(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)
It’s mid-August, and nature’s broiler commonly known as the State of Florida is firmly locked in the “on” position.
Stuart reported a heat index Thursday of 107 degrees. To the north and west in Cross City, it was 106 and back on the East Coast, Titusville checked in with 105..
Even Fort Lauderdale, where you would expect easterly winds off the Atlantic would keep things a bit cooler, the heat index reached 104.
Similar readings could be found as you hopscotch across the peninsula: Naples, 105; Venice, 104; Sarasota, 101; Melbourne, 103; and Orlando, 102.
The “cool” spots were Miami (101) and West Palm Beach (100).
RAINFALL REPORT: Thursday’s heaviest rains were focused on the West side of the peninsula, with 2.33 inches falling in Polk County near Lakeland. Isolated amounts of around an inch-and-a-half were reported as far south as the Fort Myers area and north into Putnam County along the St. Johns River.
(Image credit: NHC)
TROPICS WATCH: Subtropical Storm Ernesto became Tropical Storm Ernesto late Thursday, but time was running out for the system as it headed toward cold waters of the North Atlantic. It was forecast to become post-tropical by Friday night, and slam into Ireland and the UK over the weekend.
Invest 99L east of the Lesser Antilles was running out of time as well — not because it was moving into cooler water, but because it was headed toward dry air in the eastern Caribbean. It isn’t known as “the graveyard” for Atlantic hurricanes for nothing.
At 8 p.m., the National Hurricane Center dropped 99L from its Tropical Weather Outlook map, saying conditions for development had become unfavorable.
While the GFS is suggesting that another storm could form in the Central Atlantic over the next week, hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach predicted below normal activity through the end of the month.
In an analysis released Thursday by Klotzbach and Colorado State University, he said: “We believe that the next two weeks will be characterized by activity at below normal levels (0–5 ACE).
“The National Hurricane Center has one area with a low probability of development over the next five days. None of the global models indicate significant tropical cyclone development in the next week. While vertical wind shear is predicted to be below-average in week one across most of the tropical Atlantic, vertical wind shear is predicted to strengthen across most of the basin in week two.
“The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is forecast to be relatively weak in week one, with some potential amplification in phases 4 and 5 in week two. These phases tend to be associated with near-average periods for Atlantic hurricane activity but coupled with the unfavorable seasonal conditions are likely to yield below-average activity.”
Based on climatology, the Atlantic is still ahead of schedule, since on average the fifth named storm doesn’t form until August 31. But the year has been notable for its weak, short-lived subtropical storms and it looks as though that pattern may continue into September.