After stormy mid-week, dry weather returns for holiday

Gulf SAT

Wednesday’s Gulf of Mexico satellite tells the tale: Stormy weather is on the way. (Credit: NOAA)

Some relief from Florida’s bone-dry May weather was on the way Wednesday as moisture streamed into the peninsula from the Caribbean and southern Gulf of Mexico. The heaviest rainfall amounts were predicted for drought-stricken areas east of Tampa.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center was forecasting 2.74 inches of rain between Tampa and Orlando between Wednesday and Friday, which could help take the edge of some of the Extreme Drought conditions that have built up during the spring.

The WPC predicted heaviest rain from North Florida south through the Lake Okeechobee area, with lighter amounts of an inch or so in South Florida and the Keys.

Many official reporting sites around the peninsula had May precipitation deficits of up to an inch and a half through Tuesday.

The rain is of course welcome but the severe weather warnings issued by the Storm Prediction Center were not.

The SPC put areas north of a line from Everglades City to Fort Lauderdale at “Slight” risk for severe weather, including thunderstorms, high winds, hail and tornadoes, and areas to the southeast under “Marginal” risk.

This is potentially a hefty price to pay for a little drought relief, and the National Weather Service is forecasting a return to dry conditions over the holiday weekend and into next week.

On top of that, although the stormy weather will be triggered by a cold front, don’t expect any cool weather. This is late May, after all, and even in North Florida, a brief dip into the high 50s early Friday morning will give way to clear skies and highs in the low 90s over the weekend, according to forecasters.

With high pressure building back in after the front passes through — and shifting east by early next week — winds in South Florida will turn easterly again off the Atlantic, keeping the East Coast metro areas dry.

What the peninsula needs — in addition to a good 5-cent cigar — is for a weak, more benign front to stall out over Central Florida. That would give coastal and interior sections a good multi-day soaking, which is what the weather doctor ordered.

That scenario does not appear to be on the horizon, however.

There is one hopeful sign — the Climate Prediction Center’s long-term forecast is for normal precipitation levels in Central and South Florida to end the month and kick off June, which is usually the area’s wettest month.

The GFS does in fact suggest some soupy conditions in Florida after next week’s spell of dry weather and we’ll have to see if that pans out.

ECFL storm potential

Above: Central Florida is under a “Slight” risk of severe weather while portions of South Florida (below) are looking at a “Marginal” risk. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne/ NWS-Miami)

Severe weather risk

RECORD WATCH: Vero Beach reported a record high Tuesday of 95 degrees, busting the previous mark of 94 set way back in 1961. Fort Lauderdale tied another warm low temperature Tuesday with 78. The low in Melbourne was 76, which also tied a record.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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