On Friday morning, Tropical Storm Arlene had strengthened slightly with winds of 50 mph. It was moving just south of due west at 31 mph. Arlene, the first named storm of the 2017 hurricane season, was still forecast to dissipate later on Friday. (Credit: NHC)
ANNOUNCING ARLENE: “I have to add one more surprise to my long hurricane forecasting career,” National Hurricane Center forecaster Lixion Avila said a late Thursday NHC advisory. “Unexpectedly, the subtropical cyclone became a tropical depression this morning, and then it intensified to a tropical storm.” So Tropical Storm Arlene did materialize after all, a very early named system that should boost totals for the season — although a quiet 2017 has been predicted.
“Tropical storms in April are rare and Arlene is only the second one observed in this month during the satellite era,” Avila said. “It should be noted, however, that this type of storm was practically impossible to detect prior to the weather satellite era.”
Tropical Storm Arlene had sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving west-northwest. It was still forecast to become extra-tropical on Friday.
LATE-SPRING SIZZLER: Brace for a red-hot May across all of Florida, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday. The agency called for above normal temperatures across all of the U.S. southern states, with the highest chances for above-average heat in the Desert Southwest as well as Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. May 15 is usually the start of the rainy season in South Florida, but NOAA hedged its bets on Florida precipitation predictions, calling for equal chances for above-normal, below-normal or average May rainfall. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)
Palm Beach International Airport received only its second measurable April rainfall on Wednesday — 0.11 of an inch — as a quick stream of spotty showers continued sweeping into the peninsula from the Atlantic. The shower brought the West Palm Beach April rainfall total up to 0.12 of an inch, 2.35 inches below normal for the month.
No rain was reported in Miami or Naples, and Fort Lauderdale had a trace.
A weather observer in Boynton Beach reported an unofficial total of 0.68 of an inch.
Areas of Northwest Florida received almost a third of an inch of rain and precipitation was also reported in the panhandle on Wednesday.
Rain chances disappear from the South Florida forecast for the early part of the weekend, but then jump to 20 percent Sunday and 40 percent Monday.
Drought conditions in Florida remained virtually unchanged this week, with a small area of extreme Northeastern Florida going from Moderate Drought to Severe Drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor analysis.
Much of the southern peninsula remains in Severe Drought, with Moderate Drought over southern parts of the Everglades and Abnormally Dry conditions in place over most of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
EARTH DAY IN THE KEYS: Saturday’s the big day at Bahia Honda State Park, where National Weather Service meteorologists will be on hand to answer questions. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Credit: NWS-Key West)