FRIDAY UPDATE: The National Weather Service in Tallahassee confirmed that three tornadoes tore through Madison County in North Florida on Tuesday, uprooting trees, snapping off a utility poll and causing roof and window damage to a business. The longest duration tornado was on the ground for almost 12 miles and for a duration of 10 minutes. Earlier, an EF-0 tornado touched down in Walton County, east of Pensacola. In all, four tornadoes were reported in Florida.
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season turned out to be a doozy after a slow start. There were 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, including Dorian, which devastated the Bahamas and swiped Florida’s East Coast with its outer bands. (Image credit: NOAA via Wikimedia Commons)
ORIGINAL POST: As if we don’t have enough to worry about as we head into a very uncertain spring and summer: The first 2020 hurricane season forecast was issued today, calling for another busy year.
Colorado State University is calling for 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four majors, Category 3 or stronger. Probabilities for a U.S. landfall are also above average, according to the team of CSU researchers — Philip Klotzbach, Michael Bell, Jhordanne Jones.
“Current warm neutral ENSO conditions appear likely to transition to cool neutral ENSO or potentially even weak La Niña conditions by this summer/fall,” they said in the analysis.
“Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are somewhat above normal. Our Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation index is below its long-term average; however, most of the tropical Atlantic is warmer than normal. We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.”
Floridians like to practice social distancing with hurricanes, keeping them at least 600 miles away, but we’ve had several close calls over the past several years with Dorian in 2019 and Matthew in 2016, along with a direct hit from Hurricane Irma in 2017.
We could see more nail-biters this year, the report suggests.
The CSU forecast kicks off the pre-season analyses, with more forecasts to come this month from the United Kingdom’s Tropical Storm Risk, AccuWeather and The Weather Channel. NOAA’s forecast is released at the end of the May, right before hurricane season starts on June 1.
The next CSU updated hurricane season forecast will be issued on Thursday, June 4.
DRY EVERYWHERE: Most of Florida is now under Moderate Drought. (Image credit: U.S. Drought Monitor)
DROUGHT TAKES HOLD: Nearly the entire State of Florida is now dealing with Moderate Drought, with a few pockets of Abnormally Dry conditions, a new analysis by the U.S. Drought Monitor revealed this morning.
Moderate Drought stretches from around the Nature Coast on the Gulf of Mexico northeast to around St. Augustine on the Atlantic side. That includes all of South Florida with the exception of southeastern Palm Beach, eastern Broward and northeastern Miami-Dade, areas that have been designated Abnormally Dry.
Moderate Drought and a pocket of Severe Drought affect the central panhandle south of Tallahassee, and Escambia County in the far western panhandle is also under Moderate Drought.
“In Florida, a number of observing stations around the state recorded their driest March on record including Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (0.00”), St. Petersburg Albert Whitted Airport (0.00”), and Vero Beach International Airport (0.02”),” said David Simeral of the Western Regional Climate Center.
“According to the March 30 USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report, pasture conditions in Florida were steadily deteriorating around the state because of the abnormally warm temperatures and decreasing soil moisture levels.”
More dry weather is in the forecast for the next 10 days or so; below normal precipitation is called for over most of the Florida peninsula through at least April 11.
It was the third driest March in Marathon, the National Weather Service reported today. The threat of wildfires around the state has increased due to unusually dry air following Wednesday’s cold front, forecasters said. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)