How much rain will Florida get with this weekend’s cold front?

nfl storms

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

Will the Florida peninsula finally get some rain on Sunday? It appears so, but don’t look for any drought-busting totals.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is calling for some hefty totals in the panhandle and in North Florida — as has been the case over the last month — with dwindling amounts as you move south toward Miami and the Keys.

Tallahassee, which will get the system on Saturday, is looking for around a quarter of an inch with some strong storms to boot, according to the National Weather Service office there. The WPC is a little more generous, predicting up to an inch in parts of the central panhandle through Monday, up to a half-inch in North Florida and a tenth to a quarter-inch in Central Florida.

3 day rainfall

(Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)

Folks in South Florida will be lucky to get their windshields wet, according to the WPC three-day forecast.

The National Weather Service in Miami, however, says there’s a 10 percent chance that South Florida could get a half-inch of rain, or more, through Sunday night. More likely, though, forecasters said the southeast coast will get less than a tenth of an inch, with up to a quarter of an inch falling northwest of Lake Okeechobee.

Temperature-wise, the cold weather after the front rolls through will only last a day, forecasters said, since high pressure behind the front will slide quickly into the Atlantic and winds by Tuesday will be off the warm water.

There’s another chance for rain toward the end of next week, forecasters said, in association with yet another cold front.

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heat hazards

RISKY WEATHER: All the weather news this time of the year is about cold fronts. But the National Weather Service ended its Severe Weather Awareness Week with a post about excessive heat hazards. The week kicked off Monday with information on lightning threats; Tuesday covered marine hazards; Wednesday looked at tornadoes and thunderstorms; and Thursday discussed hurricane threats. Friday’s posts also call attention to extreme cold and wildfires. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

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Jacksonville smashes 129-year-old high temperature record

WCFL highs

More near-record highs are forecast highs for Thursday in West-Central Florida. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

It was another Wow! day up and down the Florida peninsula Tuesday. Like the song says, it was Hot Hot Hot!

Jacksonville hit 87 degrees, smashing a 129-year-old record high of 86 set back in 1889 — the year Coca-Cola was incorporated and the Wall Street Journal published its first issue.

It was also the hottest temperature ever recorded this late in the year. Temperature records in Jacksonville date back to 1871.

Down the coast, Melbourne set a record high with 89, easily busting the old record of 87 set 80 years ago in 1938.

It was 87 in Vero Beach, breaking the previous record of 86 set in 2015.

Here’s the complete run-down:

  • Gainesville tied a record high with 87 — matching a mark set in 1946.
  • Daytona Beach set a record high with 87, beating the old mark of 85 set in 2008.
  • Sanford set a record warm minimum temperature with 71, busting the old mark of 69 set in 2008.
  • The low in Key West was 78, matching a record warm low last set in 2008. This is already the eighth warm temperature record set or tied in Key West this month.
  • Record warm lows were set or tied in Tampa (75); St. Petersburg (74); and Lakeland (71).
  • And: The high temperature in Immokalee, inland Collier County, was 91.

The strong cold front due to sweep down the peninsula Thursday will drop temperatures like the proverbial rock. On Friday morning, we should be looking at mid-30s in the panhandle; upper 30s North Florida; upper 40s and low 50s Central Florida; low 60s along the southeast coast; and low 70s in the Keys.

Enjoy it while you can, the National Weather Service in Miami says. “As the second half of the weekend and the early portion of next week approaches, a warmer air mass will return to South Florida along with increasing low level moisture as well.”

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TROPICS WATCH: National Hurricane Center forecasters dropped development chances for Invest 96L to just 10 percent. They said the system should turn toward the northwest as it nears the Bahamas. (Image credit: NHC)

Hurricane Center watching area near Antilles; Melbourne, Fort Myers notch record highs

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(Image credit: NHC)

Here’s something interesting as we move into the middle of November: A possible tropical cyclone developing around Puerto Rico or Hispaniola.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami identified the area Saturday and gave it a 40 percent chance of development into a tropical or subtropical depression — or Tropical or Subtropical Storm Patty — by Thursday.

The FV3-GFS does form this system and pulls it north and east of the southern Bahamas toward the end of next week. The Canadian (CMC) also spins something up but takes it due north from Puerto Rico. Development is also favored by the Navy’s NAVGEM, which has a low moving toward the Central Bahamas next Friday. The Operational GFS model has something weak struggling to develop, but the European (ECMWF) does not seem to be on board.

If we would make it to Patty, that would put us just one named storm short of last year’s torrid season, although this year was no match for 2017 — unless you live in the Florida panhandle.

November cyclone tracks
(Image credits: NOAA/ NHC)

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The typical November track, according to the NHC, has storms forming in the Central Caribbean and then moving north over eastern Cuba, through the Bahamas and then out to sea. That would make this one a little different, although you can see from the Points of Origin map for November 11-20 that they have formed north of the Lesser and Greater Antilles as well.

On average, based on data from 1966 to 2009, the last-named storm forms on November 23.

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TEMP TALK: Next week’s much-advertised cold front will drop temperatures nicely across most of the Florida peninsula as it sweeps through Tuesday night and Wednesday, but it’s looking more likely that the front will stall somewhere over South Florida, upping rain chances from Lake Okeechobee south, according to the National Weather Service.

Prior to the arrival of the front, forecasters said, “both Monday and Tuesday will be warm days in the mid-upper 80s, with temps on Tuesday approaching record highs in the upper 80s/ around 90 with breezy south-southwest winds.”

No rest for the wicked, apparently.

As the week progresses, periodic heavy rain is a possibility in some areas of the southern peninsula, forecasters said.

And speaking of 90-degree temperatures — which are hard to shake even as we head toward the Thanksgiving holiday — record highs were logged Friday in Melbourne and Fort Myers. Melbourne reached 87, which beat the old record high of 86 set in 2015. Fort Myers tied a record high with 89, matching marks set in 1975 and 1994.

Several unofficial highs in the 90s were reported across interior areas of South Florida, including a high of 93 off the Tamiami Trail northeast of Everglades City.

Heat index readings in 90s bake Florida voters on Election Day

voting weather

HOT ELECTION ISSUE: Voters face unusually warm temperatures for the mid-terms on Tuesday with the heat index all the way up into the mid-90s in the Keys. “Be sure to stay hydrated if you find yourself outside for an extended period of time!” forecasters in Key West said. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

TOASTY TEMPS CONTINUE: It was 89 degrees in Punta Gorda and Pembroke Pines on Monday, 88 in Fort Myers and Naples, and 87 in Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Marathon and Pompano Beach.

Unofficially, a few 90-plus readings showed up in western Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Hendry counties. A National Park Service weather station in the Big Cypress National Preserve reported a high of 93.

“Unseasonably warm temperatures continue through the rest of the work week, but some relief is coming this weekend,” National Weather Service forecasters in Tampa said. Saturday through Monday, highs should be in the low 80s with lows in the mid-60s. Ditto for Orlando.

It looks like the cold front won’t make it to South Florida, though. It may stall over the area on Sunday, but temperatures will remain on the warm side with a better chance of a few showers, forecasters said.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Sanford Monday was 72, tying a record warm low for the date set in 2015.

Tampa area temps

(Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

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OCEANIC OVERLOAD: The Earth’s oceans have been absorbing a lot more heat than previously thought. The amount of heat measured in a new study was 60 percent higher per year than the last assessment in 2014, a new study by the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University says.

“Imagine if the ocean was only 30 feet deep,” said Laure Resplandy, an assistant professor of geosciences. “Our data show that it would have warmed by 6.5 degrees Celsius [11.7 degrees Fahrenheit] every decade since 1991. In comparison, the estimate of the last IPCC assessment report would correspond to a warming of only 4 degrees Celsius [7.2 degrees Fahrenheit] every decade.”

Climate scientists say a global temperature rise of 3.6 degrees F will unleash “widespread and dangerous consequences,” according to Princeton. Because the oceans are holding so much more heat than anyone thought, the researchers said greenhouse gases need to be reduced by 25 percent more than previous estimates in order remain beneath that threshold.

As Michael moves away, more heat and humidity grip Florida peninsula

Tropical outlook Miami

Luckily, nothing tropical to worry about for the Florida peninsula, but it looks like the heat will hang on. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

The National Weather Service has issued a preliminary report on Hurricane Michael, which slammed the Florida panhandle Wednesday “as an unprecedented high-end Category 4 ….” Maximum sustained winds were 155 mph — just a hair below Category 5 strength — and the minimum pressure was an astonishing 919 mb.

“The storm caused catastrophic damage from wind and storm surge, particularly in the Panama City Beach to Mexico Beach areas,” the National Weather Service said.

Most of the data from the Central Panhandle was missing, but Tallahassee checked in with 3.20 inches of rain.

“As the storm crashed ashore, winds gusted as high as 130 mph along the coast from Panama City to Mexico Beach,” the Washington Post reported. “The storm surge inundated Apalachicola in over seven feet of ocean water, a new record.”

While those in the panhandle were fighting to protect lives and property, there were impacts of a different sort in the Florida peninsula, where record warm temperatures were set or tied up and down the East Coast. Since the east side of Michael produced southerly winds, steamy tropical air was sucked up into the peninsula, with dew points near 80 in Miami that drove the heat index to as high as 104 degrees.

West Palm Beach had a dew point of 82 and a heat index of 101, and in Melbourne the dew point was in the mid- to upper-70s with a heat index of 105. The smothering heat was reminiscent of a day in July — not mid-October.

Here’s a list of the temperature records set or tied on Wednesday:

  • Vero Beach tied a record high with 91, matching the mark set in 2009.
  • Sanford set a record warm minimum temperature with 78, beating the previous record of 76 set just last year. In addition, it was the warmest low ever record in Sandford in October.
  • Orlando set a new record warm low with 77, beating the previous record of 75 set last year.
  • Naples’ low of 80 broke the old record of 78 set in 1995.
  • Fort Pierce set a new record warm low with 80, beating a 99-year-old record of 79 set in 1919.
  • The low in Jacksonville only fell to 79, beating the old record of 78 for the date set in 1964 and setting a new all-time record warm low for October.
  • Gainesville also set a new record warm low for October at 78. The old record was 77 set in 1971.

Heat index readings were expected to top 100 again Thursday in South Florida, and rain chances head down for the remainder of the week, falling into the 20-30 percent range by the weekend.

The rainy season officially ends Monday in South Florida, but there doesn’t seem to be any real break in sight for the heat and humidity.

‘Stormy pattern’ targets peninsula next week; red tide rolls up East Coast

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(Image credit: NHC)

September was hot and dry in many places around the Florida peninsula, particularly on the East Coast. The dry conditions could finally be washed away next by an “increasingly wet and stormy pattern,” the National Weather Service says.

The first system develops off the tail-end of Hurricane Leslie, which is now moving north, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. The system has potential for “wrapping deep tropical moisture around it as it moves toward the peninsula midweek,” NWS forecasters in Miami said.

The other concern is the low developing in the western Caribbean, which is being tracked by the National Hurricane Center. It has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Michael, as it moves north toward the Gulf of Mexico next week.

The low is expected to bring “a potentially impressive moisture plume with it,” NWS forecasters said.

Here’s how the Thursday morning model runs stacked up for the Caribbean low:

GFS — Low smashes into Central America; European: Low goes into Gulf of Mexico middle of next week, heads north, makes landfall in Florida panhandle following weekend.

FV3-GFS (experimental version of GFS) Low takes shape this weekend off Honduras, slides over East-Central Cuba this weekend, heads to Florida Straits and nicks the Keys and extreme South Florida as a weak disturbance. It muscles up in the Gulf and hits the northern Gulf Coast as a strong tropical storm or hurricane.

The Canadian (CMC) pretty much takes it straight north toward Pensacola by the end of next week.

The Navy model (NAVGEM) shows a strong storm bearing down on the Louisiana Coast.

Red tide map
(Image credit: FWC)

RED TIDE TAKING TOLL: The toxic algae that caused havoc on Florida’s West Coast this summer has been confirmed in three counties off the East Coast — Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, the Miami Herald said Wednesday. The announcement came from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The algae, K. brevis, covered 135 miles of coastline from northern Pinellas County to northern Collier, FWC said in a news release Wednesday. “A patchy bloom of K. brevis continues in Northwest Florida,” the agency said. “A bloom of K. brevis was also observed on Florida’s East Coast for the first time this past week.

“On the East Coast, K. brevis was observed in St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties; up to ‘medium’ concentrations occurred only in and offshore of Palm Beach County.”

It’s the first appearance of red tide on the East Coast in more than a decade. Broward and Miami-Dade are also being tested and results are expected on Friday. In Palm Beach County, beaches are closed and fish kills have been reported at MacArthur State Park north of Singer Island, according to the Herald.

RECORD WATCH: Daytona Beach had its hottest September on record along with Sanford and Melbourne, the National Weather Service announced. Also at Melbourne, the low on Wednesday was only 79, which tied a record warm low set in 2002.

Hurricane Center watching new Caribbean system; September records roll in

Let the model watching begin

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(Image credit: NHC)

The western Caribbean blob of showers and thunderstorms is now an official “X” on the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Outlook map. It’s marked in yellow, with a 30 percent chance of development into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days.

Tuesday morning’s run of the GFS had several lows dancing around the Caribbean, Bahamas and southern Gulf of Mexico over the next 7-10 days, but nothing that seems to gel. The European (ECMWF) tries to pull something together this weekend near Jamaica, and sends it north over the Bahamas, where it revs up north of Grand Bahama Island later in the week.

An experimental version of the GFS — the FV3-GFS — also likes the Jamaica area this weekend, shoots it north and then sends a sprawling low over South Florida early to mid-week. It fully develops in the Gulf of Mexico as it heads toward the northern Gulf Coast.

The Canadian (CMC) develops the system off the coast of Honduras this weekend, threads the needle between the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba on Monday and then brings it to the northern Gulf Coast around mid-week.

The Navy’s NAVGEM model spins it up off Honduras in the Thursday-Friday timeframe and then slides it up toward the western tip of Cuba by Monday as a strong hurricane.

Once this system takes shape toward the end of the week — if in fact that happens — we’ll start to have a better idea of where it’s going and how much punch it might be packing. But this is October, the time of the year when storms start to find favorable footing in the western Caribbean, so this is worth watching.

The NHC’s Tuesday analysis: “Unfavorable upper-level winds are expected to inhibit development over the next couple of days while the low drifts generally northward. By late week and over the weekend, however, upper-level winds are forecast to become a little more conducive for development when the system will be moving northwestward into the northwestern Caribbean Sea.”

This area had not been designated an invest yet and if/when it does get a number, we’ll start to see hurricane model runs.

RAINFALL REPORT: The new month started a little wetter than September on Florida’s East Coast. East-Central Florida in particular got a good soaking, with Daytona Beach reporting 1.08 inches Monday. Jacksonville reported 0.41 of an inch and Gainesville had 0.13. More than an inch and a half fell in coastal Nassau County to the north of Jacksonville, according to CoCoRaHS.

Although Miami reported just a trace of rain, Fort Lauderdale checked in with 0.43 of an inch and West Palm Beach measured 0.28 of an inch, and Fort Pierce picked up 0.08.

Key West had 0.13 of an inch.

Locations on the West Coast posted mostly goose eggs.

RECORD WATCH: It was the warmest September on record for a slew of West Coast cities, including Tampa, Winter Haven, Plant City, Punta Gorda, Tarpon Springs, Lakeland, Chiefland, Brooksville, and Arcadia, the National Weather Service in Tampa reported Tuesday. Many other cities in the area had a top-10-warmest month.

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville reported: “September 2018 will go down as one of the warmest and most humid September months on record in Jacksonville. Records date back to 1871 and were located downtown before moving to the airport location in 1956.

“The average temperature for the month was 82.4, which was 4.2 above normal. This ranked as the second warmest September on record behind 83.3 in 1925, but it was the warmest on record for September at the airport.”

In addition, “The average temperature in September tied the August 2018 value for the warmest month of the year. This is only the fourth time the average temperature in September was the warmest month of the calendar year, previously occurring in 1933, 1925 and 1921.”

Gainesville had its warmest September on record. The previous warmest on record was in 1925.