The cold front forecast to trigger a week-long rain event over most of the Florida peninsula should push into North Florida on Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Some strong storms and flooding are possible as the front sinks south, eventually stalling around the I-4 corridor. (Credit: NWS-Jacksonville)
Friday was one of the hottest days of the year up and down Florida’s East Coast — and the warmest so far in 2017 in West Palm Beach, where the temperature hit 94 with a heat index of 107.
The temperature topped out at a blistering 97 in Vero Beach, 95 in Fort Pierce and 96 in Melbourne, where the city added an incredible fourth consecutive day of record warm lows with 79, breaking the old record of 78 set in 2011. Record warm lows were also set or tied in Melbourne on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
In West Palm Beach, it was also the hottest day since last August 6, when a high of 94 ended a three-day string of highs of 94 and 95.
Friday’s high was 93 in Miami, 92 in Fort Lauderdale, and 90 in Naples, which tied a record warm low with 79 — matching the mark set just two years ago in 2015.
It was 94 in Jacksonville and Orlando.
Even in the normally milder Keys, the high was 94 in Marathon and 90 in Key West, where Friday’s low of 84 tied the record for warmest low for the date.
It was mostly in the low 90s on the West Coast, with Tampa hitting 93.
Friday’s rainfall totals around the state were light — a very spotty inch or two fell in inland locations from Miami up to Vero Beach — but it was likely the calm before the storm. Five-to-six inches rain are forecast for Central and North Florida over the next week as a frontal boundary stalls over the I-4 corridor, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center says.
The rare July cold front is in connection with the strong low pressure system over the Mid-Atlantic States, which was hammered by storms on Friday. Parts of Montgomery County in southern Maryland reported more than 6 inches, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network reported.
South Florida looks to be in line for at least 2-3 inches next week, and showers developing over the peninsula this weekend will likely dump some needed rain along the East Coast.
TROPICS WATCH: A new tropical wave southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands earned a yellow X on the Saturday morning National Hurricane Center forecast map. It had a 20 percent chance of development by Thursday, forecasters said. The disturbance, which was packing a modest amount of convection, is part of a robust train of waves rolling over tropical areas of Africa toward the Atlantic coast.
Forecast models were all over the place in their Saturday runs, with the GFS showing long-range development in the Gulf of Mexico, the European (ECMWF) off the southeastern U.S. coast, and the Canadian (CMC) predicting a vigorous storm east of the Bahamas in seven to 10 days.
When and where Tropical Storm Emily will pop up is anybody’s guess. But signs are pointing to an active August and September that could bring a few nail-biters to Florida and other parts of the Atlantic Coast.