Rainy weekend for North Florida, but South expected to dry out


UPDATE: Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center began tracking the low pressure system in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Friday night, giving it a 10 percent chance of tropical development over the next two days and a 20 percent chance over the next five days.  (Image credit: NHC)


North Florida rainfall

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

ORIGINAL POST: There’s good news and bad news as the weekend begins. The bad news is many western counties and areas of southeastern Florida were still under a Flood Watch on Friday. Showers and thunderstorms were moving on to the Nature Coast north of Tampa Friday morning — soaking areas that are already saturated from a week worth of heavy rainfall.

The ground is so saturated on the western Florida peninsula — and the southeast coast, too — it doesn’t take much rain to produce ponding and flooded roadways.

On top of that, North Florida and the panhandle are looking at a very wet weekend, due to a frontal boundary that’s streaming copious amounts of moisture  into the area from the Gulf of Mexico. The National Weather Service in Tallahassee is calling for 5-7 inches of rain around Cross City.

The good news is that many parts of the peninsula to the south will see drier weather on Saturday. Precipitation chances fall to 20 percent on the southeast coast, according to the National Weather Service. They’ll remain around 40 percent in the Tampa and Orlando areas, but that’s down from the 80 percent they had late in the week. 



July temperature anomalies have been rising fast since the 1950s. (Image credit: NOAA)

GLOBAL MELTDOWN: No, we’re not talking about global financial markets here. July was the warmest month in recorded history worldwide, NOAA said Thursday.

July temperatures on land and sea were 1.71 degrees above the 20th century average, beating the previous warmest July, in 2016, by 0.05 of a degree.

Global temperature records began in 1880.

The U.S., however, had some cool spots and the July temperature for the contiguous 48 states was 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the 27th warmest on record. Oklahoma and Arkansas had below normal temperatures, most of the U.S. West had close to normal temps, while the East Coast, including Florida, was above normal.

Florida had its seventh-warmest July on record, while Connecticut and Rhode Island had their second-warmest July.

Alaska had its warmest July since record keeping began there in 1925. Africa also had its warmest July. And the sea ice extent in the Arctic was the smallest since satellite records began in 1979.


Flooding swamps roads in Keys, Miami Beach: ‘Avoid driving through salt water’

SFL rainfall

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

The Keys and Miami Beach were hit hard with street flooding Friday as a result of high tides. Miami Beach uses pumps to keep the flooding at a minimum, but several main roads were covered with water as well as some side streets, WPLG Channel 10 reported.

The high tides are being aggravated by heavy rain in some areas.

Photos of flooded streets were submitted to the National Weather Service in Key West by residents of Cudjoe Key, and they were published on Facebook. “Spring tides” peaked at 3.19 feet above normal in Key West, according to the National Weather Service. “Avoid driving through salt water!” forecasters said Saturday.

Keys rainfall

In a splash of irony, almost 5 inches of rain was reported in the Dry Tortugas on Friday. Key Largo reported 1.31 inches. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

All of Central Florida, South Florida and the Keys were dealing with occasional bouts of heavy rain both Thursday and Friday, and that’s forecast to continue through Sunday.

Highest 24-hour rainfall totals through 7 p.m. Friday (National Weather Service): Fort Pierce, 2.63; Orlando Executive Airport, 2.38 inches; Vero Beach, 1.84 inches; Key Largo, 1.31 inches; Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, 1.11 inches; Pembroke Pines, 1.07 inches; Sanford, 0.96; Daytona Beach, 0.95; and Winter Haven, 0.87.

Central Florida is expecting locally heavy rainfall Saturday and Sunday with 2-3 inches falling in some areas, causing additional street flooding in areas with poor drainage.


TROPICS WATCH: The disturbance designated 96L was given just a 30 percent chance of development by the National Hurricane Center Saturday — down from a high of 70 percent earlier in the week.

The system actually looked healthier on satellite than it has looked over the last couple of days. In any case, most forecast models show the low curving out to sea well east of the U.S. coast.

Florida braces for heavy rain, coastal flooding


PM UPDATE: More than 5 inches of rain is possible in parts of South Florida over the next several days as a tropical system coming in from the southeastern Bahamas — previously tracked as Invest 95L by the National Hurricane Center — moves toward the Florida peninsula Thursday and Friday.  NHC forecasters were still giving a 10 percent chance of tropical development over the next five days if it can stay off the Florida coast. Either way, heavy rain is in the forecast for the Florida peninsula.

On top of that, the tropical wave in the Mid-Atlantic that has been tracked by the NHC, now designated 96L, was given a 70 percent chance of development by Monday.

Forecast models have been sending this system out to sea near the Bahamas, but the Wednesday night run of the legacy version of NOAA’s GFS — replaced in June by the latest upgrade — brings it near Florida’s East Coast.

The National Weather Service in Miami said late Wednesday: “Early Next Week: The mid and upper level trough remains situated over the eastern sea board of the United States with an extension into Florida expected. This will allow the wet pattern to continue which will require continued monitoring and attention.

“However, eyes are also on the tropics as the next area highlighted in NHC`s Tropical Weather Outlook may push westward from the Antilles. Obviously uncertainty is high this far out in the period, but this pattern will need to be monitored to see if the blocking trough remains over the region as any potential tropical features approach.

“This should serve as a clear reminder that August is here, knocking on our collective doors, and that the climatological peak of hurricane season approaches. This is an excellent time to ensure that hurricane action plans including supplies, preparations for family members/friends/pets/businesses, and important documents are reviewed and ready in case action becomes necessary.”


(Image credits: Top, NHC; bottom: Early forecast models for Invest 96L via SFWMD)


Street flooding

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

ORIGINAL POST: The rugged land masses of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, and high wind shear, took their toll on Invest 95L early this week as it limps toward the Bahamas. Nevertheless, the National Weather Service in Miami sent out a special weekend weather outlook to the media on Wednesday, warning of possible heavy rain and flooding from the system.

“Minor coastal flooding is also possible given a new moon and tide levels averaging a bit above predictions.” forecasters said. Tide levels are averaging .8 to .9 above normal, with a new moon on Friday, they said.

The forecast is for 2-3 inches with locally higher amounts starting on Friday and going into the weekend. East-Central Florida is expecting around an inch.

Jacksonville is looking for increased “nuisance flooding” due to the new moon, and possibly heavy rainfall over the weekend leading to minor flooding. Ditto for Florida’ West Coast, since the passage of 95L to the east should draw up moisture from the deep tropics and spread it over the entire peninsula.

Weather watchers are turning their attention to the tropical wave that’s about to enter the Mid-Atlantic. It hadn’t been designated 96L as of early Wednesday but that seemed to be just a matter of time, since forecasters at the National Hurricane Center bumped up development chances of the wave to 50 percent by Monday.

Forecast models generally show this storm heading out to sea east of the Florida peninsula, but it’s too soon to let your guard down, since arrival of the system in the vicinity of the U.S. Coast is still more than seven days away. This will likely be the topic of discussion for tropical weather buffs over the next few days since it’s our first real Cape Verde system, a long-tracking storm that has the potential to jump-start the meat-and-potatoes of the hurricane season.


ALARM BELLS IN THE ARCTIC: Glaciers from Alaska to Antarctica are melting up to 100 times faster than previously thought, according to a new article in Scientific American.

A team of glaciologists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. are using technology that fishermen use to track their catches — a multibeam sonar instrument, which maps the topography of the glacier’s face from a distance.

They found they could determine the which parts of the glacier were melting by analyzing the shape of it over time. “When they combined that information with GPS data that tracked the glacier’s movement, they could chart the rate of meltwater flow,” the magazine says.

At the peak of the melting season in August, melting rates are higher below the water line where the glacier enters the ocean from land. That causes more ice to break off, which sort of unlocks the land-based ice and gives it a path to the water. “The glacier starts speeding up because it’s like removing a plug in front of the glacier,” says glaciologist Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The article contains some dramatic time-lapse photos of water gushing from glaciers and the land-based ice flowing toward the sea.

It’s a timely look at glacier melt since, as July ended and August was beginning, record-setting high pressure was moving over Greenland, poised to jack up temperatures and speed up ice melt. Whatever comes off Alaska — and Greenland — contribute directly to sea level rise.

Forecasters predict possible development for Caribbean wave as it nears Florida


UPDATE: The vigorous low pressure system that just entered the Caribbean near the Windward Islands is being watched for possible development at the end of the week as it nears Florida.

“This disturbance is expected to move west-northwestward to northwestward across the north-central Caribbean Sea during the next few days, producing locally heavy rainfall  and possibly some flooding across Puerto Rico and Hispaniola,” NHC forecasters said at 2 p.m.. “Little development of the disturbance is expected due to interaction with land. However, the system is forecast to emerge over the Straits of Florida by the end of the week where environmental  conditions could be a little more conducive for development to occur.”

They gave the system, designated 95L, a 10 percent chance of development over the next two days, and 20 percent over five days.

This system is showing up in runs of the legacy GFS, but not the operational model launched in June. It keeps it off the Florida coast.

The European model (ECMWF) doesn’t develop it until it gets further north toward the coast of the Carolinas. The Canadian model (CMC) has a broad area of low pressure at the southwest coast of Florida on Saturday, which then crosses the state, enters the Atlantic and develops near the Carolinas. The German ICON model has a weak system spinning up off Florida’s southeast coast and then heading north.

Here’s what it looked like on satellite mid-afternoon Sunday:

Full Disk - Clean Longwave Window - IR

(Image credit: NOAA)




Below normal rainfall is in the forecast for much of Florida during the second week of August, according to the long-range precipitation outlook by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released Saturday. South Florida may see closer to normal precip. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

ORIGINAL POST: West Palm Beach was hammered with 1.33 inches late Saturday, the largest 24-hour total since March 19, when 1.70 inches fell. It cut the July rainfall deficit to 2.14 inches.

In Broward County, North Perry Airport west of Hollywood reported 1.46 inches Saturday — on top of the 2.70 that fell on Friday. The airport’s weather station, in Pembroke Pines, has notched four major rain events this month with rainfall totals over an inch, for a total of 10.14 inches in July.

In East-Central Florida, where forecasters had been warning of another wet start to the weekend, the only site that picked up any appreciable precip was Fort Pierce, which reported 0.09 of an inch.

For a change, the West Coast was mostly dry.


TROPICS WATCH: The operational GFS shows no tropical development through August 13, but Sunday runs of the legacy GFS — remember that NOAA’s new model was unveiled in June, but the old GFS would continue to run into September — has a low spinning up in the Bahamas and ramping up to tropical storm strength over the weekend as it turns north, well off the coast of Florida.

The European (ECMWF) shows something similar, but does not develop the system until it is farther north, off the coast of the Carolinas. The German ICON model hints at a similar scenario.

Officially, the National Hurricane Center is predicting no tropical development through at least Friday.


MAJOR MELT-DOWN: The heat wave that sent temperatures in Europe soaring over 100 degrees — Paris recorded an unprecedented temp of 108.7 — is poised to settle over Greenland during the upcoming week. Meteorologists and other scientists are worried that it could melt billions of tons of ice.

Unlike ice melt over the Arctic Ocean, melting glaciers in Greenland contribute directly to sea rise.

Already this summer, 170 billion tons of ice were lost in July, and another 72 billion tons were lost in June, according to the website Live Science.

The intensity of the ice melt in Greenland has been accelerating since the 1970s, experts say. An average of 50 billion tons were lost each year in the 1970s and 1980s, while an average of 290 billion tons were lost per year from 2010 to 2018.

In 2012, 97 percent of the ice sheet’s surface thawed, and scientists say this year could surpass that record.

Sticker shock on tab to protect Florida cities from sea level rise

The cost of protecting U.S. cities vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise will jump to $42 billion by 2040, The New York Times said in an article published Wednesday.

That’s for all cities with populations greater than 25,000 — expanding the list to smaller cities would hike the cost to $400 billion, the newspaper said, citing studies by the Center for Climate Integrity.

Climate change will cost Florida more than any other state, the Tampa Bay Times said in a followup article. “It’s not even close.”

Richard Wiles, the organization’s executive director, told The New York Times: “Once you get into it, you realize we’re just not going to protect a lot of these places. This is the next wave of climate denial — denying the costs that we’re all facing.”

The Center for Climate Integrity wants oil and gas companies to help pay for the cost of adapting cities to sea level rise.

The most expensive city to protect will be Jacksonville, Florida, according to the group, at $3.5 billion. Also in the top 10 are Tampa, at number six: $938.4 million; and St. Petersburg, at number nine: $751.4 million.

New York City comes in at number two and — somewhat surprisingly — New Orleans is down at number 10.


Keys heat index

Saturday heat index.png

CFL heat index

(Image credits: NWS-Key West, top; NWS-Miami, middle; NWS-Melbourne, bottom)

TRIPLE DIGIT REDUX: There was no escaping the heat around the Florida peninsula on Friday.

Maximum heat index readings in South Florida: Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, and Homstead Air Reserve Base, 107; Naples, 106; Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, 105;

Keys: Marathon, 106; Boca Chica Naval Air Station, 103; and Key West, 100.

East-Central Florida: Daytona Beach, 108; Melbourne and Titusville, 106; Vero Beach and Kissimmee, 103; and Orlando, 102.

West Coast: Fort Myers-Southwest Florida International Airport, 104; Brooksville, 103; Sarasota and Winter Haven, 102; Tampa, 101.

North Florida: Cross City, 108; Ocala, 106; and Gainesville, 103. The actual high in Jacksonville — not the heat index — was 97, with a dew point of 79. The dew point was a record for the date.

Another heat advisory was issued by the National Weather Service for inland Collier County and Mainland Monroe County for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

After more heat Saturday and Sunday, temperatures should begin to moderate on Monday, thanks to more cloud cover and easterly winds, forecasters said.

Global temperature rise increases risk of armed conflict, study says

SFL high end rain

High-end projected rainfall totals for South Florida through Thursday. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

Almost 3 inches of rain socked the Upper Keys on Sunday, while coastal Miami-Dade County picked up more than 2 inches. Officially, Miami International Airport measured 2.43 inches.

In Central Florida, Orlando reported 1.79 inches, and west-central Florida — particularly northern Pinellas County — checked in with around 2 inches.

Rainfall totals dwindled as you went south in the Keys, with Marathon posting 0.47 of an inch and Key West checking in with just a trace of rain. Key West has a 1.82-inch precipitation shortfall in June through Sunday.

Up to 2 more inches of rain is expected in parts of South Florida — up to 3 inches in East-Central Florida.

Speaking of heavy rain, a new study by Georgia State University concludes that heavy early season rainfall increases the risk of mosquito-related disease such as West Nile Virus, dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

The study focuses on early season hurricanes, but we know in Florida you don’t necessarily need a tropical storm or hurricane to precipitate a long stretch of heavy rain.

Researchers said that heavy rain occurring on July 1 results in 70 percent fewer mosquito-related disease cases compared to an event that occurs on June 1.


WHEN HOT-HEADS PREVAIL: A more disturbing study from Stanford University claims the risk of armed conflict rises “dramatically” during periods of climate warming. Climate has influenced up to 20 percent of armed conflicts over the last century, researchers said.

A Stanford news release explains: “In a scenario with 4 degrees Celsius of warming (approximately the path we’re on if societies do not substantially reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases), the influence of climate on conflicts would increase more than five times, leaping to a 26 percent chance of a substantial increase in conflict risk.

“Even in a scenario of 2 degrees Celsius of warming beyond preindustrial levels – the stated goal of the Paris Climate Agreement­ – the influence of climate on conflicts would more than double, rising to a 13 percent chance.”


Full Disk - Clean Longwave Window - IR

IMPRESSIVE ‘WAVE TRAIN’ FOR MID-JUNE: Some of the tropical waves crossing the Atlantic this month have looked pretty healthy, as Monday’s satellite image shows. Luckily, wind shear to the north and in the Caribbean should zap any chances of development. The National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Weather Outlook map predicts no storms in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific through at least Friday. (Image credit: NOAA)

Torrid Florida temps in upper 90s melt records

North Florida and the panhandle baked in near-100-degree temps Saturday, the kickoff of a heat wave that was forecast to continue into at least Tuesday. Gainesville, Tallahassee, Marianna, Crestview and Panama City all reached 99 degrees.

The 99 degree temperature was a new record high for Gainesville, beating the old record for May 25 of 98 set in 2011.

North Florida locations remained just under the century mark on Saturday, but in southeast Georgia, it hit 102 in Jesup.

Areas to the south felt the slightly cooling effects of the Atlantic as brisk easterly winds swept over the peninsula, but it was still hot — Sarasota set a record high with 96, busting the old record of 94 set in 2016.


Global temps April

(Image credit: NOAA/ NCEI)

GOING UP? April was the second warmest in the 140-year history of world temperature record keeping, coming in second behind April 2016, the National Centers for Environmental Information reported. The period from January-April was the third-warmest on record.

Record warm temperatures were posted in Greenland, Scandinavia, Central Africa, Asia and in the Atlantic Ocean, NCEI, an arm of NOAA, said.

“No land or ocean areas had record-cold April temperatures,” the agency said.

Worldwide sea surface temperatures averaged 1.3 degrees F above the 20th century average, tying it with April 2017 for the second-warmest on the books. “The five warmest April global ocean temperatures have all occurred since 2015,” the agency said.

Arctic sea ice was 8.4 percent below the 1981-2010 average, making it the smallest area covered since satellite records began in 1979. Sea ice coverage in the Antarctic was 16.6 percent below the 1981-2010 average, making it the third-smallest coverage on record.


(Image credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)

What do sea Atlantic sea surface temperatures look like as we near the start of hurricane season? The Main Development Region of the tropical Atlantic is above normal, and water temps are above average through the Bahamas and surrounding the Florida peninsula.

However, much of the Caribbean is below normal, as are parts of the northern Gulf of Mexico, according to NOAA’s Office of Satellite and Product Operations.