast to move north or north-northwest, remaining off Florida’s coast. The storm is expected to get picked up by a cold front by next weekend and pushed out to sea, bringing cooler and drier weather to the Florida peninsula. Low temperatures Saturday night could be near 60 north of Lake Okeechobee, and Sunday’s forecast high in West Palm Beach is 79. (Credit: NHC/ NWS)

ORIGINAL POST: Climatology suggests that the Atlantic hurricane season will squeeze at least one or two more named storms out of the remaining 46 days, and the first hint that Tropical Storm Otto may be right around the corner has popped up on the National Hurricane Center map.

A trough of low pressure interacting with an upper-level low could provide the seeds for the system, currently dumping heavy rains in the Bahamas.

NHC forecasters are giving the area a 20 percent chance of become a depression — or Tropical Storm Otto — by the end of the week.

The GFS shows this system ultimately moving north over the northern Bahamas by late in the week, but very weak and disorganized. The European (ECMWF) has the low a little stronger but remaining east of the Bahamas as it churns north.

The Canadian (CMC) is a little more interesting. It develops the low east of the Bahamas on Tuesday, takes it west toward Grand Bahama Island and then curves it northeast along the Carolina coast over the upcoming weekend.

The Navy model (NAVGEM) suggests a similar scenario, delaying development of the system until it gets east of the South Carolina coast on Friday.

After that, the GFS keeps the tropical map clear through the rest of the month.

On average, one named tropical system forms in the Atlantic in November. Last year, the season was capped off with Hurricane Kate, which formed north of Hispaniola and then curved out to sea the second week of November as a Category 1.

November 2013 featured Tropical Storm Melissa out in the far eastern Atlantic, and Tropical Storm Sean formed on Nov. 6, 2011 north of the Lesser Antilles and then sped northeast out to sea.

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There’s a coastal flood advisory in effect through Monday night in Palm Beach County — and up the coast into East-Central Florida — due to seasonal king tides. On top of that, brisk easterly winds with gusts of up to 21 mph are pushing water toward the coast, and rain chances will be at 30-50 percent through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Once the tropical system mentioned above moves out of the area, a cold front may sweep into South Florida for the weekend, forecasters said. Highs may be only in the upper 70s with drier air in place — a real start to Florida’s fall weather.

OCTOBER BY THE NUMBERS: Temperatures in South Florida have been running above normal with slightly above normal precipitation, due mostly to the swipe by Hurricane Mathew. The one exception is the Fort Lauderdale area, where temperatures have been normal with a 1.23-inch rainfall deficit.

Central Florida rainfall is well above normal due to Matthew.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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