Melting in Miami: 95-degree high hottest of the summer

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Gert became the second hurricane of the 2017 season at 11 p.m. with winds of 75 mph. It continues to be no threat to land. Florida forecasters, meanwhile, are watching two disturbances in the eastern Atlantic closely. (Credit: NHC)

It was Miami’s turn for the hottest day of the summer on Sunday, with a high of 95. The heat index was 102.

Miami’s high fell short of the hottest day of 2017, however, since a late-spring heat wave drove temperatures up to 98 in the city on May 28.

Sunday highs were a more moderate 91 in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and 90 in Naples. The state’s high was in Marianna, northwest of Tallahassee, where the temperature topped out at a torrid 97.

More heat is in store for the coming week, according to the National Weather Service in Miami, as forecasters pointed to the “Same ole synoptic pattern” in their Monday morning forecast discussion.

Moisture from a pair of tropical waves is expected to arrive in South Florida on Thursday and again over the weekend, but rain chances have only been bumped up slightly to around 40 percent.

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Heavy rain could soak Central Florida thanks to a stronger West Coast sea breeze. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

Inland areas of Central Florida may get a soaking Monday and Tuesday as a stronger West Coast sea breeze drives storms toward the East Coast, according to NWS forecasters in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, meteorologists at the Weather Service, and the National Hurricane Center, are beginning to cast a wary eye on the eastern Atlantic and disturbance 91L, which was given a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm by the end of the week.

The European forecast model (ECMWF) continued to show this storm moving over or near the Greater Antilles toward the end of next week, so naturally Florida forecasters are on alert. While Tropical Storm Gert is on its way out sea, the next system in the queue — a potential Tropical Storm Harvey — could end up taking a more southerly track.

It’s interesting to note that on August 14, 1992 — exactly 25 years ago on Monday — a tropical wave rolled off the coast of Africa that grabbed the attention of forecasters at the NHC. It would eventually become Tropical Storm Andrew and then Hurricane Andrew, making landfall on August 24 south of Miami with winds of 165 mph.

Andrew waxed and waned as it crossed the Atlantic, and was battered by such high wind shear that at one point nearly all of its convection was stripped away and its central pressure rose to 1015 mb. It began strengthening on August 21.

Read the full NOAA report on Hurricane Andrew here. It’s a cautionary tale that warrants a fresh look a quarter-century later.

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Forecast tracks for Invest 91L. (Credit: SFWMD)

Franklin becomes first hurricane; Bahamas low heads for Florida

Hurricane Franklin

FRANKLIN IS FIRST: The  Gulf of Mexico storm became the 2017 Atlantic season’s first hurricane at 5 p.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center said, with winds of 75 mph. Further strengthening was forecast before the storm wallops the East Coast of Mexico early Thursday, forecasters said. They were predicting an 85-mph hurricane at landfall. (Credit: NOAA/ NHC)

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UPDATE: The low over the Bahamas, marked in yellow, was given a 10 percent chance of tropical development Wednesday afternoon by the National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service forecasters said the system will bring rain to the Florida peninsula on Thursday. Meanwhile, disturbance 99L was given a 50 percent chance of developing east of the Bahamas by early next week. (Credit: NHC)

An upper level low poised to sweep in from the Bahamas could bring more than an inch of needed rain to South Florida over the next couple of days, while forecasters cast a wary eye on tropical disturbance 99L to the east.

Rain chances shoot up to 70 percent on the southeast coast Wednesday night and into Thursday as the Bahamas low moves west-northwest over the southern part of the peninsula. Rain chances rise in Central Florida, too, but the better chances will be on the Treasure Coast and points south. West-Central Florida should be in line for some showers, too, south of I-4, according to the National Weather Service in Tampa.

The tropical wave east of the Lesser Antilles — a subject of speculation and debate by forecasters and weather watchers since moving off the coast of Africa a week ago on August 2 — showed signs of organizing Tuesday, and the National Hurricane Center upped its five-day chances of development into a depression or tropical storm to 40 percent.

Looking at the forecast models, the system appears to be no threat to Florida or the U.S. East Coast, since those that develop it have consistently called for the storm to sweep out to sea east of the Bahamas. Still scenarios can change quickly and National Weather Service forecasters in Miami noted Wednesday: “Residents and visitors of South Florida need to continue to monitor the latest information on the disturbance from the National Hurricane Center into early next week.”

RECORD WATCH: Melbourne and Vero Beach tied record warm lows Tuesday with 81 and 80 degrees, respectively.

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Franklin is forecast to make landfall early Thursday morning as a Category 1 hurricane. (Credit: NHC)

FRANKLIN POWERS UP: The storm was near hurricane strength Wednesday morning with winds of 70 mph, and it was likely to become the Atlantic’s first hurricane. Winds are expected to top out at 80 mph, making it a Category 1 storm.

In Mexico, hurricane watches were upped to hurricane warnings from Puerto de Veracruz to Tuxpan, and watches were extended from Tuxpan to Rio Panuco.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami were calling for up to 15 inches of rain with flash flooding and mudslides, and a storm surge of up to 4 feet above normal tides. That’s with hurricane conditions, meaning winds of up to 95 mph in a Category 1.

Interesting to note that based on climatology from 1966-2009, the average date of the season’s first hurricane is August 10, so Franklin could join the club one day early.

The last Colorado State University forecast called for eight hurricanes this year, so Franklin could be just the start of a long string that stretches into October or November.

Rain back in Florida forecasts for end of week; Tropical Storm Franklin aims at Mexico

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Tropical Storm Franklin will have no impacts on Florida, but a low pressure area expected to slide over the peninsula at the end of the week should boost rain chances significantly. (Credit: NWS-Miami/ NHC)

Rain is back in the forecast for South Florida and Central Florida after a relatively dry start to August.

Some areas such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale are approaching a 1-inch precipitation deficit — and Marathon in the Middle Keys hasn’t recorded a drop of rain this month.

The June-July period was the wettest on record in parts of the central and southern peninsula, according to the South Florida Water Management District, with an average total of 23.45 inches across the district. The National Weather Service in Miami has details in its mid-rainy season report published last week.

But since then it’s been hit-and-miss. West Palm Beach and Naples are in the plus-column for August rainfall but that’s due to very localized rainfall that fell near the airports on August 1. Also, Naples picked up 1.43 inches of rain on Sunday.

Precipitation chances area-wide rise to around 40-50 percent by the end of the week from Central Florida down to the Keys.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center shows about 2.4 inches of rain falling across South Florida through next Monday as an upper-level low slides across Florida, National Weather Service forecasters said.

RECORD WATCH: Palm Beach International Airport broke a 54-year-old record Sunday with a low of 82. That beat the record for the warmest low, 81, set in 1963.

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TROPICS WATCH: Tropical Storm Franklin, the season’s sixth named storm, formed Sunday night in the western Caribbean. Tropical storm warnings were up for the Yucatan Peninsula and a hurricane watch was also posted for parts of the coast of Mexico. A tropical storm watch was posted as far south as Belize City.

Franklin is expected to cross the Gulf of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche and make landfall on Mexico’s East Coast early Thursday morning.

In the Central Atlantic, Invest 99L continued to deteriorate and the National Hurricane Center lowered odds of development to 20 percent by the end of the week. It should have no impact on Florida.

Florida braces for heavy rain as low pressure brews in Gulf

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Rain should start Sunday and continue into Monday and Tuesday, forecasters say. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

A low pressure center forecast by major models to form in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico could rev up into a tropical system before sliding across Florida, drenching parts of the state with up to 7 inches of rain.

The low is expected to form at the tail end of an unusual late-July cold front that trailed off the powerful Mid-Atlantic low and dumped a half-foot of rain in places like Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula.

Although it probably won’t have time to spin up before crossing Florida, the National Hurricane Center is giving the area a 20 percent chance of becoming a depression or tropical storm by the end of the week after it begins moving northeast off Florida’s coast.

A tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic was showing more promise and the NHC gave it a five-day 30 percent chance of development as it moves west. Some models show this system deepening as it crosses the Central Atlantic but then fizzling out when it reaches the Lesser Antilles.

There’s still plenty of dry air in the Atlantic.

Some of the forecast models show the Gulf of Mexico low moving farther south before crossing the peninsula, and the cone for development stretches all the way from around Fort Myers-Palm Beach north all the way to the Big Bend-Jacksonville line.

The front itself is expected to push back to the north around mid-week.

The National Weather Service in Miami is forecasting 1-3 inches of rain for the southern peninsula with up to 5 inches in some spots through Tuesday, with 4-6 inches in parts of western Florida. There’s a risk of minor flooding. “Flood watches may become necessary,” forecasters said in their Sunday morning discussion from Miami.

Precipitation probabilities will be as high as 80 percent over the next couple of days.

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Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are watching two areas in the Atlantic for possible development, including a non-tropical low in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.  On Sunday afternoon, forecasters gave the Gulf low a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical or subtropical cyclone by Tuesday and a 30 percent chance by Friday, after it crosses the Florida peninsula. Wind shear is “marginally conducive” to development, according to the NHC. The system was designated 98L and model forecasts began running. See below.  Click here for a time-lapse loop of 98L from NASA. (Image credit, top: NHC; Image credit, below: SFWMD)

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Rain heading to Florida as blistering heat recedes

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Rain is on the way thanks to a frontal system approaching the state, forecasters said. (Credit: NOAA/ WPC)

Significant rainfall is headed for the Florida peninsula early next week, which will bring some relief from the searing heat experienced around the state during the last week of July.

The trigger will be and “unseasonably robust surface front” that pushes into Florida early next week, possibly sliding south as far as Lake Okeechobee, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service in Miami.

August may start out on a wet note, with almost 5 inches of rain forecast through the middle of next week for the Big Bend area, more than 4 inches from Jacksonville down to Daytona Beach, and more than 2 inches around the Treasure Coast and into the Palm Beaches.

In fact, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal precipitation for the first week of August all the way from Florida west through the Gulf States and into the Desert Southwest.

Stifling heat index readings around the state began backing off a bit on Wednesday, but not much. More relief is due over the weekend thanks to lower dew points, forecasters said.

Notable (actual) highs around the state Wednesday: Punta Gorda, 97; Crestview, 96; Winter Haven, 96; Fort Myers, 95; and Pensacola, 95. Actual highs around South Florida and Central Florida were generally in the low 90s, but high dew points drove heat index values to very uncomfortable levels.

Peak heat index readings: Melbourne, 109; Punta Gorda, 107; Venice, 107; Kissimmee, 107; Naples, 106; West Palm Beach, 105; Fort Lauderdale, 103;  Orlando, 102; Okeechobee, 102; Miami, 101;  and Fort Pierce, 100.      .

Precipitation chances rise to 30-40 percent over the weekend and then up to 60 percent early next week for much of the peninsula, forecasters said.

RECORD WATCH: Five East Coast cities logged record warm lows on Wednesday. Miami’s low of 82 matched the mark set in 2011; the 83-degree low in Fort Lauderdale tied the mark set in 2006; the low of 77 in Vero Beach tied the record set in 2011; Melbourne’s 80-degree low broke the record of 79 set in 2001; and the low of 77 in Daytona Beach broke the previous record of 76 set in 2011.

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Forecasters are watching a tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic. (Credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami upped chances of development for the Tropical Wave in the eastern Atlantic to 30 percent by early next week. The disturbance has model support from the European (ECMWF) and the Canadian (CMC), but the GFS has been running hot and cold on development.

Florida heat index forecast to soar this week; Jacksonville logs record rainfall

Heat index value rose as high as 102 degrees Saturday in southeast Florida metro areas, and warmer temperatures are yet to come during the work week, the National Weather Service said Sunday.

The heat index hit 100 Saturday afternoon at Palm Beach International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, and 102 at Miami International.

Forecasters say high pressure and drier air will slide into the peninsula through mid-week, bringing actual temperatures up to as high at the mid-90s even in some of the western East Coast metro areas, with heat index values topping out as high as 107 in the Everglades.

Winds will be south to southeast, forecasters said, which may keep temperatures right at the beach and in some of the beach communities below 90. Still, Palm Beach hit 91 on Saturday near the Par 3 Golf Course, although it was 88 on the beach in Juno Beach while Virginia Key in Miami-Dade County had an almost moderate high of 86.

RECORD WATCH: Jacksonville smashed a 115-year-old single day rainfall record Saturday with 2.79 inches, beating the old mark of 2.5 inches set in 1902.

The low temperature Friday in Key West was only 85, busting the previous record-warm low of 84 degrees set in 1989.

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The Atlantic was quiet on Sunday, typical for late July. (Credit: NOAA)

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center in Miami is forecasting no tropical development in the Atlantic over at least the next five days, and major forecast models show nothing of consequence forming for at least the next seven to 10 days.

Although it was an alarming start to the month — with several potent waves coming off the coast of Africa with model support for development — things have settled into the usual July lull. The only exception was minimal Tropical Storm Don, which lasted only 24 hours.

Nature generally flips a switch around the middle of August, and we’ll have to watch the models in the two weeks ahead to see if that begins to show up in the long-range forecasts.

Drier weather in Florida’s weekend forecast; tropics take a break

Thursday’s wet conditions kept South Florida July precipitation engine running on all cylinders, cylinders, and put a lid on temperatures with plenty of cloud cover.

It was the first day of the month in West Palm Beach that the high  temperature failed to reach 90 degrees, and another 0.29 of an inch was collected in the rain bucket at Palm Beach International Airport.

Miami reported 0.06 of an inch while 0.23 of an inch fell in Fort Lauderdale. Naples reported a tenth of an inch.

It was drier in the Keys, though, with Marathon hitting a high of 92. And Key West tied a 28-year-old record warm low temperature record with 84 degrees.

East-Central coastal locations were also generally dry, but Orlando was slammed with another 1.64 inches of rain on Thursday, bringing the city’s July total to an impressive 8.53 inches — 3.91 inches over normal for this point in the month.

Record rainfall was reported in Orlando on Monday.

Drier weather was forecast to move into the peninsula for the weekend.

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Slow-moving storms soaked Central Florida earlier this week, with Orlando reporting a record 3.09 inches on Monday. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne)

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TROPICS WATCH: The Atlantic remained quiet on Friday, and the National Hurricane Center was predicting no tropical development at least through the middle of next week. None of the major forecast models show anything of consequence spinning up over the next seven to 10 days.

The Atlantic continues to be dominated by dry air, which helped destroy Tropical Storm Don and wiped 96L off the NHC forecast map earlier this week.

But conditions are expected to become more favorable for tropical development when August starts, and the tropical wave train from the coast of Africa is still in full swing. An active August and September seems likely.

Colorado State University will have another updated 2017 seasonal forecast on August 4, and hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach will begin issuing outlooks every two weeks in August and September.

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Another tropical wave was getting ready to roll off the coast of Africa on Friday. (Credit: NOAA)