The heat goes on: Miami ties record high at 95; forecasters still watching tropics

Tropics via NWS

The Atlantic tropical disturbance was heading in the direction of Florida but was being buffeted by wind shear. (Credit: NWS-Miami/ NHC)

Miami tied a record high Friday with 95 degrees, matching a mark set in 1995. It also tied August 13 and 16 as the warmest days of the summer. The heat index topped out at 104.

It was 94 in West Palm Beach, 91 in Fort Lauderdale and 92 in Naples, with heat index values of 106, 105 and 103, respectively.

In addition to Miami’s record high, Fort Lauderdale tied a record warm low with 82 on Friday. That matched the mark set in 1997.

The heavy rain forecast for the South Florida weekend was postponed until late Saturday night and into Sunday. The westward progress of the tropical wave over the Bahamas was slowed, forecasters said, leaving the door open for one more day of potentially excessive heat.

At 10 a.m. Saturday it was already 91 in Miami, 90 in Hollywood and West Palm Beach; 87 in Fort Lauderdale and 84 in Naples.

In the tropics, Tropical Storm Harvey was clipping west at a quick 21 mph, with minimum 40 mph winds. It looked structurally messy on Saturday, but National Hurricane Center forecasters were still predicting slow strengthening as it slides across the Caribbean.

Disturbance 92L continued to wax and wane northeast of the Lesser Antilles, and it remained unclear exactly what impact the system will have on Florida weather when it arrives in the vicinity of the peninsula on Tuesday.

Florida forecasters raise flooding concerns over approaching tropical weather

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CHANCES DIMINISHING: Odds for development of disturbance 92L were cut back from 70 percent to 60 percent by the National Hurricane Center at 2 p.m. Forecasters said it continued to show signs of organization, but was about to run into high wind shear. (Credit: NHC)

ORIGINAL POST: Florida’s rainy weekend could stretch into a wet week with potential flooding if the tropical disturbance nearing the Lesser Antilles delivers a second precipitation punch to the area on Wednesday or Thursday.

The system, being tracked by the National Hurricane Center as Invest 92L, could be on Florida’s doorstep as early as Wednesday morning. But luckily, conditions are not forecast to be favorable for development, and the major forecast models such as the GFS and European (ECMWF) are not impressed.

Still, after a potential soaking from a tropical wave due to pass over the Florida peninsula Saturday and Sunday, another round of moisture mid-week could trigger flooding issues, the National Weather Service in Miami said.

The system was 750 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands Friday morning and was “continuing to show signs of organization,” NHC forecasters said. “While it would take only a slight increase in organization for a tropical depression to form later today or tonight, upper-level winds are becoming less favorable for development.”

Once the low gets west of Puerto Rico, wind shear could jump — on Friday the shear was running 30-40 knots.

Still, sea surface temperatures are running about a degree above normal north of the Greater Antilles and around the Bahamas, and warm water is fuel for tropical systems. If it does strengthen, however, the low could be pulled north off the coast of Florida.

National Weather Service forecasters┬ásaid Friday morning: “The exact details of the weather Tuesday through Thursday will hinge on the exact development and movement of the tropical disturbance currently located about 1000 miles east of the Leeward Islands. As of 2 a.m., NHC currently gives this feature a 70 percent change of developing into a tropical cyclone in 2 days and 5 days respectively. It is expected that this feature will continuing moving northwest and potentially be in the Bahamas and South Florida as we head into mid-next week.

“Regardless of development, at this point signs are pointing towards another period of heavy rainfall across the region for at least Tuesday and Wednesday. Which, especially depending on this weekend`s rainfall, may raise flooding concerns across the area.

“All residents and visitors or South Florida need to continue to monitor this tropical disturbance through the weekend.”

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center was showing more than 4 inches of rain falling along the southeast Florida coast through the end of next week.

Disturbance 92L, of course, wasn’t the only player in the Atlantic Basin Friday. Tropical Storm Harvey was battering the Windward Islands, and a second tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic was given a 40 percent chance of development by the NHC over the next five days.

Harvey was forecast to top out as a 70-mph tropical storm on Monday before it rams into Central America. People in the Windward Islands posting on the Caribbean Hurricane Network reported heavy rain and some power outages on Barbados.

Caribbean satellite

Above: Friday’s Caribbean satellite water vapor image showed Tropical Storm Harvey pounding the Windward Islands while tropical disturbance 92L to its northeast was moving into an area of higher wind shear. Below: forecast tracks for 92L. (Credit: NOAA/ NHC/ SFWMD)

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Soggy weekend forecast for Florida as tropical wave rolls in

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TROPICAL STORM HARVEY: The National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on the ninth named storm of the season at 5 p.m. Forecasters predicted the system — tracked over the last several days as Invest 91L — would near-hurricane status on Monday as it nears the coast of Honduras. A Tuesday morning landfall in Belize was in the initial forecast.

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Puerto Rico was getting hammered Thursday by a tropical wave and upper-level low, center, while Invest 91L (right) and 92L (far right) continue west. (Credit: NOAA)

A potent tropical wave that has been dumping moderate to heavy rain over Puerto Rico is set to dampen the Florida peninsula this weekend.

San Juan picked up 1.76 inches of rain Thursday morning and the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station reported 2.06 inches.

All of that moisture was moving west-northwest toward Florida and should arrive in time to drive rain chances up to at least 50 percent over parts of Florida on Saturday and Sunday as it heads west.

The rain is associated with an upper-level low and is out ahead of the two tropical features under scrutiny by the National Hurricane Center — Invests 91L and 92L. In the satellite image above, the aforementioned wave is shown near Puerto Rico and moving into Hispaniola on its way to the Bahamas.

Disturbance 91L is east of Barbados and 92L was still at around 43W.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting around an inch of rain for parts of the Florida peninsula through next Tuesday, with 2 inches or more forecast for the interior from the Everglades all the way north through Orlando the Gainesville area.

Heavier rains may roll through toward the middle of next week if Invest 92L ends up moving in the direction of South Florida or the Keys, which has been the favored path of foreast models over the past few days. Luckily, there are indications that 92L may not have much chance to power up into a depression or tropical storm due to high wind shear north of the Greater Antilles.

Shear doesn’t really drop off until you get into the Gulf of Mexico.

As of Thursday, the WPC Was indicating more than 3 inches of rain over the next seven days for parts of the Middle and Upper Keys.

Rain chances bounce back into the 50 percent range again on Tuesday and Wednesday after one drier day — luckily on Monday, the day of the eclipse.

Atlantic tropical waves

Disturbance 91L went code red on Thursday, indicating a high chance of development. The other two areas of interest in the Atlantic have a medium chance of tropical development. (Credit: NWS-Key West/ NHC)

Forecast models are fairly unanimous in bringing 91L through the Caribbean and west all the way to Central America or Mexico. Forecasters at the NHC increased development chances of 91L to 70 percent on Thursday, and an Air Force reconnaissance plane was scheduled to investigate it Thursday afternoon as it bears down on the Lesser Antilles.

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Forecast tracks for Invest 92L. (Credit: SFWMD)

HURRICANE ANNIVERSARY: A tropical storm quickly blew up into a hurricane 50 miles south of Key West 131 years ago. The unnamed storm was moving west through the Florida Straits on August 17, 1886, when it rapidly intensified. “A man was killed when a building collapsed on Duval Street,” Forecasters at the National Weather Service’s Key West office said Thursday. (Credit: NWS-Key West)

Forecasters track tropical trio as Gert nears Category 2 strength

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Two systems in the Tropical Atlantic have a 50 percent chance each of development by Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The disturbance off the coast of Africa has a 40 percent chance. (Credit: NHC)

There’s a meteorological traffic jam going on in the Tropical Atlantic, with three strong waves rolling toward the Lesser Antilles all with a chance to become the next named storm.

And that’s in addition to Hurricane Gert, spinning well off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. The storm was still strengthening Wednesday and forecasters predicted it would become the season’s first Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph. UPDATE: Gert became the first Category 2 with winds of 100 mph at 5 p.m., but NHC forecasters said: “The window of opportunity for additional strengthening appears to be closing.”

The three systems are led by Invest 91L, which is apparently bound for the Caribbean; 92L, which could skirt the northeastern Lesser Antilles and move in the general direction of the Bahamas; and the potential 93L, which just emerged from the coast of Africa.

All three were given a 40 percent chance of becoming tropical depressions or storms over the next five days by the National Hurricane Center. If they all developed, we’d have Harvey, Irma and Jose.

It’s too early to say where these systems will end up, but 91L looks like it could continue to sweep west and impact Central America. The next one, 92L, has some trouble-making potential for the U.S. Coast, based on mid-week forecast models. And 93L is a wild card.

This is the most dangerous time of the year for tropical weather, and the disturbances will be getting very close scrutiny from the NHC.

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South Florida eclipse

South Florida’s view of the eclipse. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

AND SPEAKING OF TRAFFIC JAMS: It’s the Super Bowl of astronomical events, so expect this weekend’s coverage of the “Great American Eclipse” to at least equal, or even surpass, the breathlessly hyped NFL football extravaganza.

But Monday’s solar eclipse viewing will be generally poor throughout the Florida peninsula due to cloud cover, forecasters at AccuWeather predict.

The closest place to the peninsula where the total eclipse can be viewed is Charleston, SC where there’s a 40 percent chance of rain, according to Weather Underground — and a 100 percent chance of traffic gridlock as people jam into the eclipse path.

Charleston is 522 miles from West Palm Beach, which would ordinarily be a seven-hour drive. But if you plan on getting up early Monday morning and driving up to see the Big Event, good luck.

There are 200 million Americans living within 500 miles of the eclipse, Forbes reports, about two-thirds of the U.S. population. “Previous eclipses have seen two-hour commutes turn into twelve-hour slogs, and this eclipse is poised to outdo them all,” the magazine said in June, predicting “the worst traffic jam in American history.”

Absent cloud cover, people in the Jacksonville area would see 85-95 percent of the sun obscured around 2:45 p.m.

West Palm Beach would get an 82 percent view, 78 percent in Miami and 75 percent in Flamingo.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Naples Tuesday was 80, which tied a record warm low for the date set in 2010.

 

Four tropical systems dominate busy Atlantic

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NHC forecasters are watching four systems in the Atlantic, including Hurricane Gert. (Credit: NHC)

Much of the tropical Atlantic’s Main Development Region was ablaze in color Tuesday as the National Hurricane Center monitored Hurricane Gert along with three potential tropical disturbances.

The MDR, which stretches from the coast of Africa through the Caribbean to coastal Central America, was host to 91L, apparently bound for the Caribbean; a wave west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, and another system due to emerge off the African coast Wednesday.

The two- and five-day Tropical Weather Outlook uses yellow to denote a low chance of development (0-30 percent); orange a medium chance (40-60 percent); and red for a high chance (70 percent or higher).

Chances of development for Invest 91L were actually knocked back Tuesday morning by NHC forecasters, who said conditions would become more hostile for tropical storm development once it makes it into the Caribbean. The eastern Caribbean is often considered a graveyard for long-tracking Atlantic systems due to dry air coming off South America and higher wind shear.

If a storm can hold any kind of structure into the Central Caribbean conditions usually improve dramatically in the West.

Forecast models have been flip-flopping on 91L, and a southerly route was favored on Tuesday. Most of the members of the GFS Ensemble predict the storm will continue to push west all the way to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, as last week’s Hurricane Franklin did.

As for Hurricane Gert, the second of the season, forecasters predicted it would top out as an 85-mph storm on Wednesday before losing its punch and becoming post-tropical on Friday. No land areas should be affected.

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Forecast tracks for Invest 91L. (Credit: SFWMD)

FLORIDA FORECAST: A tropical wave due to arrive over the weekend pushes up precipitation chances in South Florida to 50 percent, according to the National Weather Service. Rain chances also climb into the 50 percent range in West- and East-Central Florida, but remain lower in the Keys and in North Florida, at around 30 percent.

SFL high temps

Rain chances increase this weekend, but there will be no relief from the heat, forecasters said. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

Melting in Miami: 95-degree high hottest of the summer

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Gert became the second hurricane of the 2017 season at 11 p.m. with winds of 75 mph. It continues to be no threat to land. Florida forecasters, meanwhile, are watching two disturbances in the eastern Atlantic closely. (Credit: NHC)

It was Miami’s turn for the hottest day of the summer on Sunday, with a high of 95. The heat index was 102.

Miami’s high fell short of the hottest day of 2017, however, since a late-spring heat wave drove temperatures up to 98 in the city on May 28.

Sunday highs were a more moderate 91 in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and 90 in Naples. The state’s high was in Marianna, northwest of Tallahassee, where the temperature topped out at a torrid 97.

More heat is in store for the coming week, according to the National Weather Service in Miami, as forecasters pointed to the “Same ole synoptic pattern” in their Monday morning forecast discussion.

Moisture from a pair of tropical waves is expected to arrive in South Florida on Thursday and again over the weekend, but rain chances have only been bumped up slightly to around 40 percent.

Storm threats
Heavy rain could soak Central Florida thanks to a stronger West Coast sea breeze. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

Inland areas of Central Florida may get a soaking Monday and Tuesday as a stronger West Coast sea breeze drives storms toward the East Coast, according to NWS forecasters in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, meteorologists at the Weather Service, and the National Hurricane Center, are beginning to cast a wary eye on the eastern Atlantic and disturbance 91L, which was given a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm by the end of the week.

The European forecast model (ECMWF) continued to show this storm moving over or near the Greater Antilles toward the end of next week, so naturally Florida forecasters are on alert. While Tropical Storm Gert is on its way out sea, the next system in the queue — a potential Tropical Storm Harvey — could end up taking a more southerly track.

It’s interesting to note that on August 14, 1992 — exactly 25 years ago on Monday — a tropical wave rolled off the coast of Africa that grabbed the attention of forecasters at the NHC. It would eventually become Tropical Storm Andrew and then Hurricane Andrew, making landfall on August 24 south of Miami with winds of 165 mph.

Andrew waxed and waned as it crossed the Atlantic, and was battered by such high wind shear that at one point nearly all of its convection was stripped away and its central pressure rose to 1015 mb. It began strengthening on August 21.

Read the full NOAA report on Hurricane Andrew here. It’s a cautionary tale that warrants a fresh look a quarter-century later.

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Forecast tracks for Invest 91L. (Credit: SFWMD)

Hottest day of the year in West Palm; Tropical Storm Gert forms in Atlantic

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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.