South Florida logs hot and dry May; tropical moisture on the way


Remnants of Tropical Depression Two-E in the Pacific could have an impact on Florida next week. See below for details. (Credit: SFWMD)

UPDATE:  Colorado State University bumped up its prediction for the 2017 hurricane season to 14 named storms, including Tropical Storm Arlene which formed in April. The CSU team — headed by Philip Klotzbach — called for six hurricanes and two major hurricanes Category 3 or stronger.

The April 5 forecast, issued prior to Arlene, had called for 11 named storms, four hurricanes and two majors.

“We anticipate an average Atlantic basin hurricane season,” Klotzbach and his colleague, Michael Bell, wrote in their June analysis issued Thursday. “The odds of a significant El Niño in 2017 have diminished somewhat, and portions of the tropical Atlantic have anomalously warmed over the past two months.

“While the tropical Atlantic is warmer than normal, the far North Atlantic remains colder than normal, potentially indicative of a negative phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO). Negative phases of the AMO tend to be associated with overall less conducive conditions for Atlantic hurricane activity due to higher tropical Atlantic surface pressures, drier middle levels of the atmosphere and increased levels of sinking motion.”


ORIGINAL POST: May 2017 went into the record books hot and dry in most places around the Florida peninsula — a continuation of the year’s record heat that began in January.

Florida had its warmest January-April period on record, as did 13 other states in the Southeastern U.S. along with Texas and New Mexico, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported.

May showed no signs of letting up.

In West Palm Beach, the average high was 87 with an average low of 72, almost a full degree above normal. The city posted a rainfall deficit of 1.90 inches. Miami finished the month 2.3 degrees above average, with an average high of close to 90 and an average low of 75. The city had a rainfall deficit of 2.65 inches.

Fort Lauderdale was about a half-degree above normal with a precipitation shortfall of 1.83 inches, and Naples finished the month 1.7 degrees above normal with a rainfall deficit of 0.56 of an inch.

Key West was 1.3 degrees above average, thanks in large part to unusually balmy nights in the Keys, with a hefty rainfall deficit of 1.81 inches.

Most major sites on Central Florida’s East Coast had above normal temperatures in May, but Orlando was slightly below average. Vero Beach and Fort Pierce checked in with rainfall surpluses.

From Tampa to Fort Myers, most West Coast locations were also above normal in May. Tampa was 2.6 degrees above normal with an average high of 90 and an average low of 72. The city had a rainfall deficit of 0.62 of an inch.

Two areas — Sarasota and Clearwater — bucked precipitation trends and finished the month on the plus side.

Jacksonville was the rainfall king with 8.65 inches in May, 6.17 inches above the monthly average. Temperatures averaged 1.3 degrees above normal.

Tallahassee had a 2-inch rainfall surplus while temperatures were slightly above normal.

In its June outlook published on Wednesday, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecast more above-normal temperatures for South Florida, but close to average temperatures for North Florida.

Normal highs and lows in South Florida don’t move much in June, with highs averaging in the upper 80s and lows in the mid-70s.

Record highs of 100 degrees pop up in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, but 98 is the hottest it’s ever been in Naples in June; ditto for Miami.



Northeast Pacific Tropical Depression Two-E is headed for landfall in Mexico, with remnants possibly entering the Gulf of Mexico late Friday, forecasters said. (Credit: NHC)

TROPICAL UPDATE: Moisture from the Pacific’s Tropical Depression Two-E [NOTE: Upgraded to Tropical Storm Beatriz at 2 p.m. EDT] is now forecast to enter the Gulf of Mexico after crossing Mexico on Friday. That doesn’t mean that forecasters at the National Hurricane Center expect the storm to hold together — they don’t. But the remnants should contribute to already blustery conditions in the southern Gulf, and some of this moisture appears to be headed for the Florida peninsula.

7 day precip
Heavy rain may be in the cards for parts of Florida this weekend and into next week. (Credit: NOAA/ WPC)

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is now forecasting hefty rainfall amounts through the middle of next week from Tampa to Miami, with totals approaching 4 inches called for in graphical forecasts. Keep in mind, though, that those forecasts are adjusted daily.

The NHC has posted a tropical storm warning for the southwest coast of Mexico from Salina Cruz to Puerto Escondido, but forecasters said time was running out for the system to become a named storm, which would be Tropical Storm Beatriz. Landfall as a tropical depression was likely early Friday morning, the agency said, and the storm’s remnants could enter the Gulf as early as Friday night.


RECORD WATCH: Miami’s low of 81 on Wednesday broke a record warm low of 80 set in 1981; Fort Lauderdale’s low was also 81, which tied the record warm low set in 2008; West Palm Beach set a record with 80; and the temperature in Key West only got down to 83, a new record for May 31. It also tied the record for the warmest low ever recorded in Key West — set just a day earlier on Tuesday.


Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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