Will the system in the Atlantic become Tropical Storm Don? Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are giving it a 40 percent chance of reaching at least tropical depression status over the next five days. (Credit: NHC)
More forecast models have hopped on to the GFS idea of tropical development in the Atlantic next week, and National Hurricane Center forecasters got out their yellow markers Saturday to mark a swath of potential development on their forecast map. They have given it a 40 percent chance of development into a tropical depression, or storm, by Thursday.
If it manages to achieve tropical storm strength, it would be named Don.
For the past several days, the GFS has shown this system swiping the northeastern Leeward Islands and heading toward the Bahamas — sometimes taking it east of the Bahamas and other times bringing it closer to the coast of southeastern Florida.
On Friday, the GFS had it ramping up north of the islands, a rather potent storm that eventually turns north off the U.S. coast.
Saturday’s run of the model, though, had it weakened considerably and turning north well east of the Bahamas.
The European (ECMWF) loses it as the system approaches the Leewards next Sunday, July 9. After being atypically skeptical over the past few days, the Canadian model (CMC) has embraced the idea of a tropical system, but one that stays farther south and appears to get swallowed up by Puerto Rico and, eventually, the mountainous island of Hispaniola.
The Navy model (NAVGEM) is a little slower and has it east of the Leewards next Saturday, July 8.
Should this system be tagged an invest by the NHC over the next couple of days, then the model watching will begin. The most important thing to note, perhaps, is that this is surprisingly early in the season for this kind of East/ Central Atlantic wave watching.
The wave train coming off Africa continues to look impressive, but environmental conditions need to fall into line in the tropical Atlantic before activity can really ramp up.
There is one school of thought that the active era for hurricanes which began in 1995 is not over, as many experts were saying over the past few years. Although some of those seasons featured an above average number of named storms, Accumulated Cyclone Energy remained relatively low.
The 2017 season should offer further clues.
JUNE WRAP-UP: The ended with record or near-record rainfall in some locations and near normal temperatures throughout the Florida peninsula.\
In North Florida, Gainesville set a new June record for precipitation with 16.86 inches, breaking the old mark of 16.34 inches set in 2012. It was also the second-highest monthly precipitation total on record for any month of the year, behind the 19.91 inches that fell in September 1894.
Tallahassee had 12.74 inches of rain in June, making it the eighth-wettest June on record.
Apalachicola measured a whopping 17.42 inches of rain in June, and Panama City had 13.82.
Other June rainfall totals: Daytona Beach, 9.22; Orlando, 5.44 (a deficit of 2.14 inches and one of the few precipitation shortfalls in the state); Melbourne, 6.45; Vero Beach, 6.38; Fort Pierce, 7.75; Tampa, 7.9; St. Petersburg/ Clearwater, 18.17; and Fort Myers, 14.15.
West Palm Beach had been below normal in overall June temperatures through the first three weeks of the month, but high pressure that built in for the final week pushed highs back to near 90 — normal for this time of the year — and lows into the low 80s, which is above normal.
The end result was an average June temperature a half-degree above normal. To round things out, Palm Beach International Airport posted a record warm low Friday of 81, which tied the mark set in 2003. Fort Lauderdale dipped to only 82, which broke the old mark of 81 set in 2004. (Melbourne tied a record warm low Friday with 80 degrees.)
Fort Lauderdale finished the month a little more than a half-degree below normal as highs remained capped at 90 — and the majority of highs were in the upper 80s.
But Miami was a full degree above average in June with a string of 13 days at 90 or better to finish the month. Naples was also nearly a degree above average.
Coastal South Florida had a dry third week of the month, but West Palm still came in with 10.32 inches of rain, 2.02 above the June average. Fort Lauderdale’s 11.78-inch June precipitation total was 1.62 inches over average. Miami was tops in terms of precipitation, with 15.97 iches — 6.3 above the June average. Naples wasn’t far behind with 14.63 inches — 5.81 above normal.
The Keys had around normal temperatures in June but above average rainfall.
NOAA’s July forecast, released Friday, calls for above-normal temperatures in Florida with wet conditions in the panhandle but near-normal precipitation around the peninsula through at least the first half of the month.