Moderate Drought conditions have taken hold in parts of Central and South Florida, the U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday, and Abnormally Dry conditions have spread east through Miami-Dade and mainland Monroe counties.
The drought conditions span an area on the West Coast from around Tampa south to Naples, east across the peninsula’s interior and spanning the East Coast from just north of Jupiter to southern Brevard County.
FLORIDA RAINFALL DEFICITS AS OF THURSDAY: Miami, 1.22 inches. Fort Lauderdale, 1.6 inches; West Palm Beach, 1.41 inches and Naples, 1.05 inches.
Key West, 0.61; Marathon, 1.16; Fort Myers, 1.02; Tampa, 0.82; Fort Pierce, 1.31; Vero Beach, 0.78; Orlando, 0.88; Melbourne, 0.39; Daytona Beach, 0.98; Jacksonville, 1.13; and Gainesville, 1.44.
STORM POTENTIAL UPDATE: The latest runs of the GFS, ECMWF and other forecast models continue to show a very vigorous surface low scooting across the Gulf of Mexico in the Wednesday-Thursday time frame. Friday morning’s run of the GFS has the low entering the southwest Florida peninsula and cutting east across the peninsula.
NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center has upped forecast rain amounts to more than 2 inches just off South Florida’s East Coast.
The National Weather Service Wednesday night/ Thursday South Florida forecast is for windy conditions with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.
NWS Miami: “As this disturbance develops and pushes eastward on Wednesday into Thursday, it will cut across the peninsula of Florida with the potential of showers and thunderstorms. The concern for strong to severe storms cannot be ruled out though great uncertainty remains with an event in the extended forecast period. One thing to note has been the consistency over the last few days of the GFS and ECMWF with this system.
“The GFS has the cutoff low crossing around Tampa while the ECMWF takes it between Key West and Cuba. This system bears watching and expect the forecast to evolve over the coming days as the potential event time approaches. Much can still change, but the guidance is being consistent so far with the solution.”
NWS Tampa: “More powerful southern stream upper low moves off the Texas coast Tuesday through the south central Gulf Wednesday and over the SW FL Peninsula Thursday. The surface Gulf low system to deepen and strengthen as it moves through the Gulf with potential for widespread showers and a few strong thunderstorms as it impacts the region. Will continue to monitor model solutions with regard to evolution of this system.”
WILD IN THE WEST: A phenomenon called “downslope compression” sent temperatures soaring last weekend south and east of the Rocky Mountains, with Magnum, Oklahoma hitting a jaw-dropping 99 degrees — on Feb. 10.
There were widespread highs in the upper 80s, low 90s and mid- to upper-90s in southwestern sections of Oklahoma, according to Weather Underground, and even Denver hit 80. It was 94 degrees in Witchita Falls, Texas.