All-time October heat record for Tallahassee; a zigzagging hurricane that hit the Keys

Hurricane Inez

HURRICANE HISTORY: Here’s a reminder that hurricanes can take some odd-ball tracks with twists and turns. Fifty-three years ago on Friday, Hurricane Inez plowed across the Florida Keys after a destructive romp through the Greater Antilles. Inez came up from the Caribbean and followed the southern coast of Cuba until it made a hard right turn to the north-northeast into the northwestern Bahamas. After that it stalled, then made another turn toward the west-southwest and walloped the Keys with gusts of up to 110 mph. At its peak, Inez was a strong Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

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RELENTLESS: The high in Tallahassee on Thursday reached a scorching 97 degrees — the warmest temperature ever recorded in the city in October.

What was the previous record high for October? That was set the day before on Wednesday, 96 degrees. The long-standing all-time October record of 95 — set in 1941 — was tied on October 1.

To the west just off I-10, Crestview reached 101 degrees.

Down the coast, Naples tied a record high Thursday with 94. That was set in 1990.

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The seven-day rainfall forecast shows heaviest precip in South Florida and the Keys. (Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)

WET WEEK? An approaching front resulting in southwest winds next week could bring heavy rain to South Florida, the National Weather Service says.

“A conditional risk for flooding could eventually materialize in the Monday night to Wednesday time frame across South Florida,” forecasters said in their Friday discussion in Miami.

In Central Florida, rain chances remain at around 20-30 percent through Tuesday before jumping to 50 percent on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tampa’s rain chances range from 50-60 percent all of next week.

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HERE’S A COOL ULTRA-LONG-RANGE FORECAST: It could turn out to be in weather fantasy-land, but the GFS is showing a cold front that means business sliding down the entire Florida peninsula around Friday, October 18, pushing temperatures into the high 40s in the western panhandle and below 60 as far south as Orlando.

Under this scenario, temperatures the next morning, on Saturday October 19 would dip into the low- to mid-60s in parts of South Florida, with highs topping out in the 70s around Lake Okeechobee.

Nothing to hang your hat on at this point, but a reminder that, yes, Virginia, autumn really does come to Florida — you just gotta have some patience. It looks a little different from northern climates but is nonetheless spectacular.

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NWS Melbourne anniversary

METEOROLOGICAL BLAST FROM THE PAST: The National Weather Service office in Melbourne is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its opening this month. Things started out small and quiet but have gotten busy! (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

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Rain chances finally pick up next week, forecasters say

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(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

An end may be in sight for the ultra-dry weather pattern that has kept the Florida peninsula in its grip for most of September.

Karen was still clinging to tropical storm status on Friday morning, and was forecast to become a remnant low on Saturday and dissipate in the open Atlantic early next week.

However, the National Weather Service in Miami said the remnants of Karen could bring some needed rain to the area by the middle of next week.

An upper level low “should bring enough shear to the area to keep the remnants of Karen from redeveloping in the area, and keep the moisture passage as just an area of increased rainfall for the mid and later half of the week,” forecasters said Friday.

“It is this tropical wave that finally brings a decent chance of rain back to South Florida for Wednesday into Thursday.” They added that “there is still uncertainty this far out.”

The GFS forecast model shows rain picking up on Wednesday and Thursday, with perhaps another batch of precipitation the following week. And in fact, the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast for October 4-10 is indicating above normal rainfall for the entire Florida peninsula.

East-Central Florida rain chances increase to 50 percent by the middle of next week, which National Weather Service forecasters in Melbourne are attributing to an upper level low approaching from the southeast.

Rain chances for West-Central Florida improve into the 30-40 percent range.

TROPICS WATCH: Hurricane Lorenzo was still a powerful Category 4 storm with winds of 145 mph, moving north in the Central Atlantic. It could brush the Azores by the middle of next week.

Nothing else was showing up on Friday model runs, at least in the next seven to 10 days. The GFS had something brewing in the western Caribbean at the end of its run, but that’s two weeks away.

RECORD WATCH: Jacksonville set a record high for the third day in a row with 97, breaking the previous record of 96 set in 1961. Gainesville’s high of 95 broke the record for the date of 94 set in 1980.

And in the panhandle, Apalachicola set a new record high with 95, beating the previous record of 92 set in 1988.

Getting ready for fall … with one eye still on the tropics

MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS FRIDAY: Fowey Rocks, Biscayne Bay, 44 mph; University of Miami, 44 mph; Sunrise, Broward County, 40 mph; North Hollywood, 38 mph; Miami International Airport, 37 mph; Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, 37 mph; south end of Lake Okeechobee, 36 mph; Palm Beach International Airport, 36 mph.

Key West International Airport, and Marathon International Airport, 29 mph.

East-Central Florida: Whitman Field Airport, Stuart, 38 mph; Fort Pierce, 32 mph; Vero Beach, 35 mph; Melbourne, 31 mph; Orlando International Airport, 29 mph.

HURRICANE JERRY UPDATE: A few forecast models shifted west Friday afternoon and evening as Jerry brushed the Lesser Antilles. But National Hurricane Center forecasters said late Friday night that there “is very good agreement” among forecast track guidance on a turn toward the north, and eventually the northeast, so there was little change in the 11 p.m. forecast track. Under the projected scenario, Jerry could threaten Bermuda late Tuesday night.

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ECFL forecast

Breezy weather with fast-moving showers is in the forecast for Florida’s East Coast. Tropical moisture will increase this weekend, the National Weather Service said, but mostly over the Keys and the extreme southern part of the peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Cool, crisp days, leaves crunching underfoot when you take a walk, wearing a windbreaker instead of a T-shirt.

None of this, of course, describes fall in the Florida peninsula, particularly South Florida, Central Florida and the Keys. Nevertheless, autumn arrives Monday at 3:50 a.m. EDT, a sure sign that crowded restaurants, clogged roads and lack of parking at the beach are right around the corner.

In Palm Beach, which is the farthest east point on the peninsula, the sun will rise Monday at 7:09 a.m. and set at 7:15 p.m. Due to a number of various complicating factors, the ratio of day/ night doesn’t completely equal out until next Friday and Saturday, the 27th and 28th, when sunrise will be around 7:10 a.m. and sunset at 7:10 p.m.

Last Saturday, September 14, something magical happened in Miami: The normal high dropped from 90 to 89 for the first time since June 14. And by the time the equinox rolls around on Monday, the normal high will be … well, still 89.

The normal low drops to 76, but it doesn’t fall below 70 until November 7.

In Orlando, Monday’s normal high is 89 with a low of 72. In Tampa, the normal high is 88 with a low of 73.

Autumn in Florida isn’t a season, it’s a process. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we’ll be calling our northern friends and relatives to gloat ….

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WET WINTER FORECAST: With neutral El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific, it will be interesting to see what NOAA and the National Weather Service come up with in terms of a winter forecast for Florida. El Niño (warmer than normal water in the Pacific) usually means a cooler, wetter winter in Florida, while La Niña (cooler Pacific water) generally produces a dry, warmer winter.

The Farmers Almanac jumped into the fray this week with its first winter forecast for the U.S., calling for a “brisk and wet” winter in Florida and the Southeastern U.S. Editors are in general calling for a “Polar Coaster Winter” — like a pun on a “roller coaster winter,” meaning some unusual cold snaps alternating with a few unusual warm spells.

South Florida hasn’t had a freeze since 2011, so going on eight years. Let’s hope we can make it nine.

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: The parade of tropical waves moving across the Atlantic doesn’t show any signs of stopping. A new wave is forecast to move off the coast of Africa this weekend, and already forecasters at the National Hurricane Center were giving a 70 percent chance of development.

But at least for now, forecast models are taking all these systems north into the open Atlantic east of Florida and even the Bahamas.

At some point, the focus for potential development will shift to the western Caribbean, but Florida looks to be in the clear for at least the next week to 10 days.

Gulf low could trigger another weekend soaking, forecasters say

7 day rainfall

The seven-day rainfall outlook by NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center shows a precipitation bulls-eye near Florida’s northwest coast. (Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)

The tropical Atlantic remains amazingly quiet for mid-August — see the post by Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters (All Quiet in the Atlantic: Dry, Stable Air Rules) for a detailed explanation — but Northwest Florida could be in for a soaking this weekend from a low expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters aren’t talking about tropical development, and the low could form close to the Florida coast or farther west, depending on which forecast model you look at, the GFS or the ECMWF. How the event unfolds will impact precipitation amounts over the entire Florida peninsula.

For now, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting as much as 10 inches of rain in Florida’s Big Bend area through the weekend and into early next week.

RAINFALL REPORT: Official rainfall totals from Monday’s National Weather Service reports were mostly ho-hum, although Sarasota picked up 1.25 inches.

Totals reported by the observer network CoCoRaHS were more robust: An observer in southern Seminole County, northeast of the University of Central Florida campus, reported that 4.28 inches of rain fell Monday. And an observer in Hudson, in Pasco County north of New Port Richey, reported 3.85 inches.

Port Salerno, Martin County, reported 3.33 inches; and Fort Pierce, 2.84.

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SEPTEMBER SNEAK PEEK: In Florida, it’s counter-intuitive to expect weather conditions to dry out in September, which is normally the wettest month of the year in most locations, along with June.  The first half of August has been wet. But the long-range outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is for unusually dry conditions throughout the state. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

Forecasters predict possible development for Caribbean wave as it nears Florida

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UPDATE: The vigorous low pressure system that just entered the Caribbean near the Windward Islands is being watched for possible development at the end of the week as it nears Florida.

“This disturbance is expected to move west-northwestward to northwestward across the north-central Caribbean Sea during the next few days, producing locally heavy rainfall  and possibly some flooding across Puerto Rico and Hispaniola,” NHC forecasters said at 2 p.m.. “Little development of the disturbance is expected due to interaction with land. However, the system is forecast to emerge over the Straits of Florida by the end of the week where environmental  conditions could be a little more conducive for development to occur.”

They gave the system, designated 95L, a 10 percent chance of development over the next two days, and 20 percent over five days.

This system is showing up in runs of the legacy GFS, but not the operational model launched in June. It keeps it off the Florida coast.

The European model (ECMWF) doesn’t develop it until it gets further north toward the coast of the Carolinas. The Canadian model (CMC) has a broad area of low pressure at the southwest coast of Florida on Saturday, which then crosses the state, enters the Atlantic and develops near the Carolinas. The German ICON model has a weak system spinning up off Florida’s southeast coast and then heading north.

Here’s what it looked like on satellite mid-afternoon Sunday:

Full Disk - Clean Longwave Window - IR

(Image credit: NOAA)

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Below normal rainfall is in the forecast for much of Florida during the second week of August, according to the long-range precipitation outlook by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released Saturday. South Florida may see closer to normal precip. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

ORIGINAL POST: West Palm Beach was hammered with 1.33 inches late Saturday, the largest 24-hour total since March 19, when 1.70 inches fell. It cut the July rainfall deficit to 2.14 inches.

In Broward County, North Perry Airport west of Hollywood reported 1.46 inches Saturday — on top of the 2.70 that fell on Friday. The airport’s weather station, in Pembroke Pines, has notched four major rain events this month with rainfall totals over an inch, for a total of 10.14 inches in July.

In East-Central Florida, where forecasters had been warning of another wet start to the weekend, the only site that picked up any appreciable precip was Fort Pierce, which reported 0.09 of an inch.

For a change, the West Coast was mostly dry.

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TROPICS WATCH: The operational GFS shows no tropical development through August 13, but Sunday runs of the legacy GFS — remember that NOAA’s new model was unveiled in June, but the old GFS would continue to run into September — has a low spinning up in the Bahamas and ramping up to tropical storm strength over the weekend as it turns north, well off the coast of Florida.

The European (ECMWF) shows something similar, but does not develop the system until it is farther north, off the coast of the Carolinas. The German ICON model hints at a similar scenario.

Officially, the National Hurricane Center is predicting no tropical development through at least Friday.

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MAJOR MELT-DOWN: The heat wave that sent temperatures in Europe soaring over 100 degrees — Paris recorded an unprecedented temp of 108.7 — is poised to settle over Greenland during the upcoming week. Meteorologists and other scientists are worried that it could melt billions of tons of ice.

Unlike ice melt over the Arctic Ocean, melting glaciers in Greenland contribute directly to sea rise.

Already this summer, 170 billion tons of ice were lost in July, and another 72 billion tons were lost in June, according to the website Live Science.

The intensity of the ice melt in Greenland has been accelerating since the 1970s, experts say. An average of 50 billion tons were lost each year in the 1970s and 1980s, while an average of 290 billion tons were lost per year from 2010 to 2018.

In 2012, 97 percent of the ice sheet’s surface thawed, and scientists say this year could surpass that record.

June wrap: Naples hot & dry; Orlando warm & wet

July temps

JULY OUTLOOK: You guessed it — more above normal temperatures are in the Florida forecast this month. As the week progresses, blistering heat returns to most of the peninsula, with heat index readings in the triple digits again in North Florida for Monday. Highs in the 90s are slated for interior sections and the West Coast. With an easterly wind flow, the East Coast may be slightly cooler. the National Weather Service says. Overall, July precipitation is forecast by NOAA to be below average during the first half of the month and above average for the second half. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

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Welcome to the second half of 2019. Or, as they say in France, 2019 Part Deux.

The first part was kind of a wild ride weather-wise, with lots of heat, topped off with a historic heatwave in Europe that delivered the highest temperatures ever recorded to several countries.

The two heatwaves in Florida last month were nothing to sneeze at either. As for rain, it was either feast or famine for many cities around the state. Here’s are some of the highlights and lowlights:

Miami was plus 2.1 degrees for the month, and there was rain aplenty: the city ended up 2.76 inches above normal. The average high was 91.7 and the low was 77.8. Highest temp: 98 on June 24.

West Palm Beach was drier, ending June 1.11 inches in the precipitation hole. Temps were 2.3 degrees above average, with an average high of 90.9 and an average low of 76.6 and a monthly high of 96 on June 24.

June rainfall in Naples was a more dramatic 4.74 inches below normal. Temps were slightly above normal.

Keys: Key West was also dry, coming in 3.23 inches below normal. Temps were 1.4 degrees above average. Marathon was 2.09 inches short of the June average, with temps 3.2 degrees above normal.

Central Florida: Orlando racked up 8.97 inches of rain in June, 1.39 above normal. Temps were 1.8 degrees above normal overall, with an average high of 92.5 and an average low of 73.9. Temperatures topped out at 98 degrees on June 25. June temperatures in Melbourne, Daytona Beach and Vero Beach were around 2 degrees above average.

West Coast: Tampa finished the month 1.7 degrees on the plus side, with an average high of 91 and an average low of 76.8. The warmest temperature was 98 on June 25. Tampa measured a respectable 9.43 inches of rain in June, 2.75 above normal. Sarasota, on the other hand, came up 1.86 inches short on rainfall but was 2.6 degrees above average for the month.

Interestingly, Fort Myers‘ 6.12 inches of rain was almost 4 inches below normal for June. Overall, though, most West Coast locations had above normal rainfall in June.

North Florida: Jacksonville was on board with the heat trends, coming in at 2.5 degrees above normal, with an average high of 92.6 and an average low of 72.2. The city had a rainfall shortfall of 2.04 inches. Warmest temp of the month: 99 degrees on June 3 and 24.

Gainesville had two days in triple digits — 100 degrees on June 3 and 101 on June 4. No wonder temps ended up 3.4 degrees above normal for the month. Total rainfall was 9.61 inches, 2.49 above normal. Tallahassee also hit 100 on June 3, and ended up 1.9 degrees above normal. Tallahassee had a 2.37-inch rainfall deficit.

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RECORD WATCH: Cuba had its hottest day on record Sunday with a reading of 102.4 degrees at Veguitas, in the southeastern portion of the island. This wasn’t just a June record, it was an all-time record, according to Weather Underground meteorologist and blogger Jeff Masters.

Saharan air heads into Florida over the weekend; heat advisories possible

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(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

And now for something completely different.

After a week of gloom and boom — cloudy skies and thunderstorms with occasional bursts of heavy rain — drier, hotter weather is moving into the Florida peninsula.

The uncomfortable conditions will be aided by an infusion of Saharan air, now over the Caribbean but on its way into Florida in time for the weekend. Saharan dust can make for hazy skies and it can trigger reactions in people prone to allergies.

“Today will start a hotter period with interior highs rising well into the 90s,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Thursday. “This may place a few record highs in jeopardy. We`ll also be flirting with heat advisory criteria (apparent temperatures of 108 degrees or greater for 2 hours or more), so this will be something to watch.”

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, meanwhile, is forecasting above normal temperatures and below normal to normal rainfall in Central and South Florida through July 12.

The Weather Prediction Center is calling for heat index readings this weekend in the upper 90s as far north as Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, with indices of up to 110 degrees in South Texas and parts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. An area along the South Texas border west of Brownsville is set for heat index readings as high as 115 degrees by Sunday, according to forecast maps.

Still, if you’ve neglected yard work over the last week or so due to all of the rain in Florida, this weekend will offer a time to catch up. But as NWS forecasters in Miami emphasized: “Slow down, drink plenty of water, and take breaks if you`ll be outside.”

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RAINFALL REPORT: Sanford reported 2.16 inches of rain on Wednesday, a record for the date. The previous record rainfall for June 19 was 1.86 inches in 2004.

Gainesville reported 2.33 inches of rain — not a record in itself, but the National Weather Service in Jacksonville clocked a wind gust of 43 mph at Gainesville Regional Airport during a thunderstorm, a record wind gust for the date. That beat a 40 mph gust that was recorded on June 19, 1998.

Unofficially, a CoCoRaHS observer reported 4 inches of rain just south of Gainesville. And in South Florida, 3.94 inches of rain fell west of Boynton Beach, according to the observation network.

In northeastern Florida, 2.75 inches fell in Flagler County just south of Dupont.

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TROPICS WATCH: June has been dead quiet, not only in the Atlantic but in the northeastern Pacific as well. The first named storm has yet to appear in the Pacific, in fact.

But on Thursday the National Hurricane Center in Miami said an area of low pressure was forecast to form a few hundred miles south of Mexico’s West Coast. Forecasters were giving it a 20 percent chance of development over the next five days as it moves west.

The first name on the eastern Pacific list is Alvin.