Will Florida’s ultra-dry winter finally take a springtime turn?
A wet March is being forecast by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center for Florida, with above average precipitation predicted for the entire peninsula and into the panhandle.
Long-range outlooks issued Friday show rainy/ showery conditions starting around mid-week, the beginning of March, and continuing through at least March 24.
For the first week of the new month, “above median rainfall is more likely across parts of the Gulf Coast and Southeast, where a stalled cold front is likely to serve as a focal point for active weather,” CPC meteorologists said Friday.
Saturday’s runs of the GFS show a weak cold front bringing a chance of rain at the end of next week — particularly in Central and South Florida. As March heads into its first full week, the model is suggesting the approach of another Gulf low — similar to the one that dumped up to 3 inches of rain in parts of South Florida last Wednesday — crossing the peninsula on Monday, March 6.
The low makes a beeline across the state from around Fort Myers to Palm Beach, dumping heavy rain just north of the lake.
Later that same week, a very vigorous low forms in the northern Gulf and moves into North Florida, triggering a good soaking for the entire state.
Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are at record highs. Also note developing El Niño conditions off western coast of South America. (Credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)
OMINOUS TRENDS IN THE ATLANTIC: Water temperatures in the Atlantic have soared this winter.
“Western Atlantic basin SSTs are on fire!” National Hurricane Center forecaster Eric Blake posted on Twitter Thursday. “Easily warmest on record — especially the Gulf of Mexico. Hope it doesn’t look like this in June!”
Satellite analysis of sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Thursday show abnormal heat concentrated in the western Gulf, the Florida Straits, and the entire Caribbean. Although there is some cooler water off the Bahamas, the tropical Atlantic’s Main Development Region (typically responsible for fueling tropical storms and hurricanes in summer) is significantly above average.
The warm water in the Gulf is associated with record temperatures in Texas. McAllen hit 101 degrees on Thursday, setting a new high temperature record for the date — and the entire month of February.
Brownsville set a record high Friday with 92, according to the National Weather Service.
Final mid-week rainfall totals for Central Florida. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne)