Florida rainfall deficits mounting — will tropical wave come to the rescue?

SFL tropical waves

WEDNESDAY UPDATE:  A pair of tropical waves, one of them the remnants of Tropical Depression Four, are expected to bring some much needed rain to South Florida late Wednesday and Thursday, the National Weather Service in Miami said. No development of the waves is forecast, but the TD Four remnants may bring the wettest weather.  “Locally heavy rainfall will be a concern,” forecasters said in their Wednesday morning discussion from Miami, “mainly with training activity, but there doesn’t look to be a significant flooding threat as the wave looks to continue to dampen out as it approaches.” (Credit: NWS-Miami)


ORIGINAL POST: Despite all the whoopin’ and hollerin’ about potential tropical activity in the Atlantic, the first 10 days of the month have come in ultra-dry for Florida’s East Coast.

Palm Beach is officially an inch-and-a-half behind on normal rainfall, Fort Lauderdale is three-quarters of an inch short, and Miami has about a half-inch deficit. In the Keys, Marathon is an inch behind although Key West has had precipitation levels near average.

A tropical wave brought rainfall to the extreme southern peninsula and the Keys on Monday, but conditions remained dry north of Fort Lauderdale.

The West Coast has been the big beneficiary of the trend, with Naples chalking up 5.11 inches of rain so far in July — 2.35 above average.

Rainfall has been very localized — typical of summer in Florida. For example, Orlando is enjoying near-average precipitation this month but to the east, Melbourne has had only 0.04 of an inch, closing in on 2 inches below normal with a third of the month already in the books.


LA record Saturday

Record heat has baked the Southwest this summer. (Credit: NWS-Los Angeles)

Florida temperatures have been hot — but that’s par for the course. So far, temperatures haven’t approached the record levels seen last year, although overnight record warm lows continues to be set in East Coast locations.

But unprecedented heat waves have gripped other parts of the country, particularly the Southwest. On Saturday, Los Angeles hit 98 degrees, smashing a 131-year-old record high of 95 set in 1886.

All-in-all, the first half of 2017 was the second-warmest on record, according to NOAA. The warmest first half of the year was 2012.



A quiet forecast map returned Tuesday at the National Hurricane Center. (Credit: NHC)

TROPICS TALK: Forecast models made an abrupt U-turn Tuesday and decided they favor a quiet Atlantic over the next seven to 10 days. The disturbance in the eastern Atlantic has been taken off the National Hurricane Center forecast map and the two models that do most of the heavy lifting for forecasters — the GFS and the European (ECMWF) — show clear sailing, at least for now.

Also, the latest attempts by ex-Tropical Depression Four north of Puerto Rico to spin back up into a tropical cyclone have been kicked back by dry air, and the future of this slow-moving system remains uncertain.

Whatever does survive may head for the Florida Straits rather than the peninsula itself, hurricane forecast models suggest.

However, the National Weather Service in Miami continues to call for a wet day on Thursday as ex-TD Four slides over or near the area.

“Numerous showers with embedded thunderstorms are expected throughout the day,” forecasters said Tuesday, with “periods of locally heavy rainfall” possible. “Enhanced cloud cover will also hold down temperatures a few degrees in the mid-upper 80s.”


Tuesday’s forecast tracks for ex-TD Four suggest the possibility of a more southerly route. (Credit: SFWMD)


Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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