New July forecast calls for above-normal temps over most of Florida

PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES: The partly cloudy refers to the clarity of NOAA’s crystal ball used for determining July rainfall in Florida. Forecasters are calling for equal chances of above-normal, normal, or below-normal rainfall for the state and in fact for much of the U.S. Texas and Louisiana, the northwest, and New England are in for a drier month, forecasters said. Only the Desert Southwest is likely to have a wetter-than-average July, they said. Temperature-wise, much of the eastern and western U.S. should have a warmer-than-average July, with the exception of the Rocky Mountain States and the coastal southeast. Still, South Florida and the Keys are headed for an unusually warm month, according to the Climate Prediction Center’s new forecast issued Thursday. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)


Asteroid planPLAN B FROM OUTERSPACE: NASA has issued with a new plan on how Earth can avoid — or deal with — a catastrophic asteroid impact. The strategies were discussed in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

In a remarkable understatement, Levitcus Lewis, chief of the FEMA National Response Coordination Branch, characterized a major asteroid strike as “a low probability but high consequence event” for which “some degree of preparedness is necessary.”

The NASA and FEMA approach was detailed on, and at the same time the full plan — National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan was published by the White House.

An asteroid strike is not far-fetched. Small asteroids hit the Earth’s atmosphere regularly, where they put on a spectacular sky show as they disintegrate and burn out. But large asteroids can have a catastrophic impact, not only on the area that it hits, but on the planet’s climate years down the road.

An asteroid that hit Siberia in 1908 was the largest ever recorded, measuring about 100 feet. If an object of that size hit New York City it would impact a three-state area.

The asteroid that hit Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 was 62 feet wide. It injured more than 1,200 people and damaged thousands of buildings as far as 58 miles away.

The government’s new plan is to increase detection methods of both smaller and larger objects. It also calls for new methods of deflection if an asteroid is headed toward impact.

There are more than 8,000 near-Earth objects of at least 460 feet, and 95 percent of them have been catalogued by astronomers. After analyzing their tracks, scientists have concluded that none of them pose a threat to the planet in this century.

Of course, it’s that other 5 percent that keeps the experts awake at night.


Summer solstice

It’s official — summer began at 6:07 a.m., when the sun reached its northern-most point over the Tropic of Cancer. That’s about 70 miles south of Key West. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)


Hottest temps of the year scorch Florida’s East Coast


The second half of June is now forecast to be drier than normal in most of the Florida peninsula, but wet in the panhandle. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

All three major South Florida reporting sites on the East Coast made it into the 90s on Sunday for the first time since April.

Miami’s high was 92, the hottest day so far of 2018 and the first 90-degree day since April 24. Ditto for Fort Lauderdale. West Palm Beach topped out at 90, matching the high on April 7 and March 20.

It was 88 in Naples, a little cooler thanks to westerly breezes off the Gulf. The hottest day in Naples so far this year was May 4, when the temperature hit 94, which was a record high for the date.

Unofficially around South Florida, it was 97 just west of Zoo Miami in Miami-Dade County; 96 in Hollywood and 96 in Boca Raton and Palm Springs (central Palm Beach County).

In the Keys, which was where the weekend’s high pressure system was centered, Marathon was 91, matching April 24 for the hottest day of the year. Sunday’s high was 88 in Key West, where it has yet to reach 90 degrees this year.

EAST-CENTRAL FLORIDA: It was 93 in Melbourne, Vero Beach and Fort Pierce, making it the hottest day of the year so far for those cities. The temperature also reached 93 in Stuart.

NORTH FLORIDA: Jacksonville’s 94 and Gainesville’s 94 tied May 11 for the year’s warmest day.

PANHANDLE: Apalachicola’s high of 94 on Sunday broke a record for the date. The previous record high was 93 set in 1985. It was the hottest day of 2018 so far in Apalachicola.

WEST COAST: It was mostly in the upper 80s along the Gulf Coast, but Lakeland reached 91 and it was 90 in Fort Myers.

HEAT INDEX: The “feels like” temperature was 102 Sunday in Fort Lauderdale; 101 in Melbourne; and 100 in Vero Beach.

Heat safety

June is a good time to remind people about heat safety, with the heat index topping 100 up and down the state’s East Coast. Florida summers can be quite nice — if you don’t mind some hot weather — with lighter traffic and thinner crowds. But you have to be prepared, as the National Weather Service notes. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Parts of Central Florida received around a quarter of an inch of rain Sunday, with a little over an inch reported in inland Hillsborough County. Expect shower and thunderstorm activity to pick up on Monday and Tuesday as a cold front edges down the peninsula and then stalls out over Lake Okeechobee, according to the National Weather Service.

Don’t expect any cooler air behind the front, forecasters say.


RECORD WATCH: Sanford scored a record warm low on Sunday with 77 degrees. That beat the previous record minimum for June 3 — 75, set in 1998.

Key West posts May rainfall record; hurricane season begins

Hurricane season Day One

It’s day one of the 2018 hurricane season — with just 182 more days to go.  Based on some of the pre-season forecasts, we should make it somewhere between Isaac and Patty.  Aberto is already in the books, and the GFS continues to predict formation in the Gulf of Mexico during the second week of June … will it be Beryl? July is usually a slow time for the Atlantic hurricane season. Things start cranking up around mid-August, and September 10 is the statistical peak of the season. Surprisingly, though, South Florida is most vulnerable to storms in October. Remember Hurricane Wilma? (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)


Monthly rainfall records were busted in May in Key West and several West Coast locations, the National Weather Service said Friday. Key West racked up 14.17 inches of rain in May, 11.17 over normal and a new record for the month.

In West-Central Florida, five sites recorded record rains in May — Lakeland, Punta Gorda, Venice, Fort Myers and Archbold. The May rainfall total at Lakeland, 19.19 inches, was the second-highest monthly total for any month on record, just behind July 2017 at 20.07 inches.

Plant City, Arcadia and St. Petersburg had their second-wettest May on record.

May was a soaker for South Florida, too, particularly on the East Coast.

Miami was slammed with 3.6 inches of rain Thursday, bringing the May total to 16.59 inches — 11.25 above normal. Fort Lauderdale finished the month with 15.15 inches, 10.5 above average. Naples finished May with 5.62 inches, 2.46 above normal.
West Palm Beach had 11.41 inches, 6.9 above average.

There were hefty totals in East-Central Florida, too, with 7.49 in Orlando, 9.13 in Vero Beach and 8.19 inches in Melbourne.

Jacksonville tallied up 5.91 inches and 8.38 fell in Gainesville.

Tallahassee measured 6.97 inches for the month while 4.55 inches fell in Apalachicola.


June may be wet in much of the Southeastern U.S., but Central Florida and South Florida could go either way, according to the Climate Prediction Center. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

ALSO NOTE: Thursday was the end of the 2018 meteorological spring and Friday begins the meteorological summer, which runs through August 31. Links will be posted to National Weather Service and Florida State University seasonal reports as they come in.

More than 5 inches soak panhandle as Alberto departs

Parts of North Florida were slammed with heavy rain Monday as Subtropical Storm Alberto came ashore from the Gulf of Mexico. Walton County (Defuniak Springs) checked in with a 24-hour total of 5.1 inches through 7 a.m. Tuesday.

A Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network observer southwest of Defuniak Springs reported 5.5 inches, and an observer east of Elgin Air Force Base reported 4.04 inches.

Crestview reported 3.12 inches, and Panama City measured 1.96 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Apalachicola, just to the east of Alberto’s landfall, picked up 0.94 of an inch. Some East Coast cities reported relatively hefty amounts including Daytona Beach, with 1.03 inches; Jacksonville at 0.88 and Cross City with 0.96. Marianna, north of I-10, measured 1.8 inches.

The Florida peninsula is expected to slip into a more “summertime” pattern by the end of the week, with afternoon showers inland. Precipitation probabilities fall to around 20 percent on South Florida’s East Coast and in West-Central Florida, but 40 percent in East-Central Florida.


The Florida peninsula may dry out a bit in June. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

If you’re tired of all the rain in the second half of May, the Climate Prediction Center is suggesting that most of June could be drier than normal — at least in the three- to four-week outlook issued Friday. It predicts drier than average weather over most of the Florida peninsula through June 22, with wetter weather in the panhandle.

June is usually the wettest month of the year in parts of the Florida peninsula.

7 day rainfall through Sunday SFL

Seven-day rainfall totals through Monday morning in South Florida didn’t quite measure up to the highest rainfall predictions, although a few areas were in the 5-7-inch range, and a coastal area of Mainland Monroe County was in the 7-10-inch range. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

More heavy rain likely for weekend, forecasters say

Weekend rain

RAIN TRAIN CHUGS ONWARD: More intense storms and heavy rainfall are forecast to soak the Florida peninsula over the weekend, the National Weather Service said Friday. There’s a potential for localized flooding. (Image Credit: NWS-TampaBay)


TROPICS WATCH: Major forecast models are still predicting development of some sort in the Caribbean next week as the holiday weekend nears. The Navy model (NAVGEM) is the earliest with a system spinning up on Tuesday off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the northwestern Caribbean, after which it moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

The only model that backed off Friday, to some extent, is the European, which in an early run showed a broad area of low pressure forming off the northwestern tip of Cuba and a very weak, sloppy disturbance moving across Central Florida.

The possibility of a very wet Memorial Day weekend is getting attention from the National Weather Service. “There are signs that another plume of very deep moisture will begin to move toward the region from the south later in the week,” forecasters in Miami said Friday morning.

NWS Key West: “For later in the week or from Wednesday night, a variety of the global models continue to bring a low pressure area northward again out of the Caribbean Sea thanks to another trough returning over the Gulf of Mexico.”


NEW SUMMER FORECAST: NOAA’s new forecast for June through August was released Thursday. It calls for wetter than normal weather in the East and above average temperatures in all but the North-Central parts of the U.S. (Image credits: NOAA/ CPC)


THE CHANGING NATURE OF WET SEASONS: Urban areas across the Florida peninsula are getting their rain during the wet season in increasingly intense bursts, while the actual length of the rainy season has been edging down slightly, a new Florida State University study concludes. Urban areas and rural areas end up getting their usual amount of rainfall, but it’s more spread out in the rural areas.

The study was published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science.

“The strong relationship between land cover and these trends in rainfall seems to suggest that land cover has everything to do with changing wet seasons,” said Vasu Misra, associate professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science at FSU and the study’s lead author. “I think this has some very strong implications for urban planning in Florida as well as for Florida’s hydroclimate.”

Misra and colleagues looked at data over the past 60 years and found that the average wet season decreased by 3.5 hours per year in most Florida cities — but not rural areas.

They speculate that warmer temperatures in urban areas cause higher concentrations of water vapor, which results in more intense episodes of rainfall.



Florida forecasters boost rainfall predictions for weekend


TROPIC WATCH: The National Hurricane Center in Miami upped the chances of tropical development for Invest 90E in the eastern North Pacific to 50 percent over the next two days. The system is located 1,000 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. The low is “gradually becoming better organized and environmental conditions appear to be favorable for some additional development,” NHC forecasters said Tuesday. “A tropical depression could form from this system later today or Wednesday before the disturbance moves slowly northwestward toward unfavorable upper-level winds later this week.”  (Credit: NHC)


Heat, potentially heavy rain, tropical storms popping up here and there on long-range forecast models — sounds kind of like summer, doesn’t it?

Looks like the switch has been flipped, and the Florida summer stretches out ahead like a Kansas highway, straight to the horizon and as far as the eye can see. Chances are the next time we see a meaningful cold front you’ll be picking out your kids’ Halloween costumes.

Even with the weekend’s front moving off the coast into the Atlantic, and slightly drier air moving into the peninsula, 90s were in plentiful supply north and south. Apalachicola hit 92 on Monday which busted a 69-year-old high temperature record of 91, set in 1949.

It was 94 in Destin, 93 in Punta Gorda, and 92 in Fort Myers and Tampa.

In South Florida, it was an unofficial 96 just west of Zoo Miami.

7 day precip

The southern half of the Florida peninsula is in for a wet weekend as tropical air moves north from the Caribbean. (Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)

Rain needs to come to the rescue of a well-baked landscape, and it looks like that may be the case this weekend when moisture begins streaming up from the Caribbean.

The seven-day precipitation forecast from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center continues to color South Florida red, which could mean 3-4 inches of rain for places like Miami-Dade County and near-shore areas of the Treasure Coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, meanwhile, is keeping close tabs on a developing system in the eastern Pacific, well off the coast of Mexico. Expect updates on this disturbance, already designated Invest 90E, Tuesday and through the rest of the week.

The GFS has been posting some tropical disturbances in the long-range Atlantic forecasts as well. These systems often disappear from the map as we get closer to the time frame, but for now it looks like the western Caribbean and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico has the potential to rustle up some tropical business mid-to late-month.

Even if some storms do spin up, it’s comforting to remember that early season activity does not always translate to an active season overall. July is often very quiet in the Atlantic tropics.

NOAA March forecast: More unusually warm and dry weather for Florida

A warm March for South Florida, left, was forecast by the Climate Prediction Center Thursday, while the 90-day precipitation forecast calls for dry conditions in all of Florida through May. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)

Expect more above-normal temperatures in March, particularly in the southern half of the Florida peninsula, forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said in their new long-range forecast released Thursday.

After a cool January, February has been above-normal around the state — significantly warmer than usual in places like Orlando and Tampa — and it looks like the meteorological spring will pick up where winter leaves off on March 1. (Meteorological spring runs from March 1-May 31.)

Dry conditions are finally taking hold this month across the peninsula, and the CPC is calling for below-normal precipitation statewide, not only across the peninsula but in the panhandle as well, right into May.

In Miami, high temperatures average 79-82 in March; 76-80 in Orlando and 74-78 in Tampa.

As a result of last weekend’s torrential rains in the Florida panhandle, drought conditions eased dramatically in areas west of Tallahassee. But nine counties are still in — or partially in — Moderate Drought, according to the latest assessment by the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday.

Severe Drought has disappeared, but much of the panhandle remains Abnormally Dry.

The peninsula has managed to avoid drought conditions this winter despite forecasts warning of drought development due to the La Niña in the tropical Pacific. But significant rainfall in January kept most of the state on an even keel.

That luck may be running out in February.

Miami and Naples are more than an inch behind in rainfall; and Fort Lauderdale’s and West Palm beach’s deficits are approaching an inch-and-a-half.

The Keys are about a half-inch to an inch short; and East-Central Florida locations are running deficits of around an inch. Tampa and a few areas on the West Coast, hammered by heavy rain the first weekend of the month, have slight precipitation surpluses for February.

SFL weekend forecast

Another spring-like weekend is on the horizon in South Florida. (Credit: NWS-Miami)