Balmy Atlantic waters bring record warm nights to South Florida

Low temperature records were set or tied at all three major South Florida reporting sites on Sunday as easterly winds blew into the peninsula off exceptionally warm water.

Sea surface temperatures in what’s known as the Main Development Region during hurricane season are running up to 2 degrees or more Celsius (3.6 F) above average, all the way from the West Coast of Africa into the Central Atlantic and Caribbean.

If these trends continue all summer the effect on developing tropical systems in the Atlantic, particularly during the August-September Cape Verde season, would be troubling. The immediate impact is ultra-balmy nights on Florida’s East Coast.

Miami’s low on Sunday was 82, which easily busted the previous record warm low of 80 set in 2010. It was 79 in West Palm Beach and 78 in Naples, both tying record warm lows.

Monday’s apparent low in West Palm Beach was 81 with a dew point of 75, creating an early morning heat index of 87 for anyone choosing to have their coffee on the patio. Winds were rustling out of the east at 8 mph.

If it holds, the 81-degree low at Palm Beach International Airport would be good enough to tie the record warm low set in 2015.

Apparent lows were 82 in Miami and 81 in Fort Lauderdale. It was 78 in Naples.

With sunshine returning to South Florida on Sunday, the heat index popped over 100 degrees in Miami while it topped out at 95 in West Palm Beach.

Sunday was the first day without any rain at all in West Palm Beach since June 1. Fort Lauderdale reported no precipitation and Miami and Naples each had a trace.

Atlantic SSTs

Water temperatures in the Atlantic are running significantly above average with the start of the hurricane season. (Credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)

Speaking of sea surface temperatures: The only cool water in the latest satellite observation data was in the northern Gulf of Mexico, which could inhibit tropical development forecast by some computer models next week.

On the other hand, AccuWeather said Monday that wind shear in the Gulf may ease off next week, creating a more favorable environment for a tropical system.

The National Weather Service in Miami was also weighing the possibility of a disturbance in the western Caribbean this weekend, which would initiate another round of heavier rainfall for Florida.

Projected seven-day precipitation totals over the peninsula by NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center range from 2-3 inches in Central and South Florida.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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