Florida rainfall nearing record territory; NHC watching eastern Atlantic

Rainiest June
The wettest June in Tallahassee was in 1989, but 2017 has already popped into the top 10.  An additional 0.01 of an inch fell Monday. (Credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

Florida has had healthy rainfall totals in June, and Tallahassee already has a guaranteed top-10 spot on the all-time wettest June list with 11.85 inches.

North Florida was hammered again on Monday, with Jacksonville picking up 1.76 inches, bringing the monthly total there to 10.32 inches — 4.82 above the June normal. Rainfall in parts of Duval County were in excess of 3.5 inches, according to the Community collaborative Rain, Snow & Hail Network (CoCoRaHS). More showers and storms were streaming in from the west on Tuesday.

Gainesville has had 14.38 inches of rain this month.

More precipitation is promised by the National Weather Service for the entire peninsula, but only a few hundredths of an inch fell in southeastern Florida Monday. A CoCoRaHS observer in northeastern Collier County, however, reported an impressive 2.72 inches.

Forecasters in Miami were calling for three-quarters of an inch of rain Tuesday and Wednesday in Palm Beach with lighter amounts in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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PM UPDATE: The NHC late Tuesday lowered the chances of development for the tropical wave over Africa over the next five days from 20 percent to 10 percent, saying that conditions have become less favorable. (Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS TALK: Another vigorous tropical wave about to move off the coast of Africa into the eastern Atlantic has grabbed the attention of National Hurricane Center forecasters, who are giving it a 20 percent chance of development into a depression or tropical storm by the weekend.

The next name on the Atlantic storm list is Don.

If it does develop, conditions won’t be friendly for further intensification in the Atlantic after Saturday or Sunday, forecasters said.

It’s impressive, nonetheless, that so many potent waves are pushing into the Atlantic from Africa this time of the year. They are ultra-rare, as the NHC Points of Origin maps, below, indicate.

If the pattern continues into late summer, as wind shear drops off and dry air becomes less prevalent in the Main Development Region, a disturbing parade of strong tropical storms or hurricanes may make it into the Caribbean.

Philip Klotzbach of the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project will have an updated analysis of the season — and perhaps what these early waves mean — on July 5.

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Development of tropical storms in the eastern Atlantic is relatively rare until late July or early August. (Credit: NHC)

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Florida cities continue to buck steamy June temperature trends

5 day SF forecast

Rain chances are forecast to increase in South Florida as the week progresses. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

It’s hot — but some Florida locations could see a below normal June for the first time in three years.

June’s first three weeks in West Palm Beach featured 11 days with temps at or below normal. Through Saturday, the average high was still below May’s pace of 87.1 degrees.

Saturday’s high of 90 in West Palm was only the fourth day with temps in the 90s, compared to June 2016, which had 16 days at 90 degrees or warmer. The last June with widespread below normal temperatures in South Florida was 2014.

Miami has had 11 days at 90 or better this month, with six of them coming in the last week. Incredibly, Fort Lauderdale has had only two days of 90-degree temperatures through Saturday — June 1 and June 8.

Naples has had 10 days at 90 or warmer, with eight of them occurring since June 17.

In Central Florida, Vero Beach has had five days at 90 or hotter; six in Melbourne, five in Daytona Beach, and nine in Orlando, where overall June temperatures are still running almost 2 degrees below average for the month.

Average monthly Tampa temps climbed over normal for the first time this weekend, but Fort Myers is still running about a half-degree on the cool side.

The mid-week rain event for the Florida peninsula is coming into focus, and with cloud cover and precipitation month-ending temperatures could be capped again.

As a cold front stalls over North-Central Florida, precipitation chances jump from Tuesday through Friday before things start clearing out a bit for the holiday weekend, according to forecasters.

Weather Underground is predicting around a half-inch of rain for southeastern Florida from Tuesday through Friday, just enough to keep the hibiscus blooming.

Areas west and north of Lake Okeechobee could be in for more than 3 inches of rain over the same period, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center suggests.

Eastern Atlantic waves

Healthy tropical waves continue to roll off the coast of Africa, as Sunday’s satellite image shows. (Credit: NOAA)

TROPICS TALK: The National Hurricane Center shows a quiet forecast map for  the Atlantic over the next five days, and the major models don’t have anything spinning up in the next week to 10 days. The Canadian model (CMC) has a weak low moving into South Florida from the Bahamas on July 4, but that is not supported by any other forecast models.

There is an impressive train of tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa. However, wind shear in the tropical Atlantic’s Main Development Region is high, according to the University of Wisconsin analysis, ranging from 40-50 knots.

The immediate eastern Atlantic off Africa seems somewhat conducive to development, but any wave that tries to get going would quickly run into very hostile conditions.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Miami Saturday was 82, tying the record warm minimum mark for June 24 set in 2015, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

Florida forecasters predict soggy start to holiday weekend

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WEATHER WATCHER: The new GOES-16 satellite, which observes Earth from a stationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator, snapped this image of the Earth and moon in January. The satellite sends sharper images of weather systems every 15 minutes, which enables more accurate weather forecasting. It was launched last November.  (Credit: NOAA, NASA)

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June is winding down as predicted, with the Bermuda high in the Atlantic maintaining its grip on the Florida peninsula and bringing hot and dry weather more typical of July.

But a cold front that stalls over central Florida around mid-week should pump more moisture into the area, driving rain chances up as high as 50 percent around the southeastern coast, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

Don’t look for anything too dramatic, though — NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is calling for a maximum of 1.3 inches of rain in interior locations Tuesday through Thursday, with under an inch in the forecast for the East Coast.

The threat of wet weather may stretch into the holiday weekend, a long one this year that starts Friday afternoon and sails through Tuesday. For now, Weather Underground is calling for rain chances of from 50-60 percent in South Florida through Monday, July 3. But AccuWeather brings rain chances down to 30 percent for July 4.

FLORIDA DROUGHT WATCH: The state map was wiped clean of any drought areas this week, although parts of Central Florida north of Lake Okeechobee remained abnormally Dry, the U.S. Drought Monitor said. Also, parts of the Tallahassee area in the eastern panhandle were Abornally Dry.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Miami Friday was 82, tying the mark for the warmest minimum temperature set two years ago in 2015.

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THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW  … IN REVERSE: The buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere can reach a tipping point that leads to rapid temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Celsius in higher latitudes — a phenomenon called Dansgaard-Oeschger events that has been observed in ice core samples collected in Greenland.

The research was conducted by scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany. https://www.awi.de/nc/en/about-us/service/press/press-release/wie-sich-das-klima-an-kipppunkten-in-kurzer-zeit-aendert.html

Other studies have suggested that temperature rises could flush enough fresh water into the Atlantic to disrupt the Gulf Stream, which delivers heat to part of northwestern Europe.

But this study looks at intensification of trade winds over Central America and warming of the eastern Pacific. This in turn causes a rise in salinity in the Atlantic, actually amplifying — rather than disrupting — circulation in the Atlantic.

“Our simulations indicate that even small changes in the CO2 concentration suffice to change the circulation pattern, which can end in sudden temperature increases,” says the author, Xu Zhang.

This scenario has unfolded in the past, researchers say, but during glacial periods.

“We can’t say for certain whether rising CO2 levels will produce similar effects in the future, because the framework conditions today differ from those in a glacial period,” says researcher Gerrit Lohmann. “That being said, we’ve now confirmed that there have definitely been abrupt climate changes in the Earth’s past that were the result of continually rising CO2 concentrations.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Rain in Florida’s weekend outlook, but no wash-out; forecast models weigh late-June tropical activity

7 day rainfall totals

Seven-day rainfall totals through Friday morning show near 20 inches of rain have fallen in parts of South Florida. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

SATURDAY UPDATE: With the 1.96 inches of rain that fell at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday, West Palm Beach has already surpassed normal rainfall for the entire month of June at 8.74 inches. The normal for the month is 8.3 inches.

Ditto for Miami, which has had almost 11 inches and Fort Lauderdale, which has logged almost 10 inches. Naples has had 5.41 inches, which is 61 percent of normal rainfall for the whole month.

Central Florida, from Tampa to Sarasota and from Daytona Beach to Fort Pierce, is also enjoying significant precipitation surpluses, as are the Florida Keys.

SATURDAY LOOK AT TROPICS: All of the major forecast models have hopped on to the idea of tropical development next weekend somewhere around the Yucatan Peninsula. The GFS, the Canadian (CMC) and the Navy model (NAVGEM) have the system spinning up in the Caribbean and then moving north into the Gulf of Mexico. The European (ECMWF) shows a weak system in the Bay of Campeche on Tuesday, June 20.

All of the models are forecasting the development of a weak low, with the exception of the CMC, which has a robust system rolling up Florida’s West Coast.

However, National Weather Service forecasters in Houston are skeptical:

“Overall conditions are not favorable for tropical cyclone development in the Gulf of Mexico over the next 7 days,” they said in Saturday morning’s weather analysis.  “Synoptic forecast models are behaving as expected beyond 7 days with the development of a model ‘cane’ of some sort with a tropical wave that moves into the Yucatan the following Sunday/Monday June 18/19 time frame.

“There is no consistency or solid signal in the models to believe these details in the models. These types of model ‘canes’ typically remain in the 7-10 day forecast range with each successive model run and never materialize.”

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ORIGINAL POST: It ain’t over till it’s over, as famous baseball forecaster once said, and although things appear to have dried out a bit over South and Central Florida late this week, more rain may be on the way.

Another shot of precipitation looks to be in the cards for Saturday as a pool of moisture in the Caribbean and over the Bahamas gets pushed back over the Florida peninsula, the National Weather Service says. It’s expected to meet up with an old frontal boundary and juice it, bringing showers and a few storms.

“It does not currently look like another widespread heavy rain threat, but locally heavy activity will be possible,” forecasters said in their Friday morning analysis from Miami.

Longer term into next week, the peninsula is finally in an established summer rainfall pattern, with convection most likely in the interior and West Coast areas as Atlantic sea breezes kick up.

RECORD WATCH: Key West logged a rainfall record on Wednesday that had been standing for 141 years. The 4.39 inches of rain obliterated the old mark of 1.62 inches set on June 7, 1876, two weeks before the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.

The low in Naples Thursday was 80, breaking the record warm minimum temperature of 79 set in 1957.

The high in Gainesville Thursday was 73, busting the record for coolest high temperature — 79, set in 2012.

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TROPICS WATCH: The GFS continues to toss around the idea of a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico the week of June 18. It has alternately shown the system going into Florida, the northern Gulf Coast, and the South Texas coast.

The Canadian model (CMC) supports the idea and Friday’s run has the system rolling up the West Coast of Florida. The European (ECMWF) suggests something may be afoot around that time near the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Navy forecast model (NAVGEM) suggests that something may spin up in the Caribbean, south of Cuba, by next Friday.

Nothing is on the Atlantic forecast map at the National Hurricane Center, but forecasters say a low pressure system may form in the Pacific south of Mexico — around the same place Tropical Beatriz formed — by around mid-week. It has been given a 20 percent chance of development into a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Calvin, over the next five days.

June’s stormy start chills Florida’s late-spring heat wave

Five day forecast

A chance of rain is in the National Weather Service forecast for South Florida through the weekend. (Credit: NWS)

The rain over the past five days has really pulled the plug on Florida’s streak of excessive late-spring/ early summer heat, with major reporting sites reporting below normal temperatures for the first week of the month.

West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale are running about 3 degrees below normal while Miami is about a degree below normal and Naples has been just slightly on the cool side.

In West Palm Beach, Wednesday’s low temperature was 67 while Tuesday’s high was only 77. Normal highs and lows for this time of the year are 88 and 74. They are 89 and 75 in Miami.

In Central Florida, cities are also running a degree or two below normal — from Tampa to Daytona Beach and points south. One notable exception is Fort Pierce, which was a degree above normal for the first week in June despite 4.68 inches of rain.

Look for temperatures to pop back up to near average as the heavy rain threat starts to diminish. The Climate Prediction Center still has Florida painted red through the end of the month, indicating warmer than normal temperatures.

A “dry slot” wrapped around the low pressure system that moved across North Florida Wednesday night, giving South and Central Florida a break in the rain, the National Weather Service said. But a frontal system that stalls over Lake Okeechobee and eventually washes out over the weekend will leave behind plenty of moisture to fuel more afternoon showers and storms, especially along the East Coast, forecasters said.

Rain chances remain elevated, in the 60 percent range, through the weekend.

Next week as high pressure builds again to Florida’s east, the Weather Service predicts shower activity will be focused more on the peninsula’s West Coast.

What has the rain done to Florida’s drought? It’s too early to gauge the full effects, since the U.S. Drought Monitor conducts its assessment on Tuesday and reports on Thursday.

But it’s already has a significant impact, and with the wet season pattern now in full swing, there will hopefully be steady improvement to the water shortage picture.

Extreme Drought (D3) has been washed away in Central Florida, although Moderate to Severe Drought remains in place around most of the peninsula. Southeastern Florida, including Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties are still drought-free and the Treasure Coast is Abnormally Dry.

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center is reporting no concerns over the next five days in the Atlantic. The GFS still shows a tropical storm coming off the Yucatan Peninsula around June 20 and heading up into the West-Central Gulf of Mexico, and that is echoed by the Canadian Model (CMC). But there’s no sign of it in runs of the European (ECMWF).

 

Florida may get socked with more than 7 inches of rain over next week, forecasters say

7 day precip

A very wet start to the rainy season appears to be in the cards for South Florida. (Credit: NOAA/ WPC)

The National Weather Service continues to bump up projected rainfall totals in South Florida as activity boils up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Friday morning’s graphical forecast from the Weather Prediction Center showed more than 7 inches of rain on tap over the next week for much of Central Florida, South Florida and the Keys.

The already stormy Gulf was sending showers and moderate rain over the Florida peninsula on Friday, and more moisture should get pumped into the western Gulf from remnants of Tropical Storm Beatriz this weekend.

Forecasters in Key West “a continuous supply of moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico” over the next week with precipitation probabilities on the increase as we approach the middle of next week.

RECORD WATCH: Key West set another warm low temperature record Thursday with 83, a degree higher than the old mark set in 2010. Fort Lauderdale tied a warm minimum record with 80; and Melbourne tied a record warm low with 76.

Plant City, southeast of Tampa, had its warmest May on record, the National Weather Service said, with an average temperature of 80.8 degrees — 4 degrees above normal. Eight other Tampa-area locations had a top-10 warmest May. Four sites, including Tampa and Plant City, had top-10 warmest springs on record.

The meteorological spring runs from March 1-May 31.

After stormy mid-week, dry weather returns for holiday

Gulf SAT

Wednesday’s Gulf of Mexico satellite tells the tale: Stormy weather is on the way. (Credit: NOAA)

Some relief from Florida’s bone-dry May weather was on the way Wednesday as moisture streamed into the peninsula from the Caribbean and southern Gulf of Mexico. The heaviest rainfall amounts were predicted for drought-stricken areas east of Tampa.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center was forecasting 2.74 inches of rain between Tampa and Orlando between Wednesday and Friday, which could help take the edge of some of the Extreme Drought conditions that have built up during the spring.

The WPC predicted heaviest rain from North Florida south through the Lake Okeechobee area, with lighter amounts of an inch or so in South Florida and the Keys.

Many official reporting sites around the peninsula had May precipitation deficits of up to an inch and a half through Tuesday.

The rain is of course welcome but the severe weather warnings issued by the Storm Prediction Center were not.

The SPC put areas north of a line from Everglades City to Fort Lauderdale at “Slight” risk for severe weather, including thunderstorms, high winds, hail and tornadoes, and areas to the southeast under “Marginal” risk.

This is potentially a hefty price to pay for a little drought relief, and the National Weather Service is forecasting a return to dry conditions over the holiday weekend and into next week.

On top of that, although the stormy weather will be triggered by a cold front, don’t expect any cool weather. This is late May, after all, and even in North Florida, a brief dip into the high 50s early Friday morning will give way to clear skies and highs in the low 90s over the weekend, according to forecasters.

With high pressure building back in after the front passes through — and shifting east by early next week — winds in South Florida will turn easterly again off the Atlantic, keeping the East Coast metro areas dry.

What the peninsula needs — in addition to a good 5-cent cigar — is for a weak, more benign front to stall out over Central Florida. That would give coastal and interior sections a good multi-day soaking, which is what the weather doctor ordered.

That scenario does not appear to be on the horizon, however.

There is one hopeful sign — the Climate Prediction Center’s long-term forecast is for normal precipitation levels in Central and South Florida to end the month and kick off June, which is usually the area’s wettest month.

The GFS does in fact suggest some soupy conditions in Florida after next week’s spell of dry weather and we’ll have to see if that pans out.

ECFL storm potential

Above: Central Florida is under a “Slight” risk of severe weather while portions of South Florida (below) are looking at a “Marginal” risk. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne/ NWS-Miami)

Severe weather risk

RECORD WATCH: Vero Beach reported a record high Tuesday of 95 degrees, busting the previous mark of 94 set way back in 1961. Fort Lauderdale tied another warm low temperature Tuesday with 78. The low in Melbourne was 76, which also tied a record.