Gulf low could trigger another weekend soaking, forecasters say

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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)

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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:

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(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.

Forecasters see wet June giving way to much drier conditions in July

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The new long-range forecast issued Friday is for drier conditions to kick off July. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

With the exception of the Keys, locations around the Florida peninsula have been running fairly hefty precipitation surpluses in June, despite a dry start to the month. Two other exceptions are Vero Beach, which was down about a half-inch on Friday, and West Palm Beach, which had a slight rainfall deficit.

Naples picked up lost ground on Friday after a 1.76-inch shellacking.

Precipitation has been a little more spotty on the West Coast, in fact. Tampa has an impressive rainfall surplus of 2.83 inches, but Fort Myers is down 1.84 inches for the month.

In the North, both Jacksonville and Gainesville are on the plus side. (Tallahassee has a precip deficit of just under an inch, despite a wet week in the panhandle.)

But NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a U-turn, with below normal rainfall in Florida for the final month of June, and the first half of July. In fact, the new week three and four precipitation forecast suggests dry conditions through the entire tier of southern states, from New Mexico east to the Carolinas and up into southern New England.

A drier July is par for the course in Florida, but rainfall normally rises as we move into September.

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JUST ANOTHER DAY (FINALLY): Friday was only the second day this month that Marathon didn’t post a record temperature, either a record high or a record warm low, or both. The average high in June through the 14th was 95.6 degrees, with an average low of 84.1. Marathon had three days in a row — June 8, 9, and 10 — in which the low was only 86, the warmest low ever recorded for the month.

That also tied the all-time record warm low previously recorded in July, August and September.

The official all-time record warm low for the Keys is 87, which occurred on multiple occasions in July and August in Key West.

Friday’s low in Marathon was 76, the coolest of the month and the first low in the 70s for city since May 28. One reason: Marathon received 1.06 inches of rain, the first precipitation of the month. The city still has a shortfall of 1.31 inches.

Key West has measured just 0.13 of an inch in June through Friday, a precipitation shortfall of 1.82 inches. Most of that fell on Friday — 0.12 of an inch, the heftiest total since May 16.

It’s always worth noting that although records in Key West go all the way back to 1872, Marathon records only go back to 1950.

Rainy season outlook: wet & warm; the astonishingly short life of STS Andrea

Rainy season outlook

COMING THIS SUMMER: The National Weather Service in Miami issued its rainy season outlook  on Wednesday, calling for above normal rainfall early and a drier second half. Balmy overnight lows are in the forecast as well. The South Florida rainy season runs from May 15-October 15. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

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MEMORIAL DAY MELT-UP: The weekend heat wave has already begun in parts of North Florida and the panhandle, with more sizzling temps to come. It was 97 in Crestview; 95 in Gainesville; and 94 in Tallahassee. It was in the 90s all the way down the West Coast, with Sarasota and Winter Haven topping out at 94.

Naples tied a record high with 92, matching a mark last set in 2015.

On the East Coast, Melbourne set a record warm low Thursday with 78, which broke the record for the date of 76 set in 2017.

Away from the East Coast, which will be cooled by winds off the Atlantic this weekend, look for highs in the upper 90s to near 100, the National Weather Service says.

Weekend heat

(Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)

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TROPICS WATCH: Invest 91E in the eastern Pacific has meandered off the coast of Mexico this week, its chances of tropical development waxing and waning. On Friday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami was still giving the system a 20-30 percent chance of becoming the northeastern Pacific’s first depression or named storm over the next two to five days.

NOAA’s GFS and its successor — the FV3-GFS, which NOAA officials said Thursday would become the operational American model in mid-June — have more or less shrugged off tropical development in the Caribbean and/or Gulf of Mexico the first week in June.

But two other models, the Canadian (CMC) and the Navy’s NAVGEM model, seem to be picking up where the GFS models left off, depicting a weak Gulf of Mexico system. The European (ECMWF) has remained aloof, predicting nothing through at least June 3.

Last year there were no tropical storms in the Atlantic in June, but there were two in 2017, and three in 2016.

Here’s a link to the full NOAA news release on the agency’s 2019 hurricane season forecast, which was announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon in Washington.

NOAA predicted nine to 15 named storms, four to eight hurricanes and two to four majors. That’s a pretty wide spread. Nine storms would make it well below normal and the slowest season since 2014, while 15 would be quite robust, matching last year’s total. The average is around 12.

Maybe we’ll get a better handle with Colorado State University’s updated forecast, due out June 4.

One interesting note: CSU hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach said on Twitter that Subtropical Storm Andrea, which kicked off the season this month, was the shortest “A” storm in the Atlantic since Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978. Andrea was active for 0.75 days.

More severe weather possible in parts of Florida this weekend, forecasters say

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WET WEEK AHEAD? The long-range forecast for Florida, and much of the nation, is for above normal rainfall during the second week of May. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The tropical disturbance that caught the attention of the National Hurricane Center during the week is long gone — it was kicking up showers and storms off the coast of the Carolinas on Saturday — but it left some severe weather in its wake on the Florida peninsula.

Friday afternoon storms triggered several weather advisories in southeast metro areas, including a Tornado Warning in Palm Beach County, a Flood Advisory, and several severe thunderstorms warnings (referred to these days as a “Significant Weather Advisory.”)

Winds gusted up to 60 mph, according to TV reports, and there were reports of roof damage to some structures in inland Palm Beach County.

“There was that real distinct sound that I’ve heard before, that choochoo train came into my yard,” a resident of Loxahatchee told WPTV in West Palm Beach.

“And then I watched it go to my neighbor’s house and I could hear the metal start to tear off, I could hear it buckling clattering and I could see the funnel cloud.”

CoCoRaHS observers reported more than 2 inches of rain in Palm Beach County and in Miami-Dade, and up to an inch in Broward County.

Storms were reported in northeastern Florida as well. An observer in Jacksonville reported 1.63 inches. And in Central Florida west of Melbourne, an observer reported 2.65 inches.

The West Coast was mostly dry.

“Another active weather day is expected across South Florida,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Saturday on Twitter. “Showers & storms will develop by early afternoon along the sea breezes, and move toward the east coast late day. Like yesterday, there may be a few strong storms with heavy rain, gusty winds & small hail.”

Precipitation probabilities are in the 60-70 percent range in East Coast areas of South Florida and Central Florida through the weekend, and 20-50 percent in northeast Florida. Rain chances are low in southwest Florida, but 40 percent in the Tampa area this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Florida seems firmly established in tropical air as the week ends, and 90-plus temperatures were reported from Orlando to the Keys. Key West tied a record warm low with 80 on Friday, matching a mark last set in 2007. Marathon set a record high with 92 and a record warm low with 82, which smashed the old record of 79 set in 2007.

Dew points in South Florida are up into the low 70s range, typical of the rainy season that generally begins in mid-May. Even in Orlando, dew points hovered near 70 degrees on Friday.

RECORD WATCH: In addition to the record-setting temperatures in the Keys, Daytona Beach tied a record warm low Friday with 72, matching a record previously set in 2010. The low was 73 in Sanford, which also tied a record low set in 2010.