UPDATE: Tropical Depression Eight became Tropical Storm Gert at 5 p.m., and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted it would top out as a 65-mph storm by Tuesday as it moves toward the north and northeast. It was not expected to affect land. (Credit: NHC)
Saturday’s high temperature in West Palm Beach tied July 28 and 29 as the hottest day of the year — a sizzling 94 degrees between 2-4 p.m. The heat index climbed to 107.
Miami’s heat index topped out at 105 with a high temperature of 93, Fort Lauderdale hit 90 with a heat index of 102; and in Naples’ the high was 90 but the heat index failed to break into triple digits with 99.
Highs were in the low 90s in Central Florida; Stuart also recorded a heat index of 107.
More peak summer heat was forecast for the Florida peninsula over the next couple of days as “dry air pockets” from the Bahamas, National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said in their Sunday analysis. Look for more record warm lows on the East Coast next week, they said.
TROPICS WATCH: Conditions tend to change overnight in the tropics — particularly when you’re heading into the peak of the hurricane season.
To wit: Tropical Depression Eight formed late Saturday, and appeared close to tropical storm strength. But the cyclone, which would get the name Gert, was following model forecasts and was tracking north-northwest, which should be followed by a turn toward the north-northeast on Monday.
The storm is expected to make a wide right turn around Bermuda, so no land will be affected if the forecast holds.
But another strong wave tumbled off the coast of Africa Saturday and the National Hurricane Center immediately tagged it Invest 91L. Ten-day forecasts are to be taken with a grain of salt — pre-Tropical Storm Gert was originally forecast to cause problems in the Florida Keys — but 91L has clear model support.
Sunday runs of the GFS showed the storm over the Bahamas, then making a turn toward the north and making landfall in South Carolina toward the end of next week. The European (ECMWF) has the storm crawling up the northern coast of Cuba on Wednesday, August 23 heading in the general direction of the Keys.