Heavy rain possible in South Florida next week; Jeff Masters leaving Weather Underground

Expected rainfall totals SFL

Expected rainfall totals through Tuesday in South Florida. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

RAIN EVENT UPDATE: The National Weather Service has been talking over the past few days about an increase in precipitation across the peninsula the middle of next week. Forecasters say this event is coming into better focus, due to a trough coming down from the north and another coming up from the south.

“This trough will slowly move east across the Florida Peninsula middle of next week,” the NWS Miami office said Saturday. “At the same time, a low level trough over the Northwestern Caribbean Sea will move slowly northward into South Florida. The combination of these will bring in deeper tropical moisture to South Florida leading to scattered to numerous showers and some thunderstorms.”

Rain chances around South Florida jump from 50 percent Monday to 70 percent Tuesday and 80 percent on Wednesday.

“We will need to continue to monitor the latest forecast models on this developing trend of possible heavy rainfall over South Florida for early to middle of next week,” forecasters said.

Rain chances in Central Florida are at 30-40 percent during this period; but up to 60 percent in the Tampa area and 40-50 percent in North Florida.

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SUDDEN TRACK CHANGE: Jeff Masters, who co-founded Weather Underground in 1995 and developed a popular tropical weather blog — most recently called Category 6 — is leaving the IBM-owned company at the end of the month.

Weather Underground was sold to The Weather Channel in 2012, and to IBM in 2016.

“I am grateful to weather.com and IBM for making me feel welcome and allowing me to continue covering what I love, but I’ve never felt comfortable in a large corporate environment–I was more in my element back in the old days of WU,” he said in a Category 6 blog post Friday.

Masters will be writing for the Scientific American website with a new blog called “Eye of the Storm: the Science Behind Extreme Weather.”

“I will be averaging 50 posts per year—a lot less than the 150 – 200 posts per year I’ve been doing for Category 6.”

His co-blogger, Bob Henson, will continue writing for Category 6.

“The Scientific American website does not allow comments on their posts, so I plan on engaging with the WU community in the comments section of Category 6 to discuss my posts at Scientific American,” Masters said.

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Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR

Saturday’s Gulf of Mexico satellite showed the disturbance in the western Caribbean. (Image credit: NOAA)

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center predicts an area of low pressure will form over the next five days in the Atlantic between the Azores and Bermuda. They gave it a 40 percent chance of becoming the next tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Melissa, as it moves toward the west.

An area of disturbed weather in the northwestern Caribbean (left) was not on the NHC’s radar, but it’s been firing up some fairly vigorous convection over the last couple of days.

The GFS is showing a couple of systems toward the end of its 16-day run in the southern Caribbean, one of which rolls into Central America and another that comes off the Central America Central America coast late in the run, and moves into the Keys and South Florida as a tropical storm.

The forecast model has been flip-flopping back and forth on development in the Caribbean for at least the last week, but there doesn’t seem to be anything of concern in Florida’s neck of the woods over the next week to 10 days or so.

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All-time October heat record for Tallahassee; a zigzagging hurricane that hit the Keys

Hurricane Inez

HURRICANE HISTORY: Here’s a reminder that hurricanes can take some odd-ball tracks with twists and turns. Fifty-three years ago on Friday, Hurricane Inez plowed across the Florida Keys after a destructive romp through the Greater Antilles. Inez came up from the Caribbean and followed the southern coast of Cuba until it made a hard right turn to the north-northeast into the northwestern Bahamas. After that it stalled, then made another turn toward the west-southwest and walloped the Keys with gusts of up to 110 mph. At its peak, Inez was a strong Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

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RELENTLESS: The high in Tallahassee on Thursday reached a scorching 97 degrees — the warmest temperature ever recorded in the city in October.

What was the previous record high for October? That was set the day before on Wednesday, 96 degrees. The long-standing all-time October record of 95 — set in 1941 — was tied on October 1.

To the west just off I-10, Crestview reached 101 degrees.

Down the coast, Naples tied a record high Thursday with 94. That was set in 1990.

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7 day rainfall
The seven-day rainfall forecast shows heaviest precip in South Florida and the Keys. (Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)

WET WEEK? An approaching front resulting in southwest winds next week could bring heavy rain to South Florida, the National Weather Service says.

“A conditional risk for flooding could eventually materialize in the Monday night to Wednesday time frame across South Florida,” forecasters said in their Friday discussion in Miami.

In Central Florida, rain chances remain at around 20-30 percent through Tuesday before jumping to 50 percent on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tampa’s rain chances range from 50-60 percent all of next week.

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HERE’S A COOL ULTRA-LONG-RANGE FORECAST: It could turn out to be in weather fantasy-land, but the GFS is showing a cold front that means business sliding down the entire Florida peninsula around Friday, October 18, pushing temperatures into the high 40s in the western panhandle and below 60 as far south as Orlando.

Under this scenario, temperatures the next morning, on Saturday October 19 would dip into the low- to mid-60s in parts of South Florida, with highs topping out in the 70s around Lake Okeechobee.

Nothing to hang your hat on at this point, but a reminder that, yes, Virginia, autumn really does come to Florida — you just gotta have some patience. It looks a little different from northern climates but is nonetheless spectacular.

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NWS Melbourne anniversary

METEOROLOGICAL BLAST FROM THE PAST: The National Weather Service office in Melbourne is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its opening this month. Things started out small and quiet but have gotten busy! (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

More flooding for Keys; Severe Drought expands in North Florida

Key West flooding

RISING WATER IN KEY WEST: A Coastal Flood Advisory remained in effect for the Keys and for South Florida’s East Coast due to high tides. This photo was taken early Thursday morning. Additional photos were published on the National Weather Service’s Facebook page. (Image credit: William Churchill/ NWS-Key West)

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RAINFALL REPORT: Some decent rains have been falling in the Keys and up the East Coast to around Fort Lauderdale. Areas to the north and west have gotten zip. Conditions are still as dry as they were in September.

The words “potential for heavy rain” appeared in the National Weather Service forecast discussion from Miami on Thursday morning, but that would be late next week — if it happens at all. Forecasters said confidence in that occurring is low due to “increasing variability among model solutions.”

Meanwhile, Severe Drought conditions expanded this week in the northern tier of Florida counties, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported in its latest analysis released Thursday. Abnormally Dry conditions, the precursor to full-fledged drought, have been creeping down the peninsula from the north.

Parts of Georgia and Alabama are now experiencing Extreme Drought, the second most severe category.

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RECORD WATCH: Naples posted a record high temperature Wednesday with 94 degrees, breaking the old record of 92 set in 2002. Tampa tied a record high with 93.

Heat-weary Tallahassee broke another record high with 96, beating the old mark of 94 set in 1986.

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TROPICS WATCH: Now that Lorenzo is post-tropical, the only game in town Thursday was the disturbance in the Caribbean, which was given a 20 percent chance of development by forecasters at the National Hurricane Center as it moves west over the Yucatan Peninsula toward the Bay of Campeche.

Forecast models show nothing of note developing over the next seven to 10 days.

Triple digit highs fry Florida panhandle; record warm lows on East Coast

Key West flooding

High tides are causing street flooding in Key West. A Coastal Flood Advisory was posted for the Florida Keys and the East Coast of South Florida, from West Palm Beach to Miami. (Image credit: William Churchill/ NWS-Key West)

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The Florida panhandle and North Florida can’t seem to get a break from the summer heat. While the East-Central Coast has been enjoying breezy weather and more or less average temperatures, you’d think it was the Fourth of July in the panhandle.

People are grumbling about it on Facebook because well, this is October and enough is enough.

“Please make it stop!” one area resident wrote on the NWS-Tallahassee’s Facebook page. “Heat delirium has set in,” another said.

The high hit 100 degrees in Crestview on Tuesday — that’s air temperature, not the heat index. It was 97 in Marianna, 95 in Tallahassee, and 96 in Pensacola.

Farther down the peninsula, it was mostly in the low 90s on the West Coast.

The forecast for Tallahassee is for a temperature increase — Friday’s forecast high is 97.

Tallahassee had its first measurable rainfall on Tuesday since August 27. But it was no occasion to celebrate, since just 0.01 of an inch fell, about enough to smear the dust on your windshield.

The much-advertised cold front sweeping across the South is forecast to bring some relief in the early to middle part of next week. Until then, the National Weather Service says: “Daily high temperature records will be in jeopardy each day through Saturday across portions of the region as highs will rise into the mid to upper 90s.”

All-time records for the month of October may also fall.

The GFS temperature forecast shows some low- to mid-60s for overnight lows around the middle of next week, with lows dipping into the high 50s the week after.

Some Florida East Coast cities have been setting record warm lows, meanwhile. Tuesday’s low in Daytona Beach was a balmy 79, which busted an 86-year-old record of 78, set in 1933.

Vero Beach tied a record warm low with 79, last set in 2002.

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TROPICS WATCH: Hurricane Lorenzo didn’t make a direct hit on the Azores, but it brought wind gusts of up to 90 mph to western islands in the chain. It caused downed trees and power outages, but no injuries were reported by European news agencies.

Ireland is likely to be next to feel the effects of Lorenzo, which at its peak was a Category 5 storm. It was forecast to become post-tropical by Thursday, but it will still be packing hurricane-force winds through Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters were continuing to track a disturbance in the Caribbean, giving it a 20 percent chance of tropical development over the next five days as it moves west-northwest. The next name on the list is Melissa.

September story: side-stepping storms, searing heat, and bone-dry weather

Tampa area driest

(Image credits, above and below: NWS-TampaBay)

Tampa records

Wasn’t that an interesting month? After staring down the barrel of one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded on the planet, Florida ended up with a wildly hot and dry September.

Eight tropical cyclones spun up in the Atlantic Basin during September, but Florida managed to dodge them all, and the only significant rains from Hurricane Dorian fell right at the coast.

As Dorian moved out of the way — followed later by Hurricane Jerry — the peninsula settled into a dry air flow that clamped down on precipitation from North Florida to the Keys.

Toward the end of the month, high pressure settled over the panhandle and brought record high temps that are forecast to continue well into October.

Tallahassee highs

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

September was record dry in Tallahassee with only a trace of rain all month, and the precipitation deficit topped 7 inches in Fort Lauderdale.

Sarasota had its hottest September on record while Tampa had its second-hottest behind 2018. And yes, it is in fact disturbing that many areas are beating, or falling just short of, records set just last year.

For example, Plant City had its second hottest September with an average temperature of 83.8 degrees — 80.3 is normal. But last September, Plant City turned in a final average temp of 84.9.

Incredibly dry conditions were recorded all over the peninsula. Chiefland, Punta Gorda, St. Petersburg and Venice all had their driest September ever, with Chiefland checking in with just 0.43 of an inch all month.

Tampa managed to squeeze out 1.46 inches, the sixth driest since record keeping began there in 1890.

Weather patterns appeared to be changing as October began, but the more interesting shifts may be coming next week, when a cold front moves into the state from the north, and deep tropical moisture streams up from the south.

“The end of the forecast period is very uncertain and will need to be monitored as the week progresses,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Tuesday.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Miami Monday was 80 degrees, which tied a record warm minimum for the date, set in 1989. Fort Lauderdale tied a record warm low with 79, matching the mark set in 2015.

two_atl_5d0

(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center began watching two disturbances on Monday night, one in the western Caribbean and one just north of Hispaniola. They were each given a 10 percent chance of development.

The Caribbean system is apparently headed for the Gulf of Mexico, but it could play into Florida’s weather during the coming week, and possibly beyond, according to forecasters, by pumping tropical moisture into the peninsula.

September rainfall records likely to fall as deficits mount

September Tallahassee

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

October begins on Tuesday, and September weather data will begin trickling in. And what a month it’s been — dry as dust from the panhandle to the Keys.

The final figures are likely to come in historically dry. It’s no coincidence that Severe to Moderate Drought, and Abnormally Dry conditions, have been edging south from North Florida down into the peninsula.

August was pretty wet for much of the Florida peninsula, so Central and South areas are all right for now.

A wetter period is coming up, according to forecasters, but the dry season is right around the corner.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee announced over the weekend that September will most likely be the driest on record, with only a trace of rain falling all month. A trace — a sprinkling that can’t be measured — fell on September 1 and September 27. That’s it.

The result is a rainfall deficit of 4.56 inches through Sunday. Apalachicola had just 0.02 of an inch in September, for a deficit of 6.52 inches.

It has also been the second-hottest September on record in Tallahassee (Records date back to 1896). The high reached 101 — that’s air temperature, not the heat index — on September 18.

The dry weather hasn’t just been in the panhandle, either. In South Florida, Fort Lauderdale tops the rainfall deficit parade with minus-7.01 inches through Sunday.

Here are some of the other shortfalls around the state:

Miami, minus-6.30; West Palm Beach, minus-6.74; and Naples, minus-6.37;

Orlando, mins-3.99 inches as of Sunday; Melbourne, minus-5.30; and Vero Beach, minus-4.12;

Tampa, minus-4.70; Sarasota, minus-4.97; and Fort Myers, minus-5.25;

Jacksonville, minus-5.60.

Lorenzo tops out as Category 5 in Atlantic — second of the 2019 season

Hurricane Lorenzo

MONSTER IN THE MID-ATLANTIC: Hurricane Lorenzo (upper right) became the season’s second Category 5 hurricane Saturday night with winds of 160 mph. It had weakened slightly to 155 mph on Sunday morning. It was forecast to swipe the Azores on Tuesday night and Wednesday. (Image credit: NOAA)

DORIAN FLORIDA IMPACT UPDATE: The Kennedy Space Center had a wind gust of 74 mph from Hurricane Dorian — which was hurricane-force — at 2 a.m. on September 4, according to new reports from the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

At official observation sites in East-Central Florida, Vero Beach Regional Airport reported the highest gust at 47 mph; Melbourne reported a gust of 44 mph.

Topping the rainfall charts, an observer west of Daytona Beach — near Barberville on State Road 17 — reported 4.90 inches.

The reports were updated by the National Weather Service in Melbourne on Wednesday.

DRIED OUT: Through Saturday, Fort Lauderdale had a September rainfall deficit of 6.78 inches. Just 1.3 inches have fallen all month.

But the pattern over the Florida peninsula is about to change, the National Weather Service says. Rain chances jump to around 50 percent in some areas by mid-week as more moisture — including the remnants of dissipated Tropical Storm Karen — arrive from the east, according to forecasters.

RECORD WATCH: Melbourne reported a record warm low on Saturday of 80 degrees. That beat the old record of 79, set way back in 1941

West Palm Beach tied a record warm low with 80, matching the mark set in 1999. And Key West tied a record warm minimum with 83, matching the record for September 28 — set just one year ago.