Severe storms could hammer peninsula in advance of powerhouse cold front

FRIDAY PM UPDATE: Miami set a new record high with 87 degrees as southwest winds dragged up warm tropical air ahead of Saturday morning’s cold front. That beat the previous high of 86 recorded 75 years ago in 1942. In Central Florida, Melbourne tied a record high with 86. That matched the mark set on December 8, 1948.

CFL storm forecast

ORIGINAL POST: “Winter has arrived,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Friday as the season’s strongest cold front began bulldozing its way down the Florida peninsula.

By Monday morning, areas north of Brooksville outside of Tampa could see sub-freezing temperatures, NWS forecasters in Tampa said.

Up to 2 inches of rain will precede the front across a wide swath of the central peninsula late Friday night and early Saturday, accompanied by gusty winds and some isolated severe weather.

Highs on Monday — even in Southeastern Florida — may only make it into the low 60s, forecasters said.

Another shot of cold air around mid-week will keep temperatures below normal into following weekend, but then temperatures around the state should return to normal during the week preceding Christmas and Christmas week. Normal highs are in the mid-70s in South Florida, low 70s in Central Florida and mid-60s in North Florida.

(Image credits: NWS-Melbourne, above; NWS-Miami, below)

Severe weather threat

Unusually cold temperatures are in the forecast for all of the Eastern U.S. through December 17, followed by a return to more normal December weather, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says. (Credit, below: NOAA/ CPC)


Broward County hit with more than 5 inches of rain; chilling out in Key West

24 hour rainfall SFWMD
Broward County took the brunt of Tuesday’s rainfall. (Image credit: SFWMD)

Parts of Broward County were slammed with more than 5 inches of rain Tuesday and early Wednesday as showers and storms from the Bahamas moved into the Florida peninsula.

Rainfall maxed out at 5.86 inches in east-central Broward, according to a 24-hour analysis by the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

Officially, the National Weather Service said Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport picked up 0.53 of an inch while Miami International reported .40 of an inch. No rainfall was recorded at Palm Beach International, and West Palm Beach is winding up November with a precipitation deficit of 1.79 inches. Naples has a deficit of 1.82 inches.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale, on the other hand, have built up significant surpluses this month.

Light amounts were observed elsewhere on Florida’s East Coast Tuesday, except that almost an inch fell in northeastern Martin County and 1.62 inches was observed in southeastern Indian River County.

The Treasure Coast has been running slight precipitation surpluses, but Orlando has a monthly rainfall deficit of 1.83 inches.


Key West record

CHILLING OUT IN KEY WEST: Tuesday marked the anniversary of the coldest November high ever recorded in Key West — 61 degrees. The record was originally set in 1885, and was tied in 1903 and again in 1914. Temperature records began in  Key West in 1872. (Credit: NWS-Key West)

RECORD WATCH: Tuesday’s low in West Palm Beach, 75, tied a record for warmest minimum temperature for the date, previously set in 1990.

POLAR VORTEX WATCH: Wednesday’s run of the GFS depicts a major sweep of cold air from Canada barreling its way into the Gulf Coast and the Florida peninsula the middle of next week. The Eastern U.S. and Florida remain in the grip of unusually cold air through at least Saturday, December 9, followed by another push of Arctic air late in the weekend.

The forecast model has overnight temperatures in the low 40s over coastal areas of South and Central Florida during this period with highs edging only into the low 60s.

Under this scenario, single digits would be headed for the Upper Midwest as far south as the western suburbs of Chicago, and the Northeast would see teens.

Since the forecast run is still seven-ten days out, expect changes with subsequent runs of the long-range models.

Rainfall targets Florida’s East Coast; polar vortex in the news

3 day SFL forecast

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

Give your irrigation system a rest if you live in South Florida.

Rain chances jump to 60-70 percent Tuesday and Wednesday across the area as the remnants of an old cold front move north over the peninsula, the National Weather Service says. Most of the precipitation, though, is expected to be confined to the East Coast.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting just over an inch of rain, with around 2.5 inches for parts of the northern Bahamas. The South Florida Water Management District’s graphical forecast shows about a half-inch falling Tuesday along the coast and another third of an inch Wednesday.

Breezy conditions are also forecast to move into Florida and the National Weather Service in Key West issued a Small Craft Advisory for the Florida Straits.

Expect an end-of-the-week cold front, NWS forecasters in Miami said. “Winds will shift more northerly by Friday but quickly return northeast by the weekend with a surge of dry air mass providing pleasant weekend weather across South Florida. While the front may drop temperatures slightly Saturday, do not expect any dramatic cold temperatures with this.”

POLAR VORTEX ALERT: Well, actually it’s not an alert at this point, but there have been suggestions that Arctic air may be driven south into the Eastern U.S. with a major pattern change the second week of December. Long-range forecasts are dicey and can change by the day, but the GFS has been hinting at a surge of more wintry air the second or third week of the new month.

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang posted an analysis of this on Monday afternoon under the headline, Extreme weather-pattern change may mean cold and stormy mid-December in eastern U.S.

Looking at Tuesday’s run of the GFS, cold temperature anomalies are in place for the East Coast the early to middle part of next week, followed by another round of above-normal temperatures for the December 9-10 weekend, not only in Florida but most of the Central and Eastern U.S.

A loaded-for-bear cold front pushes southeast the following week, though, and this one looks much more formidable. This may be when winter 2017-2018 actually gets down to business.

Denver high Monday
(Image credit: NWS-Tampa)

In the meantime, record warm temperatures have occurred in the West. The Denver Post reports that “People threw Frisbees, went shirtless and guzzled water in downtown Denver” as the temperature soared to 81 — the warmest the city has ever been in November.

NWS forecasters in Tampa noted it was warmer in Denver Monday than it was in Tampa, where the high was 80.

“They certainly surpassed us today, but looks as through their luck runs out tomorrow.,” the forecasters said on their Facebook page. “Quite the change in air mass coming for our friends to the west.”

Rain on the way for mid-week; NASA lights up over rogue asteroid

5 day forecast

(Credit: NWS-Key West)

SEASONAL TEMPS: A weak, dry cold front rolled down the Florida peninsula on Sunday. Post cold front on Monday morning, it was in the upper 60s and low 70s in southeast Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas, the upper 50s to low 60s in Central Florida, the upper 40s and low 50s in North Florida, and the 40s in the panhandle.

These are fairly seasonal temperatures for late November — the normal high in West Palm Beach is 78 and the normal low is 64. In Miami, the normal high is still 80 and doesn’t slip to 79 until December 3. Normal lows are in the upper 60s.

Panhandle forecast

(Credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

Rain chances in the southern part of the peninsula jump to as high as 40 percent on Tuesday as moisture bubbles up from the Caribbean and a weak area of low pressure slides in from the Gulf of Mexico, the National Weather Service says.

Drier weather returns for the end of the week with another batch of seasonal temperatures, according to forecasters.


Artist’s impression of the interstellar asteroid `Oumuamua

NASA released this artist’s concept of the interstellar asteroid dubbed Oumuamua. Its shape is unlike any other object in the solar system. (Credits: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser/ NASA)

SMOKIN’ THROUGH SPACE: NASA released more detailed information on the first interstellar object to be spotted sailing through our solar system — it’s unlike any asteroid that originated in our planetary system. It’s cigar-shaped, and is up to a quarter-mile long.

“This unusual object had been wandering through the Milky Way, unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system,” the agency said in a news release.

The asteroid, dubbed Oumuamua by scientists, has a reddish color, which is “similar to objects in the outer solar system, and … is completely inert, without the faintest hint of dust around it,” said Karen Meech of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii.

It’s composed of rock and metals with no water or ice. The reddish tint is the result of the effects of radiation from cosmic rays over hundreds of millions of years, NASA said.

Above-average temperatures forecast for Florida as holidays approach

Dense fog Melbourne

WEEKEND WATCH-WORD — FOG: Dense fog settled over the Florida peninsula Saturday morning from north to south with visibility of less than a quarter of a mile in some areas. A Dense Fog Advisory was issued for parts of North Florida, and early morning fog spread as far south as the Lake Okeechobee area, according to the National Weather Service. The coasts were clear, and the fog burned off over the interior by 9 a.m. (Image credits: NWS-Melbourne (top); NWS-Jacksonville (bottom)

Dense fog NFL

BELOW: NOAA released its long-range forecast Friday calling for above normal temperatures in Florida through at least December 22. A series of cold fronts are forecast to slide through the state over the next week or so, bringing in dry but only slightly cooler air, the National Weather Service says. Overall, it looks like pleasant weather leading up to the holidays — but this time of the year there is always a chance for a stronger cold front to make it into Florida. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)



Severe storms possible throughout Florida peninsula, NOAA says

SPC outlook

Most of the Florida peninsula was under Marginal risk for severe Thanksgiving Day weather, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. Thunderstorms are also possible on Friday as a low pressure system slides over Florida from the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said. (Image credit: NOAA/ SPC)

National Weather Service, Miami: “Showers and thunderstorms will be increasing  through the day with some becoming strong to severe. Although the Storm Prediction Center has northern counties under a Marginal risk of severe weather, an isolated severe thunderstorm cannot be ruled out over the southern counties.”

NWS Melbourne: “The potential for a few thunderstorms will exist across all of East-Central Florida today into tonight. Isolated stronger storms will be possible, with the main threats being dangerous lightning strikes, strong gusty winds and locally heavy rainfall. Cold temperatures aloft and marginal shear profiles may support small hail and/or isolated brief tornado threat.”

NWS Jacksonville: Marion County has had 4 to 6 inches of rainfall and a Flood Warning was issued. “Expect a rainy Thanksgiving across the entire forecast area with the
heaviest rainfall from I-10 southward.”

Note: At 7 a.m., an observer in Marion County — south of Ocala — reported a 24-hour rainfall total of 3.8 inches to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

NWS Tampa: “Water spouts have been showing up on radar this morning over the coastal waters and we will continue to keep a close eye on these storms as they approach land. High resolution model guidance shows the showers and storms continuing to push northeast through early this evening.”


Jacksonville shatters 140-year-old rainfall record; Florida braces for stormy Thanksgiving

Wednesday Gulf SAT

A system developing in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to make for a wet Thanksgiving in Florida. (Credit: NOAA)

Central Florida’s East Coast north to the Jacksonville area was hammered with up to 3 inches of rain Tuesday, and more wet weather was on the way from the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and Friday.

Jacksonville busted a 140-year-old precipitation record Tuesday with 1.68 inches of rain, beating the old one-day record for November 21 of 1.16 inches set in 1877.

An observer in southeastern Baker County west of Jacksonville reported 3.42 inches to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network. CoCoRaHS observers reported more than 2 inches as far south as Indian River County.

While South Florida was sunny and dry, a more widespread rain event was setting up for the holiday from an approaching system in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday morning’s run of the GFS had the low moving into Florida from the Gulf around Tampa early Friday morning and then exiting into the Atlantic later in the day. The European had a little stronger low heading toward Florida’s Big Bend area late Thursday.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center put North Florida under a Marginal Risk for excessive rainfall on Thursday, an area north of Orlando from around the Big Bend area to Jacksonville on the Atlantic.

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville warned that up to 4 inches of rain was possible from the system, which could cause “flooding problems in urban areas and areas with poor drainage. Will need to monitor event evolution closely.”

NWS Melbourne: “Low pressure moving out of the Gulf and across Florida always gets our attention for severe weather potential.”

NWS Miami: “The convection associated with this system could produce gusty wind and heavy rainfall. While the best dynamics appear to be north of the region, the availability of wind shear Thursday into Friday will need to be monitored as any convection that can tap into it could potentially create a severe weather threat.”

HURRICANE MARIA REPORT RELEASED: Southeastern Puerto Rico was hammered by almost 40 inches of rain after Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island on September 20, the National Weather Service in San Juan says in a preliminary report on the storm.

Maria hit Puerto Rico as a major Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph — just below Category 5. But the exact wind speeds that battered the island remain unknown.

“Most if not all of the stations failed during the hurricane,” the report said.