Diminishing winds forecast with slight chance of rain, but no drought relief in sight

It’s been good kite flying weather — assuming your string didn’t break and your kite ended up somewhere on Sanibel Island.

Winds were clipping along out of the east at a fairly brisk pace on Saturday, with a gust of 34 mph recorded at Palm Beach International Airport. Miami had a gust of 30 mph, and Fort Lauderdale reported a gust of 33 mph.

Even the West Coast wasn’t left out, with Naples reporting a 30 mph gust.

In Biscayne National Park, Fowey Rocks Lighthouse reported a pair of gusts Saturday of 36 mph.

Top 10 driest periods
Areas in West-Central and Southwest Florida have had one of the driest “dry seasons” on record, with some locations reporting the driest on record. (Credit: NWS-Tampa)

The trigger has been a block of high pressure in the Northeast, which began sliding southeast toward Bermuda on Sunday. That should swing winds around to the southeast, according to the National Weather Service, which means diminishing winds and higher humidity for South Florida.

The moister air results in rain chances rising to 30 percent Monday, and they remain between 20-30 percent most of the week. Unfortunately for the East Coast, most of the potent shower activity may be focused on the peninsula’s interior.

“Some of the heavier showers/storms may produce brief heavy downpours, which will be beneficial to the ongoing drought situation,” forecasters in Miami said Sunday.

Based on analyses from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center, end-of-week rainfall totals look to be around an inch just east of Fort Myers and around a quarter of an inch in Palm Beach south into Miami-Dade. The lower Keys may also get a decent soaking.

But that will hardly be enough to dampen the developing South Florida drought. April rainfall deficits currently stand at about 2 inches in West Palm Beach; an inch-and-a-half in Miami and Fort Lauderdale; and an inch-and-a-quarter in Naples.

Central Florida deficits range widely from just 0.08 of an inch in Fort Pierce to 1.48 inches in Orlando. And Vero Beach is actually enjoying a surplus of 1.19 inches.

Tampa is down a half-inch, and the Middle- and Lower-Keys are running close to average.



ANXIETY IN THE ARCTIC: A glacier that holds back water from Greenland’s massive ice sheet has developed worrisome cracks, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The potential worst-case scenario sea level rise if the Greenland ice sheet melted: a foot.

At issue is the Petermann Glacier, which has already lost several Manhattan-sized chunks of ice since 2010.

The glacier floats atop a fjord as deep as the Grand Canyon, and acts as sort of a plug to stop ice melt from the ice sheet from pouring directly into the ocean.

Image credit: The Greenland ice sheet via Wikimedia Commons


Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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