Daytona Beach smashes rainfall record with 5.57 inches; interior lows in mid-60s by the weekend

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DROUGHT UPDATE: Extreme Drought (D3) spread into the Florida panhandle this week, while most of the rest of the panhandle, and North Florida, was in Severe (D2) or Moderate (D1) Drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday. Abnormally Dry conditions remain in most of the North Florida peninsula. Central and South Florida received significant rain this week, which should help keep drought conditions at bay for the next couple of weeks or so. (Image credit: US. Drought Monitor/ National Drought Mitigation Center)

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COOLING TREND UPDATE: Yes, we are getting to that time of the year when we sometimes get a meaningful cold front that actually delivers a breath or two of cool (OK, coo-ish) air. This weekend, after high pressure shoves this wet disturbance over the Florida peninsula to the south, a hint of autumn may make an appearance.

“Temperatures will also be enjoyable through the weekend, with low temperatures dropping into mid-60s across the northwestern interior and the mid-70s across the east coast metro areas,” the National Weather Service in Miami said. “Daytime temperatures will range from the mid 80s across the east coast to around 90 across the interior sections.”

At the end of next week, the GFS is suggesting that a stronger cold front could impact the state, with lows from the low-50s in the panhandle to the low-60s in interior areas of the peninsula.

RAINFALL REPORT: Parts of Florida’s East Coast were hammered with more than 5 inches of rain once again on Wednesday. Daytona Beach reported a record rainfall for the date of 5.57 inches, breaking the previous record of 1.73 inches set back in 1993.

Daytona Beach has had 9.02 inches from Monday through Wednesday.

Unofficial reports of 3 inches or more popped up on CoCoRaHS from East-Central Florida to South Florida, with the heaviest amounts limited to the barrier islands.

West Palm Beach reported 1.78 inches officially at Palm Beach International Airport, with more than 2 inches reported by CoCoRaHS observers elsewhere in Palm Beach County. The county was under a Flood Advisory on Wednesday night from Lantana to Palm Beach and west to Wellington and Loxahatcheee as heavy rain slowed to a crawl over the area.

On the Treasure Coast, Vero Beach, picked up another 0.44 inches on Wednesday, bringing the two-day total there to 1.55 inches.

MISSING OUT: Tallahassee has had just 0.03 of an inch of rain so far this month and is already looking at a rainfall deficit of 1.03 inches. Tallahassee had the driest September in its recorded history.

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TROPICS WATCH: Chances for tropical or subtropical development in the North Atlantic continue to diminish, according to the National Hurricane Center. One system was dropped from the map Thursday morning, and another — a disturbance due north of Bermuda — had a near zero chance of development. Another system meandering off the U.S. East Coast had a 20 percent chance of development, but NHC forecasters said conditions would become more unfavorable by the weekend.

Forecast models are still hinting at development in the southern Caribbean, but whatever might form seems destined to run into Central America before posing a threat to the Greater Antilles or the U.S.

RECORD WATCH: Miami tied a record high Wednesday with 91, matching the mark set in 2012.

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September was driest on record in Florida, new report says

September FL rainfall

(Image credit: NOAA/ NCEI)

HOW DRY WE WERE: Florida had its driest September on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported Tuesday. Normally, September is the wettest month of the year — along with June — in South and Central Florida. But dry air enveloped the state from the panhandle to the Keys, causing drought conditions to move into the panhandle and northern tier of counties.

By county, Palm Beach, Collier, Lee, and Hendry counties had their driest September on record, as did all of the counties in the western panhandle. No county in the state had an above average, or even an average, month for rainfall.

In the southeastern U.S., Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia also had their driest September on record.

September was also the third-hottest on record in Florida, a trend that continued into October in the northern parts of the state and the panhandle.

Broward and Indian River had their hottest September.

RAINFALL REPORT: Some decent rains have fallen across the peninsula in the last few days — which should be enough to prevent drought from spreading south from the northern tier of Florida counties. However, dry conditions with abnormally low rainfall is in the new 6-10 day forecast from the Climate Prediction Center.

Wednesday morning 24 hour CoCoRaHS totals: 3.33 inches near Deerfield Beach; 1-1.5 inches Miami-Dade; 2.44 inches northeast of Tampa in Hillsborough County; 3.12 inches west of Orlando; and 3.5 inches near Daytona Beach.

“A weak front, deep moisture and support aloft will produce a high coverage of rain with embedded storms today,” National Weather Service forecasters in Melbourne said. “Bands of heavy rain initially along the Volusia coast this morning will develop south and west during the day. Up to 3 inches of rain possible in a short time. Motorists, slow down in heavy rain to reduce the risk of hydroplaning.”

COOL-DOWN COMING? The weekend of the 18-20, the GFS shows lows edging down into the low 50s in the western panhandle, with upper 60s across the peninsula. It’s not exactly Currier and Ives weather, but we’ll take it.

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center is continuing to watch three systems in the Atlantic. None of them are a threat to Florida, and development chances have been decreasing. The GFS is still showing longer-range development in the southern Caribbean, but it shoves the systems to the west into Central America.

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.

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.

More record heat for North Florida; Karen forecast to fizzle

Jax record high

(Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)

Record breaking heat continued to bake North Florida on Wednesday. It was 98 in Tallahassee, easily busting an 88-year-old record of 94 set back in 1931. Jacksonville broke a record with 96, beating the old record of 94 set in 1961.

Apalachicola also set a new record with 94, beating the old record of 91 set in 1931.

Elsewhere in the Florida panhandle, the high was 99 degrees in Crestview and Marianna.

It wasn’t picnic weather down the coast into West-Central Florida, either. Tampa made it to 94 — the 22nd day this month with highs in the 90s.

Once again, if you were in a coastal community on the Atlantic side, it felt more like fall — the high was 83 in Jupiter, Palm Beach County, and 84 on the University of Miami campus.

RAINFALL REPORT: The entire tier of North Florida counties, and most of the panhandle, are now dealing with Moderate Drought conditions, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday. And a sliver of the panhandle in Holmes and Walton counties, are in Severe Drought.

Abnormally Dry conditions, the precursor to drought, stretched down into the Nature Coast on the west side of the peninsula over to around St. Augustine.

I was comparing some of the rainfall totals around the state through Wednesday with historical records. There are still five days to go in the month, but some areas of Florida could end up with the driest September in at least 30 years.

Fort Lauderdale, for example, has a September rainfall deficit of almost 6 inches.

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Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center were still predicting a westward turn for Karen, but it was expected to be a remnant low by Saturday. (Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: There were no potential disturbances being tracked by the National Hurricane Center Thursday — no colored “X’s” on the Tropical Weather Outlook map for a change.

Hurricane Lorenzo became a major hurricane with 125 mph winds, although it’s not expected to affect land. And Tropical Storm Karen was barely hanging on and expected to dissipate into a remnant low by Monday.

September has been hot and dry in Florida despite tropical systems

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The southeastern U.S., including all of Florida, is expected to be wetter than average during the first part of October. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

A major hurricane and a tropical storm were just 100 miles or so off Florida’s East Coast during the first half of September. Nevertheless, the Florida peninsula has remained hot and dry — a pattern that may continue through the rest of the month.

The first half of October may see wetter than normal conditions throughout the entire state and up the East Coast into the Mid-Atlantic.

But in the meantime here’s where some of the major Florida weather observation sites stand as we hit mid-month:

  • Miami was looking at a September rainfall deficit of 2.17 inches, and temperatures have been running 3.1 degrees above normal. Miami had a high of 96 on September 6, and five temperature records have been set or tied so far this month.
  • Fort Lauderdale has had just 1.21 inches of rain in September, a shortfall of 2.71 inches. Temps are running 1.3 degrees above average.
  • Naples has had 1.05 inches of rain this month, 2.41 inches below average. Temperatures have been a whopping 3.8 degrees above average, with a high temperature of 97 posted on September 10.
  • In East-Central Florida, even with the additional rain that Dorian provided as it was moving by off-shore, Orlando is showing a 1.15-inch deficit. Temps are 1.2 degrees above average, with a high of 95 on September 9.
  • Melbourne is 1.60 inches in the hole, and temperatures are an astonishing 4 degrees above average. It was 96 in Melbourne on September 6.
  • Vero Beach and Fort Pierce are a third- to three-quarters of an inch in the hole, with temps 2.6 degrees and 1.8 degrees over normal, respectively.
  • Tampa is deep in the precipitation hole at – 2.85 inches, with temps running plus-2.8 degrees. It was 96 in Tampa on September 10.
  • Sarasota stands out this month at plus 4.5 degrees and minus 3.25 inches. The high reached 96 on September 11 and 12.
  • Jacksonville is at minus 2.18 inches, plus 3.1 degrees, and Gainesville has a 1.41-inch shortfall; temps are at plus-2.4 degrees.

Of course, no one is complaining that we missed out on the torrential rain from Dorian, and August was much wetter than average around the Florida peninsula.

But we’ll be heading into the dry season in about four to five weeks, so the time for playing catch-up is running short.

TASTE OF FALL? Well, maybe more like a light appetizer. Once the tail end of Humberto is out of the way on Tuesday, much drier air is expected to stream into Central and South Florida, according to the National Weather Service.

“Less cloud cover and drier dew points reaching into the lower 70s will bring a bit of a change to the sensible weather for Tuesday afternoon,” forecasters in Miami said. “High temperatures will still reach into the 90s, but the humidity will be lower than it has been in the last few weeks.”

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On Sunday, the Florida peninsula was sandwiched between Tropical Storm Humberto to the east and a tropical wave in the Gulf of Mexico to the west. (Image credit: NOAA)

TROPICS WATCH: Tropical Storm Humberto was gaining strength north of the Bahamas on Sunday morning, and was forecast to earn an upgrade — to Hurricane Humberto — by Monday morning as it moves north and then northeast. It could threaten Bermuda late Wednesday or early Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center dropped two areas of interest from the Tropical Weather Outlook map on Saturday, and chances of development in the Gulf of Mexico were down to 10 percent for the system in the Central Gulf.

The disturbance in the Central Atlantic had a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Imelda, over the next five days. But forecast models show this system heading out to sea.

As we near the end of the month and get into October, attention usually shifts to the western Caribbean, with the eastern Atlantic wave train starting to shut down.

Rain still in Florida forecast; Gulf system fizzles

Expected precip

Forecast rainfall totals through Sunday. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

The skies over central Palm Beach County were full of sound and fury on Wednesday, pretty much signifying nothing. Palm Beach International Airport reported just a trace of rain, bringing the July deficit for West Palm Beach up to 3.62 inches.

Miami also reported a trace of rain, while Fort Lauderdale picked up 0.18 of an inch, not much to get excited about.

Rainfall totals through 7 a.m. Thursday were light all over South Florida, despite southwesterly winds pumping moisture up from the tropics. An observer in Lake Worth reported 0.54 of an inch to the National Weather Service in Miami.

Key West picked up an impressive 0.84 of an inch, but drivers in the Middle Keys barely saw enough to wet their windshields.

The heavy rainfall action was in West-Central Florida and in Northeast Florida, where observers for the citizens CoCoRaHS network reported as much as 4 inches.

An observer on the St. Johns River in Clay County found 4.24 inches in his backyard bucket, and there were numerous reports of more than 3 inches elsewhere in the county.

In Hernando County on the West Coast, a CoCoRaHS station picked up 2.95 inches, while in Pinellas County near Dunedin, an observer reported 3.78 inches.

Gainesville reported 1,3 inches through 7 a.m. Thursday and Sarasota reported 1.86 inches.

More rain was on the docket for Thursday before high pressure begins building in for the weekend and into early next week, the National Weather Service said.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal rainfall during the first week in August in South Florida; normal amounts in the rest of the state. We’ll have to see if that pans out, or if August picks up where July is likely to leave off.

In leiu of rain, South Florida was subjected to another round of intense heat. The high in both Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach was 95, the warmest temperatures posted in July. The heat index topped out at 106 in West Palm; 101 in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Pierce also hit 95, with a heat index of 102.

TROPICS WATCH: Chances of tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico were reduced to near zero on Thursday.  Forecasters said upper level winds would likely prevent development.