Tropical wave to soak South Florida after more than a foot falls in the north

NFL rainfall totals

ABOVE: Parts of Florida’s Big Bend area were smacked with more than a foot of rain over the weekend, and flooding closed schools and roads. It could actually have been worse — up to 30 inches fell just off-shore of the Dixie County/ Taylor County line, according to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. It was not a named storm, but local law enforcement officials said they treated it as one. (Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

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BELOW: The rainfall focus switches to South Florida on Tuesday as a tropical wave moves in from the Bahamas. The wave is triggering showers and thunderstorms all the way down into the Caribbean; South Florida is getting the northern edge of it. The National Hurricane Center is not predicting tropical development of this system. (Image credit: NOAA)

Full Disk - Clean Longwave Window - IR

BELOW: High-end rain chances for South Florida through Thursday. Heaviest totals should be on the West Coast, forecasters said. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

SFL rainfall

 

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Hurricane Center tracking 97L; flooding closes schools, roads near Gulf Coast

Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR

(Image credit: NOAA)

TROPICS WATCH: The low pressure system off the East Coast looked pretty healthy Monday morning and it was designated Invest 97L by the National Hurricane Center. But forecasters’ earlier analysis that there was “a slight chance for significant organization to occur” was shifted in the 8 a.m. outlook to “significant development of this system is now unlikely.”

Nevertheless, they were giving the system a 10 percent chance of becoming a depression, or Tropical Storm Chantal, as it moves toward the northeast 200 miles east of Norfolk, Virginia. It was no threat to the U.S. in any case, although some of the forecast models have been showing 97L spinning out into the open Atlantic and then making a turn toward the southeast.

It was the only tropical game in town on Monday — forecast models were showing nothing else in the Atlantic over the next seven to 10 days.

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North Florida rainfall

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

WAY TOO MUCH WATER: Ongoing flooding in Levy County and Dixie County in the northwest peninsula has taken a toll, with as many as 30 roads closed due to high water and schools closed in Dixie County, according to WCJB Gainesville.

Cedar Key School was also closed on Monday.

Seven inches of rain fell in Cross City in one hour, WUFT Florida Public Radio reported. Ten to 12 inches were reported in western Dixie County, and seven people were rescued from flood waters. Forty-five homes were flooded and a shelter was set up for those forced to evacuate.

“Rain will significantly drop off today and we may even see some sun,” Levy County Emergency Management officials said on the agency’s Facebook page Monday. “Significant flooding is still happening throughout the county and several roads are still flooded.”

“If you are stuck in your home and have no way of getting out, please call us at 352-486-5155 or 352-486-5111. If you experience an emergency, please call 911.”

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RECORD WATCH: Unusually balmy nights have taken hold in the Keys. Key West tied a record warm low Sunday with 85, matching the mark last set in 2014. Marathon’s low of 84 tied a record warm low set in 2017.

Saturday heat: Florida … or Alaska?

WFL rain

Counties north of Tampa remained under a Flood Watch Sunday. “Many rivers and creeks are near or above flood stage,” National Weather Service forecasters said. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

Lots has been written this month about temperatures in Alaska, which had its hottest July on record. Several cities reported their first ever 90 degree temperatures. People flocked to the beaches. Vegetables were being planted and grown successfully that had never been grown in Alaska before.

Here’s an interesting note from Saturday: The high in Gainesville, Florida was 10 degrees cooler than the high in Kodiak, Alaska, where the temperature topped out at a balmy 86.

Gainesville’s high was only 76 — a record cool high for the date. It broke the old record of 78 set in 1962.

The high in Jacksonville was 79, which broke a 97-year-old record. The previous record cool high was 82 degrees set in 1922.

Of course, with a frontal boundary draped over North Florida, there wasn’t much sun to heat things up. Many areas were rain-cooled.

To the south and west, Crystal River on the Gulf Coast was hammered with 6.30 inches of rain, according to a CoCoRaHS observer.

In South Florida, West Palm Beach checked in with 1.10 inches on Saturday, bringing the August total to 10.19 inches. That’s 6.02 inches above where the city should be at this point in the month. The August record, by the way, is 20.12 inches set in 1995.

Conditions are forecast to dry out in South Florida until a couple of tropical waves arrive mid-week and for the weekend, the National Weather Service says. No tropical development is on the radar, except for the disturbance off the coast of the Carolinas, which was given a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone as it moves northeast over the Atlantic.

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(Image credit: NHC)

The long-tracking systems that usually emerge off the coast of Africa this year — and cause considerable nail-biting on the islands as well as the Florida peninsula — are noticeably absent this year. For now.

Heavy rain chances diminish in North Florida and Central Florida by mid-week, but expect more seasonal afternoon showers, the National Weather Service says.

More than 6 inches of rain soaks North Florida; remembering Camille … and Andrew

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(Image credit: NHC)

Citrus County in northwestern Florida was slammed with 6.66 inches of rain Friday and early Saturday morning as an area of low pressure — the tail end of a frontal boundary — revved up in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

The system grabbed the attention of the National Hurricane Center Friday night, and forecasters said it had a 20 percent chance of becoming the next tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Chantal, over the next five days when it reaches the Atlantic near Georgia or the Carolinas.

It was the only game in town in an otherwise dead-quiet August. It’s the first color on the NHC Tropical Weather Outlook map since August 4, when a couple of systems fizzled out in the Atlantic.

But tropical weather news this weekend has been dominated by the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille’s landfall on the Mississippi coast with winds of 175 mph.

Hurricane Camille
Track of Hurricane Camille in 1969. (Image credit: NOAA)

Here’s the National Weather Service’s article on Camille and the very thorough piece by Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters, including the long-standing debate on whether there was, or was not, a hurricane party, can be accessed here.

Twenty-four days away from the peak of the hurricane season, there’s a natural tendency to wonder if the Atlantic coast may get away free and clear this year, despite the updated outlook issued by NOAA last week calling for an above normal season. Saturday’s run of the GFS showed  nothing of major significance through September 2.

But it’s worth remembering that 27 years ago on Friday, not a single named storm had spun up in the Atlantic all season, a genuine climate oddity for the middle of August. But August 16, 1992 was the day that a tropical depression formed in the eastern Atlantic, and it sputtered its way west, becoming Tropical Storm Andrew the next day. It was named Hurricane Andrew on August 22.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Northwest Florida, from around Crystal River and Cedar Key up to Cross City, was under a Flood Warning Saturday, and a Flood Watch extended as far south as New Port Richey and as far north as Perry, southeast of Tallahassee.

Tampa officially measured 1.41 inches of rain through 7 p.m. Friday. Sarasota reported a 3.29-inch deluge, shattering a 49-year-old rainfall record. The previous mark was 2.10 inches set in 1970.

Fort Myers also set a record with 1.84 inches, busting the old record of 1.48 inches set in 2015.

Rainy weekend for North Florida, but South expected to dry out

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UPDATE: Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center began tracking the low pressure system in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Friday night, giving it a 10 percent chance of tropical development over the next two days and a 20 percent chance over the next five days.  (Image credit: NHC)

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North Florida rainfall

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

ORIGINAL POST: There’s good news and bad news as the weekend begins. The bad news is many western counties and areas of southeastern Florida were still under a Flood Watch on Friday. Showers and thunderstorms were moving on to the Nature Coast north of Tampa Friday morning — soaking areas that are already saturated from a week worth of heavy rainfall.

The ground is so saturated on the western Florida peninsula — and the southeast coast, too — it doesn’t take much rain to produce ponding and flooded roadways.

On top of that, North Florida and the panhandle are looking at a very wet weekend, due to a frontal boundary that’s streaming copious amounts of moisture  into the area from the Gulf of Mexico. The National Weather Service in Tallahassee is calling for 5-7 inches of rain around Cross City.

The good news is that many parts of the peninsula to the south will see drier weather on Saturday. Precipitation chances fall to 20 percent on the southeast coast, according to the National Weather Service. They’ll remain around 40 percent in the Tampa and Orlando areas, but that’s down from the 80 percent they had late in the week. 

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July temperature anomalies have been rising fast since the 1950s. (Image credit: NOAA)

GLOBAL MELTDOWN: No, we’re not talking about global financial markets here. July was the warmest month in recorded history worldwide, NOAA said Thursday.

July temperatures on land and sea were 1.71 degrees above the 20th century average, beating the previous warmest July, in 2016, by 0.05 of a degree.

Global temperature records began in 1880.

The U.S., however, had some cool spots and the July temperature for the contiguous 48 states was 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the 27th warmest on record. Oklahoma and Arkansas had below normal temperatures, most of the U.S. West had close to normal temps, while the East Coast, including Florida, was above normal.

Florida had its seventh-warmest July on record, while Connecticut and Rhode Island had their second-warmest July.

Alaska had its warmest July since record keeping began there in 1925. Africa also had its warmest July. And the sea ice extent in the Arctic was the smallest since satellite records began in 1979.

Tropics: Will this Atlantic hurricane season echo 1982?

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The 1982 hurricane season was the last year the Atlantic had no tropical storms or hurricanes from July 15 to August 19. (Image credit: NASA/ NHC Atlantic Hurricane Database)

The dead-quiet hurricane season is getting attention from experts who wonder just how unprecedented it is to have had no named storms during both the second half of July and the first half of August.

The last named storm was Barry, which expired on July 14. The National Hurricane Center is predicting no tropical development through at least August 19. The last time there were no storms in the Atlantic from July 15 to August 19 was 1982, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach.

That year, there were only six named storms; two of them occurred in June, and there were three in September. There were three unnamed tropical depressions that year; this season so far there has been one.

Forecast models have been suggesting the possibility of this quiet period lasting all the way through the end of the month. How unusual is that?

A quiet tropical period from July 15 to August 31 happened only twice since hurricane records began in 1851, Klotzbach said in a Twitter post. That was in 1914 and 1922.

In 1914, only one tropical storm formed all season, and that was on September 15. One and done, with no hurricanes. It was the slowest tropical storm season on record.

The 1922 season had five tropical storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane, along with nine depressions that never made it to tropical storm status.

The lack of tropical storm formation is particularly noteworthy this year, since an El Niño in the Pacific ended and NOAA hiked its seasonal outlook on August 4 to as many as 17 named storms. The NOAA range was 10-17, making the average 13.5 — still an above-average season.

El Niño zaps tropical development by producing high wind shear in the Atlantic. That’s been one of the big issues this season, an indication that atmospheric conditions haven’t yet caught up with changes in tropical Pacific.

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RAINFALL REPORT: Another day, another Flood Watch. Florida’s Southeast Coast is under a Flood Watch Thursday until 8 p.m., as is the West Coast from Cedar Key south to Fort Myers. Things may dry out a bit over the weekend as high pressure moves over the state, but forecasters say there’s enough moisture in the air to keep rain chances up to 50 percent, focused on interior areas.

Tampa set a precipitation record Wednesday with 2.59 inches of rain. It broke the old record for August 14 of 2.11 inches set in 2013. Several CoCoRaHS observers in Hillsborough County reported close to 4 inches. And an observer in Hernando County, west of Brooksville, measured 5.43 inches.

RECORD WATCH: In the Keys, Marathon reported a record warm low on Wednesday of 85 degrees. That beat the previous record of 84 set in 2010 and 2017. Orlando tied a record warm low with 77, matching the mark last set in 2016.

Soggy August continues; homes flooding on Nature Coast

Hurricane history

STAY ON GUARD: A very informative graphic from the National Weather Service in Tampa reminding people that we’re entering the peak of the hurricane season. So far, nothing of major concern is showing up on model runs, but that can change quickly. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

Florida’s super-saturated — but tropical storm-free — August keeps on keeping on as we head into mid-week, with the National Weather Service in Tampa issuing warnings about home flooding in western counties.

“Very saturated soil caused by heavy widespread rain over west central Florida has caused many areas to be over-saturated,” TampaBay forecasters said Wednesday. “This has caused local street flooding daily with areas of heavy rain. Also we are seeing a few reports of homes beginning to flood along the Nature Coast.”

A Flood Watch was in effect for Florida’s West Coast from Crystal River south to Fort Myers and east to Sebring, Lakeland and Wildwood, the National Weather Service said.

Sarasota was socked with 1.15 inches of rain; Punta Gorda, 1.29;

North of that, a Heat Advisory was in effect for most of North Florida and the panhandle, with some areas expecting “feels like” temperatures up to 110 degrees.

Torrential rain hit the East Coast on Tuesday as well. An observer in Miramar reported 5.38 inches to the National Weather Service in Miami, while Miami International Airport officially reported 2.39 inches. Hollywood checked in with 2.36 inches.

To the north in Stuart, a CoCoRaHS observer said 3.73 inches fell in his backyard bucket.

Maximum heat index readings: Jacksonville, 109; Gainesville, 103; Orlando, 102; West Palm Beach, 102; Miami, 101; and Tampa, 100.