Rainy season delayed — forecasters eye holiday weekend

Rip current safety

Rip currents are back in the news this weekend with a brisk easterly wind flow. Advisories are out for Atlantic beaches. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

UPDATED RECORD WATCH: More records fell Saturday around the Florida peninsula. The low in Miami was 80, breaking a warm minimum temperature record of 79 set in 1985. Fort Lauderdale dropped to 80 as well, breaking the 79 degree mark set in 1952. The low in West Palm Beach, 79, broke the old mark of 78 set in 2011.

Naples posted a record high, meanwhile, of 94, busting the old record of 93 set in 2003. Fort Myers’ high of 97 broke the previous record of 95 set in 1998.

Melbourne’s low of 78 broke the previous record of 74 set in 1985, and Vero Beach tied a record set in 1980 with a low of 76.


ORIGINAL POST: Saturday, May 20 is the average start of the rainy season in South Florida, but the only thing keeping your landscaping alive right now is your irrigation system.

The rain that was forecast for Friday did not materialize for the most part, after drier air moved over the peninsula from the Bahamas, according to the National Weather Service. On top of that, forecasters said in their Saturday morning analysis: “A Saharan air layer (SAL) remains in place over much of South Florida, which is suppressing convection despite 70s dew points.”

Modest rainfall amounts were recorded on Friday for several locations up and down the East Coast, but they fell in the pre-dawn hours and gave way to another day of scorching heat.

High temperatures weren’t actually that bad on the East Coast — 89 in Miami and a pair of 87s in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — but it was the fourth straight day in the 90s in Naples.

Miami logged a minimum temperature record with a low of 79, tying the record set in 1997.

Some spots in Collier County did report up to a half-inch of rain on Friday, but most of the peninsula remained dry despite summertime dew points.

The wetter pattern that had been on forecasters’ radar for next week may not materialize, with another shot of Saharan air threatening to spoil the wet season party. Seven days out, a frontal boundary may stall over the peninsula for the Memorial Day weekend, and that would kick precipitation production into higher gear. But we’ll have to see how those forecast models evolve.

More warm low temperature records were broken Friday in East-Central Florida at Daytona Beach, Vero Beach and Melbourne. And the stifling heat continued on the West Coast, with Tampa hitting 98, busting a 73-year-old record set in 1944. It was 96 in Fort Myers.


Sarasota climate report
The Sarasota high of 100 degrees posted for Thursday will be revised by the National Weather Service. (Credit: NWS-Tampa)

RECORD REWRITE: the National Weather Service backed off on its report of a 100-degree high at Sarasota, which it had posted on Thursday. It was “determined to be a result of a faulty temperature sensor and was several degrees too high,” the NWS Tampa office said Saturday.

However, it was still posted on the Sarasota-Bradenton climate report page as of Saturday morning. A high of 97 was reported Friday.


MIDWEST ROLLERCOASTER: Residents in the Great Lakes area were enjoying some summer-type weather last week — only to be walloped by a wet cold front Thursday and Friday.

The high in Milwaukee went from 80 degrees on Saturday, May 13, to 57 on Sunday and 68 on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday came in at 87 and 84 respectively, and it was 75 on Thursday before dropping to 48 on Friday with rain and wind gusts as high as 33 mph.

Friday’s high was 50 in Chicago with a quarter of an inch of rain and a wind gust of 50 mph after four days at or near 80 degrees.

Detroit had three days in the upper 80s before the temperature plunged to 46 on Friday morning.

The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field Friday and the Chicago Daily Herald reported: “Sloppy Cubs left out in cold in 6-3 loss to Brewers.”

Sports writer Bruce Miles wrote: “Winter made a rude re-entry at Wrigley Field on Friday after a cameo appearance by summer earlier this week.”

The game time temperature was 46 with a wind chill of 37. Attendance: 36,923, about 4,000 short of capacity.


Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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