Wet, windy weekend forecast for Florida’s East Coast

Wet and breezy weather will be the rule this weekend on Florida’s East Coast, with more than 2 inches of rain possible through Monday and winds gusting up to 25 mph, the National Weather Service said.

It’s all the result of the cold front that brought cooler temperatures to the panhandle on Monday and Tuesday. The front was forecast to stall out over extreme South Florida, bringing wet conditions but not much in the way of cooler air.

High pressure building back into the north will create a pressure gradient with the trough of lower pressure to the south, according to forecasters, making for a windy weekend along the East Coast.

Rain chances are lower on the West Coast — in the 20-39 percent range — and lighter winds are in the forecast.


1910 hurricane

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)

HURRICANE ANNIVERSARY: Yes, damaging Category 4 hurricanes can occur in late October. Tuesday was the 107-year anniversary of a powerful hurricane that made a crazy loop off Cuba’s West Coast in 1910. With peak winds of 150 mph, it then barreled into the Gulf of Mexico between Key West and the Dry Tortugas. It made a landfall near Fort Myers with winds of 110 mph.

TROPICS WATCH: Wednesday morning’s runs of the GFS and European (ECMWF) backed off on tropical development in the Caribbean next week, although the Canadian (CMC) and Navy (NAVGEM) continued to suggest a system or two brewing before the end of the month, either in the Caribbean of Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Weather Outlook map remained clear — no storms expected to form through Monday.


The Farmer’s Almanac lists 20 signs of a hard winter in its latest edition, but editors are of course referring to the higher latitudes and not Florida. Particularly not South and Central Florida, and the Keys.

Here are the top five:

  • Thicker than normal corn husks.
  • Woodpeckers sharing a tree.
  • Early arrival of the snowy owl.
  • Early departure of ducks and geese.
  • Early migration of the Monarch butterfly

I decided to come up with my own top five signs of an approaching hard winter in Florida:

  • Out-of-state license plates begin appearing early.
  • Restaurants, especially on the barrier islands, introduce new menus with much, much higher prices.
  • Parking meters appear where there were none before.
  • The Department of Transportation announces it will close a lane on I-95 from November 15 to March 15.
  • Your in-laws announce that they’re coming for the holidays and will stay at your house for approximately two weeks.

Chilling out in Florida: Panhandle hits 51 degrees

Wednesday lows panhandle
Forecast lows for Wednesday morning. Click for larger image. (Credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

Honest-to-goodness autumn weather cooled parts of Florida on Tuesday, but only for those who live in northern tier of panhandle counties.

It was 51 degrees at 6:30 a.m. in Jay, Florida — about as far north and west as you can get in the panhandle — with a dew point of 48.

It was in the low 60s in the Tallahassee area and in parts of the northern peninsula, but upper 60s to around 70 from Cedar Key on the Gulf to Daytona Beach on the Atlantic. At the same time, it was in the upper 70s in South Florida and the low 80s in the Keys.

The primary impact of the cold front on South Florida — and Central Florida, too — will be rain.

“The cold front will move into South Florida later tonight before stalling and washing out across the region Wednesday,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said. “Even though this is a cold front we will not see any significant cooler air as temperatures will remain around normal.”

The front is expected to wash out over South Florida later this week, but lots of moisture remains in place, with precipitation probabilities as high as 50 percent right through the weekend.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center was predicting that the heaviest rain this week will be over Florida’s northeast and central coast, from around Daytona Beach south to Fort Pierce.


two_atl_5d0 (1)

(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Invest 92L was taken off the National Hurricane Center Tropical Outlook map Tuesday morning and the agency predicted clear sailing for at least the next five days.

However, NOAA’s GFS, the Canadian (CMC) and the Navy forecast model (NAVGEM) were still suggesting development in the Caribbean next week. The European (ECMWF) has not been on board with this, although some of its ensemble members are.

NASA’s GEOS-5 forecast model has also been showing a system spinning up in the Caribbean next week.

From Tampa to Miami, October temperatures continue to be wildly above normal

Dry season forecast

Chances of a La Niña in the Tropical Pacific  are between 55-65 percent this fall and winter, NOAA says, and that usually means a dry and warm winter in Florida. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne)

The first half of October went into the books as a sizzler, with abnormally warm temperatures up and down the Florida peninsula.

Miami has been running 2.7 degrees above average for the first half of the month after six days in the 90s and lows that have barely budged below 80. West Palm Beach isn’t far behind with 2.6 degrees above normal.

Fort Lauderdale was 1.3 degrees on the plus side and Naples, 2.2 degrees.

They Keys are about a degree and a half over normal, and Central Florida’s East Coast has been a real hot spot. Daytona Beach is a whopping 4.4 degrees above average this month.

Tampa is the real stand-out, however, at 5.3 degrees above normal for the first half of October. Highs averaged 90.3 degrees and lows, 76.3.

Tampa set seven warm temperature records so far — six in Daytona Beach and Melbourne. October records in other cities: Miami, four; Fort Lauderdale, five; West Palm Beach and Jacksonville, three; and Naples, two.

Heat index values this month were well over 100 many days in early October and even on Sunday, the 15th, the heat index was in the mid-90s around South Florida.

The long-range forecast, posted October 15 by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, calls for more above normal temperatures and above normal rainfall through the end of the month. However, the longer-range forecast through November 10 calls for a downturn in temperatures during the first week of November in Florida and much of the southeastern U.S.



Bermuda may be in the path of Invest 92L, or whatever may develop from it. (Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: The window for development of Invest 92L north of Hispaniola is closing rapidly, the National Hurricane Center said Monday. Forecasters put development chances at 40 percent by Wednesday, when atmospheric conditions are expected to become unfavorable.

Forecast models are still hinting at possible development in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico next week, but there’s been no consensus on exactly when or where this could occur.

Fall in Florida: Searching for the elusive first cold front

Jacksonville forecast

Tuesday’s forecast high in Jacksonville is an autumn-like 76 degrees. (Credit: NWS-Jacksonville)

A cold front driving through the Florida peninsula next week will make it all the way to South Florida. Will we finally see some cooler, more fall-ish weather?

Unfortunately, no. At least not in South Florida, where forecasters in Miami predicted Friday that the front would stall over the region on Wednesday. “Little cool air is expected and warm, moist conditions will prevail,” they said in Friday’s online discussion.

Even in Central Florida, conditions are expected to remain warm and wet, with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in Orlando and a forecast low Wednesday night/ Thursday morning of 71.

You have to go up to North Florida and the panhandle to see some cooler temperatures and drier weather in the forecast. Wednesday night’s low in Tallahassee is expected to be around 62 and Thursday’s forecast high is 82; look for 76 and 64 in Jacksonville on Tuesday/ Wednesday.

NWS forecasters in Tallahassee said Friday: “A cold front will move through our area from northwest to southeast on Monday, and in the wake of this feature significantly cooler temperatures are expected to develop across our area. From Tuesday through the remainder of the week, highs will range from the upper 70s to lower 80s with lows generally from the upper 50s to lower 60s.”

In other words, open window weather.

In Marianna, Florida, northwest of Tallahassee, Wednesday morning’s forecast low is 57 (AccuWeather); and even cooler conditions expected the following week with lows in the 40s.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Fort Pierce on Thursday, 77, tied a record warm low set 68 years ago in 1949. The low in Melbourne, 78, tied a mark set in 2009.

THURSDAY RAINFALL was moderate in South Florida — and on the state’s West-Central Coast. Observers in southeastern Broward County reported up to 2.25 inches, according to the Community, Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, and 1.37 inches was reported in northern Citrus County on the West Coast.

Other (official) totals: Miami, 0.36 of an inch; Fort Lauderdale, 0.50; West Palm Beach, 0.27; Naples, 0.05; Melbourne, 0.09; Vero Beach, 0.02; and Fort Pierce, 0.01.


Forecast tracks for Invest 92L. (Credit: SFWMD)

TROPICS WATCH: An area of disturbed weather 350 miles east of the northern Leeward Island was designated Invest 92L by the National Hurricane Center, where forecasters gave it a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Philippe, over the next five days.

Forecast models show the system moving west-northwest and then curving north and northeast, out to sea. Some of the forecast tracks could put Bermuda in the path, however.

Ophelia becomes 10th hurricane, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel

Hurricane Ophelia

Ophelia became the season’s 10th hurricane Wednesday and had whipped up sustained winds of 85 mph Thursday morning. The National Hurricane Center said it would remain a powerful storm as it moves toward the northeast, but it’s expected to become extra-tropical by late Saturday. It could impact the Azores this weekend and may bring high winds to western Ireland next week. (Credit: NHC/ NWS-Key West)

Is the hurricane season finally winding down?

Hurricane Ophelia was still strengthening in the northeastern Atlantic Thursday, but its days as a tropical entity are numbered, with the National Hurricane Center predicting it will become extra-tropical over the weekend.

Forecast models show little or nothing forming over the next week to 10 days, which would put us close to the end of October.

“Although most of the tropical Atlantic remains unusually warm for mid-October, we may see a drop-off in tropical cyclone activity over the next couple of weeks, as the Madden-Julian Oscillation is predicted to enter a phase unfavorable for tropical development in the Atlantic,” Weather Underground’s Bob Henson said in a blog post Tuesday.

Based on averages from 1966-2009, two more named storms could occur, with one of them being a hurricane. The last storm forms, on average, on November 23, according to the National Hurricane Center’s climatology report.

That would bring us up to Philippe and Rina and give the Atlantic 17 named storms for the year, about five above average. That was the top end of NOAA’s pre-season forecast in May.

However, through Tuesday, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season had produced 210 ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) units, behind only 1933, 2004 and 1893, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach said on Twitter.

“Ophelia is 10th consecutive Atlantic named storm to reach hurricane — tying the all-time record set in 1878 and equaled in 1886 & 1893,” he tweeted.


RECORD WATCH: The low in West Palm Beach Wednesday was 80, tying a record warm low for the date set in 1972. It was 79 in Melbourne, easily busting the old record warm low of 76 set in 1990.


Wet weekend weather

RAINFALL FORECAST: Showers and thunderstorms were already moving into the Florida peninsula from the Atlantic early Thursday. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center shows about 2-and-a-half inches of rain falling on Florida’s East Coast through Tuesday, from around Vero Beach all the way down to the Keys. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)


Tampa temps running more than 4 degrees above normal for October


TROPICS WATCH: Tropical Storm Ophelia was forecast to become a hurricane on Wednesday, and top out with 85 mph winds by Thursday. (Credit: NHC)

The heat goes on, as Sonny & Cher once (almost) said.

It was 93 in Naples and 93 in St. Petersburg Monday as Florida’s October heat wave continued unabated. The high was also 93 at Fort Myers’ Southwest International Airport.

It was 91 in Jacksonville and Tampa, and even Marathon in the normally more moderate Keys hit 90 degrees.

Normal highs for this time of the year are in the mid-80s over much of the peninsula.

Low temperatures around Florida are even more out of whack. For example, the normal low in West Palm Beach ticks down to 72 on Saturday but the low Sunday and Monday was 81 and 80, respectively. The temperature bottomed out Monday at 77, but that was a rain-cooled reading as just under a half-inch of rain rolled through Central Palm Beach County late Monday afternoon.

Nearing mid-month, overall temperatures are running more than 2 degrees above average in South Florida, about a degree in the Keys,

Central Florida is much above average as well, with Daytona Beach temps running 3.6 degrees above average. And Tampa overall October temps were an incredible 4.5 degrees above average through Monday.

More record warm lows were tied or set Monday. Daytona tied a record at 77 degrees — it was 76 in Orlando, which broke the previous record warm low of 75 set in 2009.

The forecast for a wet weekend is on track as a tropical wave and an upper-level low slide across the state. In addition, a stalled cold front over Central Florida will add to the precipitation probabilities, according to the National Weather Service.

Paynes Prairie flooding

GAINESVILLE AREA FLOODING: A Paynes Prairie levee break on October 1 caused water to pour into the wetland, flooding parts of U.S. Highway 441. Gainesville had record rains in June and July, and annual rainfall through October 9 is around 7 inches short of the all-time record set in 1953. (Credit: NWS-Jacksonville)


40-50 mph wind gusts reported in South Florida; depression forms in Caribbean


Tropical Depression 16 formed in the southwestern Caribbean Wednesday and National Hurricane Center forecasters predicted it would become Tropical Storm Nate by Thursday. The NHC forecast track had it making landfall Sunday near Apalachicola, Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph.

SFL overview

South Florida, meanwhile, was dealing with another system centered off Cuba’s northern coast. It was forecast to cause heavy rain and wind on Thursday and Friday.  The system appeared to be ramping up on satellite Wednesday and the NHC posted a red graphic at 2 p.m. saying that there was a 90 percent chance of the disturbance developing in 48 hours. But it was apparently an error — and it was replaced by the yellow “near zero percent chance” X about 20 minutes later. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

On Tuesday, winds gusted to 43 mph in West Palm Beach — 39 mph in Miami and Fort Lauderdale — as the tropical disturbance meandered near the Florida Straits. Showers were heavy but brief, leaving around a third of an inch to three-quarters of an inch in some areas.

In coastal Palm Beach County, a 48 mph wind gust was reported at the Lake Worth Pier at 3 p.m.

There was a 45-mph wind gust at the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse in Key Biscayne, and the National Hurricane Center said some gusts of 50 mph were observed over land areas on Tuesday (a 55 mph gust was reported by a citizen observer northeast of Port Everglades).

Staff at the National Weather Service offices around Florida had a lot of information to sift through while preparing their short-term and long-term forecasts. In addition to the strong tropical wave off the East Coast, disturbance 90L in the Caribbean was almost certain to develop into a tropical depression — or Tropical Storm Nate — by Friday as it moves northwest.

Tropical Storm Watches or Warnings could be issued for parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba later on Wednesday, National Hurricane Center forecasters said.

It’s too early to say how 90L/ Nate might affect the Florida peninsula, if at all.


TROPICS WATCH: The GFS Wednesday morning run had the disturbance in the Florida Straits finally moving through the Keys on Thursday — possibly as a tropical depression — and then weakening further off Florida’s Southwest Coast. That scenario was echoed by the Canadian (CMC).

The GFS took Invest 90L in the southern Caribbean into the Central Gulf of Mexico and then into the New Orleans area on Sunday.

The European (ECMWF) showed 90L hitting Florida’s Big Bend area in the Sunday night/ Monday morning time frame as a tropical storm.

The Canadian brought 90L into the Pensacola area as a tropical storm on Monday; the Navy Model (NAVGEM) a day earlier.