Monday’s Caribbean satellite image shows the system that delivered heavy rain to parts of South Florida as it drifts northeast of the Bahamas. (Credit: NOAA)
The weather doctor’s orders were followed to a “T” on Sunday as record rains washed over parched South Florida, pushing monthly rainfall levels from serious deficit territory to surprising April surpluses.
West Palm Beach was hit with 3.5 inches, busting a 90-year-old record daily rainfall mark of 2 inches set in 1927. Miami’s Sunday total of 2.08 inches broke the old mark of 2 inches set in 1938, and Fort Lauderdale’s 3.7 inches busted the mark of 2.2 inches set in 1954.
It was the heaviest one-day total in West Palm Beach since Jan. 27, 2016 when 4.79 inches slammed the area.
Other unofficial 24-hour rainfall totals around South Florida included 4.03 inches in Margate, 4.22 inches in Davie; and 4.43 inches in Jupiter.
In the Keys, Key West had 1.15 inches of rain on Saturday but zilch on Sunday, while Marathon posted 2.22 inches over both weekend days.
In East-Central Florida, Fort Pierce measured 0.98 of an inch but Vero Beach reported just 0.08 of an inch and Orlando remained dry.
On Florida’s West Coast, no rain was reported in Tampa or Sarasota, but Fort Myers checked in with 2.10 inches.
Sunday’s heavy rain still left an April precipitation deficit in Miami of 0.29 of an inch, and with a dry week in the forecast it’s likely that the month will go into the books as abnormally dry. However, Fort Lauderdale was sitting on a 1.63-inch surplus as of Monday, and West Palm Beach had a surplus of 0.67 of an inch. Naples is still dealing with a 1.13-inch shortfall.
The cold front that’s due to sweep down the peninsula on Monday is expected to do is dry things out, but not cool temperatures down.
West winds out of the interior could drive temperatures up to near 90 on South Florida’s East Coast, according to the National Weather Service, and highs will remain in the low 80s this week and edging up to the mid-80s by the weekend.
Sultry summer days are around the corner, which will be fine as long as enough moisture sticks around to see South Florida into the start of the rainy season.
Long-range forecasters are predicting ample rainfall for the first week of May, but the week three and four forecast is for warmer than average temperatures with equal chances for above, below or normal precipitation.