TWIN TROPICAL TROUBLES: A low in the Central Atlantic and another in the Caribbean continue to show promise for topical development over the next few days. Five-day development odds for the two systems were set by the National Hurricane Center at 80 percent and 50 percent, respectively. As the National Weather Service in Miami notes, it’s too early to predict what impacts either system may have on Florida, but so far forecast models have kept the Atlantic disturbance east of Florida. with the Caribbean low aiming for Mexico’s northeast coast in the Gulf of Mexico, or perhaps South Texas.
Colorado State University once again edged up its 2017 hurricane season forecast Thursday to call for a total of 16 named storms — 11 more — eight hurricanes and three majors. Since none of the first five named storms achieved hurricane status, the updated CSU forecast, by Philip Klotzbach and Michael Bell, would indicate that 73 percent of the remaining storms this year could be hurricanes with three of them Category 3 or stronger, a grim prediction.
“We have maintained our forecast for above-average Atlantic hurricane activity,” the pair wrote. “ENSO neutral conditions appear likely to persist, and most of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic is anomalously warm and is likely to remain so. The probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean is above-normal due to the forecast for an above-average season.”
Model forecast tracks for Invest 99L in the Atlantic. (Credit: SFWMD)
NO BEATING THE HEAT: Not only was Thursday’s heat in South Florida torrid and unrelenting, but the milky skies were a sign of Saharan air in the Atmosphere, a phenomenon certain to keep you sneezing and wheezing if you have allergies.
The National Weather Service in Miami called the Saharan air layer “robust” and said it will keep the area in its hazy grip Friday and into the weekend.
Thursday’s heat index hit 109 in Naples and Fort Myers, 106 in Miami, and 105 in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and another heat advisory was issued for Collier County and mainland Monroe County.
It felt like 107 Thursday afternoon in Punta Gorda, 106 in Sarasota, and 105 in Tampa.
A heat index of 113 was measured in Witham Field Airport in Stuart, 108 in Fort Pierce, 107 in Okeechobee, and 109 in Vero Beach. Orlando International Airport was a cool spot Thursday afternoon with a heat index reading of 102.
North Florida temperatures were held down by cloudy cover and rain — Jacksonville’s actual high was 85, and it just 79 in Gainesville, where almost an inch of rain fell.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for above normal temperatures in Florida through at least August 17, along with normal levels of precipitation.