September was driest on record in Florida, new report says

September FL rainfall

(Image credit: NOAA/ NCEI)

HOW DRY WE WERE: Florida had its driest September on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported Tuesday. Normally, September is the wettest month of the year — along with June — in South and Central Florida. But dry air enveloped the state from the panhandle to the Keys, causing drought conditions to move into the panhandle and northern tier of counties.

By county, Palm Beach, Collier, Lee, and Hendry counties had their driest September on record, as did all of the counties in the western panhandle. No county in the state had an above average, or even an average, month for rainfall.

In the southeastern U.S., Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia also had their driest September on record.

September was also the third-hottest on record in Florida, a trend that continued into October in the northern parts of the state and the panhandle.

Broward and Indian River had their hottest September.

RAINFALL REPORT: Some decent rains have fallen across the peninsula in the last few days — which should be enough to prevent drought from spreading south from the northern tier of Florida counties. However, dry conditions with abnormally low rainfall is in the new 6-10 day forecast from the Climate Prediction Center.

Wednesday morning 24 hour CoCoRaHS totals: 3.33 inches near Deerfield Beach; 1-1.5 inches Miami-Dade; 2.44 inches northeast of Tampa in Hillsborough County; 3.12 inches west of Orlando; and 3.5 inches near Daytona Beach.

“A weak front, deep moisture and support aloft will produce a high coverage of rain with embedded storms today,” National Weather Service forecasters in Melbourne said. “Bands of heavy rain initially along the Volusia coast this morning will develop south and west during the day. Up to 3 inches of rain possible in a short time. Motorists, slow down in heavy rain to reduce the risk of hydroplaning.”

COOL-DOWN COMING? The weekend of the 18-20, the GFS shows lows edging down into the low 50s in the western panhandle, with upper 60s across the peninsula. It’s not exactly Currier and Ives weather, but we’ll take it.

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center is continuing to watch three systems in the Atlantic. None of them are a threat to Florida, and development chances have been decreasing. The GFS is still showing longer-range development in the southern Caribbean, but it shoves the systems to the west into Central America.


September story: side-stepping storms, searing heat, and bone-dry weather

Tampa area driest

(Image credits, above and below: NWS-TampaBay)

Tampa records

Wasn’t that an interesting month? After staring down the barrel of one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded on the planet, Florida ended up with a wildly hot and dry September.

Eight tropical cyclones spun up in the Atlantic Basin during September, but Florida managed to dodge them all, and the only significant rains from Hurricane Dorian fell right at the coast.

As Dorian moved out of the way — followed later by Hurricane Jerry — the peninsula settled into a dry air flow that clamped down on precipitation from North Florida to the Keys.

Toward the end of the month, high pressure settled over the panhandle and brought record high temps that are forecast to continue well into October.

Tallahassee highs

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

September was record dry in Tallahassee with only a trace of rain all month, and the precipitation deficit topped 7 inches in Fort Lauderdale.

Sarasota had its hottest September on record while Tampa had its second-hottest behind 2018. And yes, it is in fact disturbing that many areas are beating, or falling just short of, records set just last year.

For example, Plant City had its second hottest September with an average temperature of 83.8 degrees — 80.3 is normal. But last September, Plant City turned in a final average temp of 84.9.

Incredibly dry conditions were recorded all over the peninsula. Chiefland, Punta Gorda, St. Petersburg and Venice all had their driest September ever, with Chiefland checking in with just 0.43 of an inch all month.

Tampa managed to squeeze out 1.46 inches, the sixth driest since record keeping began there in 1890.

Weather patterns appeared to be changing as October began, but the more interesting shifts may be coming next week, when a cold front moves into the state from the north, and deep tropical moisture streams up from the south.

“The end of the forecast period is very uncertain and will need to be monitored as the week progresses,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Tuesday.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Miami Monday was 80 degrees, which tied a record warm minimum for the date, set in 1989. Fort Lauderdale tied a record warm low with 79, matching the mark set in 2015.


(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center began watching two disturbances on Monday night, one in the western Caribbean and one just north of Hispaniola. They were each given a 10 percent chance of development.

The Caribbean system is apparently headed for the Gulf of Mexico, but it could play into Florida’s weather during the coming week, and possibly beyond, according to forecasters, by pumping tropical moisture into the peninsula.

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)


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.


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.

Hottest May on record in Melbourne; Gulf system ramps up

Three Florida cities set or tied all-time monthly temperature records in May.

It was the hottest May on record in Melbourne, the National Weather Service reported, with an average temperature of 79.4 degrees. That beat the previous record warm May of 79.1 degrees — set just two years ago in 2017.

“An interesting note is that there were no record high temperatures set in May at Melbourne,” National Weather Service forecasters in Melbourne said Sunday. “However, the average of the low temperatures this May was 72.3 degrees, which is the highest on record, beating out 71.6 degrees in 2018.”

It was also the warmest May in Gainesville, with an average temperature of 80.7 degrees. It broke the previous record warm May of 80.1 set way back in 1899.

Sarasota-Bradenton temperatures in May tied 1995 for the warmest May on record.

MORE RECORDS: Miami tied a record high Saturday with 93, matching a mark set in 2004. In the Keys, Marathon set a new record high with 94, beating the old record of 92 set in 2003. Marathon also set a new record warm low with 84, beating the old record of 82 set in 2017.

Fort Myers tied a record warm minimum temperature Saturday with 77, last set in 2003. And Sanford broke a record warm minimum with 76, beating the old record of 75 set in 2004.

Tampa tied a record warm minimum with 79, matching a mark set in 2004.

RECORD RAINFALL: Apalachicola picked up 3.23 inches of rain Saturday, swamping the old record for June 1 of 0.92 of an inch set way back in 1939.


Sunday afternoon forecast tracks for Invest 91L. (Image credit: SFWMD)

The low pressure system in the southern Gulf of Mexico looked a little more impressive Sunday morning, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami gave it a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Barry, as it moves north off the coast of Mexico.

A big determining factor with what has been designated Invest 91L is how close it gets to land over the next several days. GFS Ensemble members show 91L staying off shore until around mid-week when it could potentially spin into northeastern Mexico.

None of the intensity forecast models (so far) show much beyond a minimal tropical storm for 91L, although water temperatures are warm in the Bay of Campeche and wind shear is low, according to Jeff Masters at Weather Underground.

In a blog post Saturday, Masters had an interesting observation, comparing this year’s weak El Niño to 2004, which was notorious for its landfalling storms and hurricanes that pummeled Florida.

“We currently have a weak El Niño event in progress in the Pacific, but most of the warming of the waters there is occurring in the Central Pacific, rather than the Eastern Pacific,” he said. “Central Pacific-focused El Niño events tend to have less of a dampening effect on Atlantic hurricane activity.

“It is good to remember that 2004, which featured a weak Central Pacific-based El Niño event similar in some respects to the 2019 El Niño event, was one of the most active on record for U.S. landfalling hurricanes: six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes (Charley, Ivan, and Jeanne), made U.S. landfalls that year.”

He said there are some “striking similarities” in current sea surface temperatures and those of May 2004, and concluded: “It would not be a surprise if the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season ended up more active than average, given the late-May similarities in SST and El Niño between 2004 and 2019.”

NOAA predicted 9-15 named storms in its May 23 forecast. If we only had nine, that would put us to Imelda. Fifteen named storms would put us to Olga.

Colorado State University’s forecast called for 13 named storms; Tropical Storm Risk (United Kingdom) called for 12; North Carolina State University said 13-16 (average 14.5); The Weather Channel went with 14; and the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s official weather forecasting service, went with 13.

The average for all six forecasting entities is 13 named storms and six hurricanes.

More than 3 inches of rain soak Broward County; panhandle expecting weekend storms

April climate data CFL

APRIL WRAP: It was a warm month over most of the Florida peninsula, with highs topping out over 90 degrees in several Central Florida cities. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Parts of Broward County were slammed with more than 3 inches of rain — and Tampa picked up almost an inch and a half — as the year’s first tropical disturbance rolled up the Florida peninsula’s East Coast on Thursday.

Some of the highlights:

The National Weather Service in Miami said Weston, in Broward County, received 3.30 inches.

A CoCoRaHS observer north of Port Charlotte reported 2.74 inches; and an observer southeast of the National Weather Service office in Ruskin reported 2.54 inches.

Unofficially, a CoCoRaHS observer in Lake Worth reported 1.05 inches, and an observer in Lantana reported 1.71 inches to the National Weather Service.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: 2.12 inches; West Palm Beach, 0.63; and Miami, 0.14. Naples picked up only a trace of rain from this system. Unofficially, a CoCoRaHS observer in Lake Worth reported 1.05 inches, and an observer in Lantana reported 1.71 inches to the National Weather Service.

Tampa: 1.39; Fort Myers, 0.55; Orlando, 0.75; Melbourne, 0.18; and Fort Pierce, 0.39.

There was no rain in Marathon and Key West on Thursday.

Rain chances on the peninsula remain high through the weekend, the National Weather Service said, but it doesn’t look like a washout. Forecasters predict that a weak cold front will stall out in Central Florida early next week.

RECORD WATCH: Daytona Beach broke a record warm low Thursday with 73, beating the previous record of 71 set in 2010.

Marathon broke a record high with 93, beating the old record high of 90 set in 2005.

Severe storms panhandle

Another round of severe weather is possible across the Florida panhandle Saturday night into Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The peninsula’s East Coast is at risk of thunderstorms on Saturday, and the entire peninsula is at risk for thunderstorms on Sunday. (Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

Hurricane Center says Bahamas low has tropical potential

National Weather Service in Miami calls for “heavy rainfall and flooding of poorly drained areas” as tropical disturbance approaches.

  • Up to 3 inches of rain possible.
  • Highest potential rainfall from Fort Lauderdale to Jupiter.


The National Hurricane Center began watching an area of low pressure over the Bahamas Wednesday, and forecasters gave it a 20 percent chance of tropical or subtropical development over the next five days.

Forecasters said “little development” was likely as it moves over the Florida peninsula, but “some slow development is possible as the disturbance turns northeastward and moves over the western Atlantic.”

It has not been designated as an invest, so forecast model runs are not yet available.

The first name on the 2019 list is Andrea.


May forecast

MAY OUTLOOK: The May forecast was released Tuesday by NOAA, calling for more above average temperatures in Florida and a slight chance of above normal precip across the state. Rainfall usually edges up in Florida during May anyway, and the month can be quite wet. The rainy season normally begins during mid-May in South Florida and the end of May in Central Florida. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)


The low pressure system near the Bahamas was already kicking up winds in South Florida Wednesday morning, and showers were streaming onshore from the Atlantic.

A wind gust of 31 mph was recorded at the Lake Worth Pier.

Gusty winds are forecast by the National Weather Service to continue through Thursday with rain chances as high as 70 percent along the East Coast.

NWS Miami: “The moisture surge and associated mid and upper-level low pressure is quite evident over the Bahamas and looks like it will stick together as it approaches South Florida.”

NWS Melbourne: “Sufficient instability will exist for at least isolated thunderstorms to also develop, mainly in the afternoon and evening hours, producing dangerous lightning strikes, gusty winds and locally heavy rainfall.”

It could be a wet couple of days across the entire peninsula, with the heaviest precipitation on the East Coast. The National Weather Service posted high end rainfall amounts of between 2-3 inches in some locations.


ANOTHER WARM DAY ACROSS THE WESTERN PENINSULA: Tampa hit 91, but again the humidity was low — in the mid- to upper-30 percent range. It ws also 91 in Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, and Brooksville. Gainesville also made it to 91.


APRIL WRAP: Miami, Tampa, and Orlando finished April 2-3 degrees above average. Miami and Tampa had near-normal rainfall, while Orlando was more than an inch short for April.

More data on how Florida fared during April should be coming in over the next couple of days.  Many areas of the state received sufficient rainfall to wipe out Moderate Drought and Abnormally Dry conditions, but there are still quite a few dry spots, including Orlando and some parts of South Florida such as West Palm Beach.

Melbourne and Vero Beach came up around a half-inch short, but Daytona Beach rainfall was 1.53 inches above average for April.

March was warm and dry across the state; forecasters predict wetter April


The Storm Prediction Center has pulled South Florida out of the “Marginal” risk for severe weather on Tuesday, but Central Florida remains under the gun. Thunderstorms and small hail are possible, forecasters said. (Image credit: NOAA/ SPC)


Happy April 1st. March was warm and dry across the Florida peninsula and the Keys — and that’s no foolin’!

Miami’s average high was 81.3 degrees with an average low of 66.2 — an overall 1.1 degrees above the March 30-year average. At the same time, Miami had a March precipitation shortfall of 1.09 inches.

Interesting to note that it was the sixth warmer-than-average month out of the last seven in Miami, and the only reason it wasn’t eight straight is that January had slightly below average temperatures.

Orlando had a bone-dry March with just 0.56 of an inch of rain. That was 3.21 inches below average. Temperatures in the city were 1.3 degrees above normal with an average high of 78.8 and an average low of 57.7.

Tampa racked up 1.87 inches of rain but that was still 1.16 inches short. The average high was 77.9 and the average low was 60.3, which was 1.8 degrees above average.

In North Florida, Jacksonville had 2.04 inches — about half of normal March precip — while temps were 0.7 of a degree warmer than normal, with an average high of 73.9 and an average low of 51.

Following the warm and dry pattern across the state, Gainesville ended the month an impressive 3.8 degrees above the 30-year average, and the city was almost two-and-a-half inches shy of normal rainfall. The average high was 78.7 with an average low of 53.6.

Key West was 2.9 degrees above the March average and was short on rainfall by a quarter of an inch. Marathon finished the month 3.7 degrees on the plus side with a precipitation deficit of 1.49 inches.

Tallahassee was short almost 3 inches in March rainfall and had slightly above normal temperatures.

April precip


April temps

(Image credits: NOAA/ CPC)

APRIL OUTLOOK: April temps climb steadily in Florida, from a normal high of 82 in Miami on April 1 to 85 on April 30. Lows go from 74 to 78. In Orlando, normals rise from 80 to 85 and lows jump from 58 to 63. In Tampa, highs warm from 78 on April 1 to 84 on April 30, while lows rise from 61 to 66. Temperatures of 90 or better are common around the peninsula in April — the month’s record high in Tampa is 96, set two years ago on April 29.

The new April forecast, released Sunday by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, calls for high chances of above normal temperatures across the entire state along with above normal precipitation. Precipitation usually edges up around Central and South Florida as we head toward the end of the dry season on May 15.

TROPICS: Tropical storms can form in April in both the Atlantic and Pacific. The most recent Atlantic tropical storm was Arlene, which initiated a very busy and costly season on April 19, 2017. Tropical Storm Ana formed on April 20, 2003. An unnamed tropical depression formed on April 14, 1912; and a subtropical storm formed on April 21, 1992. The first tropical depression of the 1973 season formed on April 18.

Colorado State University releases its first hurricane season forecast on Thursday.