February-type temps expected over holiday weekend

NOAA upgrades Hurricane Michael to Category 5 in new post-season analysis

PHOTO - Hurricane Michael

(Image credit: NOAA)

Last fall’s Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a Category 5 at landfall — making it the first Category 5 storm to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Michael hit the coast with winds of 160 mph on October 10, 2018 near Mexico Beach, Florida.

The upgrade, made after “a detailed post-storm analysis” and announced Friday, also makes Michael one of only four Category 5 storms to strike the U.S. in recorded history. The others are the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969.

“Michael is also the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle and only the second known Category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf coast,” NOAA said in a news release.

“Category 5 winds were likely experienced over a very small area at and near the coast, and the change in estimated wind speeds is of little practical significance in terms of the impacts associated with the storm. Michael produced devastating winds and storm surge and was directly responsible for 16 deaths and about $25 billion in damage in the United States.”

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Gulf satellite

(Image credit: NOAA)

The cold front expected to rip across the Florida peninsula was developing in the Gulf of Mexico early Friday morning. A Coastal Flood advisory was in effect for the West Coast, along with high surf producing “very dangerous conditions” along the Gulf Coast.

In East-Central Florida, a High Wind Advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Forecasters said winds could gust up to 40 mph, except during thunderstorms, when they could gust “in excess” of 60 mph.

Heavy rain was possible anywhere on the peninsula. Look for a roundup of rainfall totals on Saturday. Fingers crossed for no severe weather or damaging storms.

EASTER SUNDAY: Since the holiday is so late this year, we might have expected steamy, tropical weather for Easter, but that will not be the case. Sunday’s forecast high in Miami is only 76 after a morning low of 66, with pleasant, dry air taking hold. The normal high in Miami is 84 and the normal low is 69.

West Palm Beach is forecast to start the day out at 60, which is the normal low for February 18.

Sunday morning’s Orlando temperature should sink to around 54 degrees, and reach a high of 79 under clear skies.

Tampa’s forecast low for Sunday morning is 57, with an expected high of 76.

In Jacksonville, wake-up weather looks like a rather chilly 51 degrees, but under lots of sun the forecast high is 77.

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RECORD WATCH: Naples tied a record high Thursday with 90, matching a record originally set in 1989. It was 89 in Marathon, which tied a record set in 2013 and 2015.

DROUGHT WATCH: Abnormally Dry conditions spread east across the panhandle in the new report by the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday. Dry conditions are now as far south and east as Levy County. The five western counties in the panhandle, from Escambia east to Holmes County, remain under Moderate Drought.

The only Abnormally Dry conditions on the peninsula are in Indian River and Brevard counties.

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Gainesville ties 111-year-old heat record; early week cold front to bring cooler temps

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(Image credit: NOAA/ SPC)

The storm system that’s causing all the messy weather in the central part of the U.S. could trigger some severe storms in the Florida panhandle and in North Florida on Sunday, the Storm Prediction Center says. But forecasters say the system is expected to move so quickly to the northeast that it won’t have much energy left by the time its associated cold front gets into Central and South Florida.

One good thing about the storm system: It’s expected to bring more seasonal conditions to the Florida peninsula.

“A noticeably drier (and ever so slightly cooler) air mass will spill into (South Florida) Monday night into Tuesday as high pressure builds into the area,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said Saturday.

CFL temps

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

After blistering temperatures near 90 around the Florida peninsula Friday and Saturday, April-appropriate weather looks to be on the way by the middle of next week.

The forecast low Tuesday morning in Orlando and Tampa: 61 degrees; Gainesville: 54; Lake City, 51; and Jacksonville, 56. Even interior areas of South Florida are forecast to sink into the low 60s.

RECORD WATCH: Friday’s high in Gainesville was 92, which tied a record for the date, set 111 years ago in 1908. Another record high was set in Marathon with 90 degrees, beating the previous record of 89 set in 2013.

Marathon posts record rainfall; forecasters predict 90 in Orlando by Friday

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The Florida peninsula was drying out on Wednesday from the northwest as the moisture that caused Tuesday’s rains moved off into the Atlantic. (Image credit: NOAA)

RAINFALL REPORT: The system from the Gulf of Mexico delivered some soaking rains to extreme southern Florida and the Keys on Tuesday, but many people in areas to the north just had wet windshields — or posted precipitation goose-eggs.

Even official totals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties were modest. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International picked up just 0.14 of an inch while Miami International reported 0.43 of an inch.

Naples measured 0.28 of an inch and only a trace of rain fell in West Palm Beach.

The South Florida rainfall winner was Homestead in Miami-Dade, where 1.63 inches was reported to the National Weather Service in Miami.

The heaviest rain seemed to hit from Homestead south into the Keys. Marathon picked up 0.95 of an inch, which set a daily rainfall record for April 9. The previous record was 0.54 of an inch set in 1993. Interesting to note that this was the 10th record in a row for Marathon this month — temperature records were set every day prior to the rainfall record.

Most locations in the Keys reported around a half-inch or a little more.

Southwest Florida, including Sarasota, reported about a quarter of an inch through CoCoRaHS, although an inland observer in Hillsborough County found more than a half-inch in his backyard bucket.

Officially, the National Weather Service measured 0.34 of an inch in Tampa, and 0.27 of an inch in Punta Gorda.

On the East-Central coast, Daytona Beach received 0.28 of an inch but Melbourne reported just a trace of rain and Vero Beach was dry.

In North Florida, Jacksonville received 0.31 of an inch and Gainesville measured a tenth of an inch.

Scattered showers are possible on Wednesday before things start to dry out Wednesday night and into Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

Next up: Near-record warm temperatures up and down the peninsula. Friday’s forecast highs include 90 in Orlando; 88 in Tampa; 90 in Fort Myers; and upper 80s on Florida’s southeast coast.

Stormy weather on the way; Fort Myers has first 90-degree day

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Blustery conditions were moving into the Florida panhandle on Monday and were forecast to spread over the peninsula on Tuesday.  (Image credit: NOAA)

SOUTH FLORIDA: “Periods of heavy rain are likely, especially Tuesday afternoon and evening when the storm threat is maximized, which could lead to localized ponding of water in poor drainage and urbanized areas,” National Weather Service forecasters said in Miami on Monday.

CENTRAL FLORIDA: Forecasters in Melbourne are predicting “bands of showers/storms rapidly crossing west-to-east over the peninsula.” Around three-quarters of an inch are expected from Daytona Beach to Titusville, with slightly lower amounts to the south.

WEST-CENTRAL FLORIDA: “Deep layer shear and sufficient instability suggest the potential for a few organized storms and some potential for isolated stronger wind gusts,” NWS forecasters in Tampa said.

NORTH FLORIDA: On Monday night and Tuesday, forecasters in Jacksonville are calling for “scattered strong storms area-wide with isolated severe storms through the day, with damaging winds the main threat, but large hail/isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.”

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The Florida peninsula was under a “Marginal” threat for severe weather on Tuesday, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center said. (Image credit: NOAA/ SPC)

Wet weather was already impacting the panhandle Sunday night into early Monday morning.

An observer for CoCoRaHS near Navarre, in Santa Rosa County in the western Florida panhandle just east of Pensacola, reported 1.71 inches of rain through 7 a.m. CDT Monday. Santa Rosa, along with Escambia to the west and Okaloosa to the east, were designated with Moderate Drought last week by the U.S. Drought Monitor, so the rainfall should be welcome.

North of the coast, observers in Escambia County reported around a half-inch of rain.

In the southern peninsula, an observer near Naples reported around a quarter of an inch of sea breeze generated rainfall on Sunday. Officially, Naples Municipal Airport measured 0.09 of an inch, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

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RECORD WATCH: Fort Myers scored its first 90-degree temperature of 2019 on Sunday with a high of 91, which busted the record high for the date. The previous record high for April 7 was 89, last set in 2015.

Naples had its second 90-degree high in a row, which tied a record high set in 2011.

Key West set a record warm low on Sunday with 78, beating the old record of 77 set in 2014. And Marathon continued its unbroken April streak of record-setting temperatures with a low of only 80. That broke the old record warm low of 77 set in 2014. Marathon has tied or broken record highs, and record warm lows, every day so far this month.

It was also the first 80-degree low of the year anywhere in Florida.

 

Record rainfall slams Miami; toasty weekend on tap for all of Florida

The front that drifted up from the Florida Straits Thursday dumped heavy rain in parts of South Florida, with Miami reporting a rainfall record.

The National Weather Service said 1.59 inches fell at Miami International Airport, breaking the daily record for April 4. The old record was 0.96 of an inch set in 1991.

A bit to the north in Pembroke Pines, a CoCoRaHS observer reported 3.56 inches while another observer near Weston reported 2.45 inches.

The National Weather Service in Miami said 3.25 inches fell in Davie; Miramar picked up 2.33 inches; and 1.34 inches fell in Hollywood.

Amounts elsewhere around the peninsula were light, although one observer near Delray Beach in Palm Beach County measured just short of a quarter of an inch, and others in West-Central Florida reported around a third of an inch.

After the rain moves out over the Atlantic — a line of showers was soaking Central Florida Friday morning — a taste of summer weather settles in for the weekend, according to forecasters, with highs in the upper 80s in interior areas east of Tampa and in South Florida.

Forecast highs near 90 are also on tap for Orlando.

Get those AC units tuned up.

Record high Marathon

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)

RECORD WATCH: Thursday’s high in Marathon was 89, which broke the previous record high of 88 set in 2009. Marathon has set a record high every day this month so far.

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WAITING ON JUNE: As the pre-season hurricane forecasters began dribbling in this week, Jeff Masters at Weather Underground noted in a blog post that, “On average, April forecasts of hurricane season activity have had no skill, since they must deal with the so-called ‘spring predictability barrier.’

“April is the time of year when the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon commonly undergoes a rapid change from one state to another, making it difficult to predict whether we will have El Niño, La Niña, or neutral conditions in place for the coming hurricane season.”

Colorado State University’s forecast, posted Thursday, called for 13 named storms, five hurricanes and two majors. But they predicted that Accumulated Cyclone Energy — a measure of the strength and duration of all storms — would be slightly below normal.

“The next CSU forecast, due on June 4, is worth paying more attention to,” Masters said. “Their late May/early June forecasts have shown considerable skill over the years.”

The hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30.

Coasts get a soaking; more rain possible as front makes a U-turn

The cold front that barreled down the peninsula on Tuesday dumped some heavy rain on both coasts, but overall coverage was sparse.

On the West Coast, a CoCoRaHS observer on Anna Maria Island north of Bradenton Beach reported a hefty 1.29 inches. On the East Coast, meanwhile, an observer on Singer Island reported 1.14 inches.

Northern Palm Beach County was a target of the late afternoon storms, with Jupiter reporting 0.62 of an inch while 0.56 of an inch fell in Juno Beach. The National Weather Service in West Palm Beach officially measured a third of an inch. Fort Lauderdale had only a trace of rain, meanwhile, and Miami reported no rain.

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Wednesday’s forecast map shows the stalled cold front that brought rain to the Florida peninsula on Tuesday stalled out in the Florida Straits. (Image credit: NOAA)

The front stalled in the Florida Straits and is forecast to move back to the north on Thursday, increasing rain chances again. After a drier weekend, forecasters expect another round of rain early next week.

RECORD WATCH: While parts of the central peninsula were getting soaked, it was sizzling in the Keys, with Marathon reaching another record high of 92. That absolutely obliterated the previous record high of 88 last set in 2017.

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THE FINAL RESULTS ARE IN! For the CoCoRaHS “March Madness” campaign, that is. South Carolina won the contest for the most number of new rainfall observers — 166. Florida came in fourth with 82 new observers.

New Mexico was second was 114, Minnesota was third with 89 and Texas rounded out the top five with 66.

At the end of the pack, Hawaii and Montana attracted no new participants.

But you can still sign up to participate in the U.S., Canada or the Bahamas.

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SPACE BULLETS: Up to 6,500 pieces of the Microsat-R Earth satellite are streaming above the Earth at speeds of 17,000 mph, according to Spaceweather.com, “small fragments in high orbits” that are are “circling the planet like tiny bullets ….”

The debris is from India’s March 27 anti-satellite weapons test. The problem is, solar minimum doubles or triples the time for pieces of the destroyed satellite to sink into the atmosphere and disintegrate, scientists say. The small fragments could remain in orbit for years, posing a threat to the International Space Station.

Beach erosion likely for Florida East Coast as Bahamas low revs up

Gale Warning

UPDATE: A Gale Warning was posted by the National Weather Service for Florida’s East Coast from Brevard County south , along with a High Surf Advisory for the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach. A Small Craft Advisory was issued for Biscayne Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The NWS office in Melbourne warned of heavy rain near the coast late Wednesday. A High Wind Advisory was in effect for East Coast inland areas. Winds were gusting up to 32 mph in Jacksonville Wednesday afternoon with 40 mph gusts possible. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

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Hold on to your hats.

Rain was spreading Wednesday into North Florida, Central Florida and the West Coast around a developing low pressure system that triggered a Wind Advisory from the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

In South Florida, the “driving weather feature the next few days as it deepens and drifts to the east-southeast,” forecasters in Miami said. “Pressure gradient is expected to tighten quickly this afternoon as this low takes shape, with gusty northwest and eventually north-northeast winds wrapping around the low into the region later today and into
Thursday. Main impacts will be across the local waters where gales are expected.”

High surf and beach erosion was also in the forecast for Florida’s East Coast.

In East-Central Florida, wind gusts of up to 35 mph were expected, making for hazardous driving. “Loose outdoor objects may be blown around,” forecasters said. “Minor damage to trees and limbs, power lines and some property is possible.”

Rain chances are at 40-60 percent in Central Florida through Thursday night; 40 percent in South Florida; but mostly clear skies are in the forecast for the West Coast.

CFL high end rain chances

Highest rain totals are expected to be in North-Central Florida. The graphic shows high-end rainfall probabilities. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

HERE’S WHAT’S NEXT: After a cool start to April, above normal temperatures are expected for most of the U.S. as we head toward the middle of the month.

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(Image credits: NOAA/ CPC)

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