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.”


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.


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.


Severe weather possible statewide on Friday, forecasters say

Daytona Beach breaks 90-year-old temperature record

Friday storm potential

(Image credit: NOAA/ SPC)

It’s early in the week and things can change, but most of the Florida peninsula is at risk for severe weather for Friday into Friday night, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

The official forecast is for a “Slight” risk for the state, which translates to a 15 percent possibility of strong storms.

The SPC risk categories range from Marginal to Slight to Enhanced to Moderate to High. The strong storm system that is expected to sweep through the southern Great Lakes around mid-week will bring some Enhanced chances of severe weather possibilities to Texas, Arkansas and Missouri before targeting the East Coast on Friday and Saturday.

National Weather Service in Melbourne: “A trailing strong cold front is forecast to cross the forecast area during the day Friday into Friday evening, accompanied by a band of strong to possibly severe storms.” They added: “The primary threat should be straight line winds.”

NWS Jacksonville: “Models are also showing widespread rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches of rain, so minor flooding cannot be ruled out as well. Strong and isolated severe storms are likely to move through the region on Friday, especially if the storms come through during the time of peak heating, with all modes of severe weather possible.”

Unusually warm temperatures should be the rule around Florida until the cold front arrives, with highs in the 90s on the West Coast and in interior areas.

More record warm low temperatures were broken on Sunday. The low in Daytona Beach was only 72, which busted a record that had been on the books for 90 years. The old record warm low was 71 set on April 14, 1929.


  • Orlando had a low of 71, which beat the old mark of 70 set in in 1974.
  • Melbourne’s low of 74 was a degree warmer than the 73-degree record set in 2014.
  • Vero Beach set a record with 75, a degree warmer than the old record of 74 set in 1980.
  • Fort Pierce’s low of 74 beat a record low of 73 set way back in 1948.
  • Jacksonville’s low of 70 tied a record set in 1947.
  • Gainesville’s low of 72 broke a record of 70 set in 1994.
  • In South Florida, Miami’s low of 78 tied a record set in 1975.
  • Fort Lauderdale’s 79 degree low beat the previous record warm low of 77 set in 2015.
  • Naples’ low of 74 was a degree warmer than the old record of 73 set in 1978.
  • And in the Keys, Marathon’s low of 82 was a degree warmer than the previous record of 81 set in 2013. That 82 is also the warmest low so far this year anywhere in Florida.

After slight cool-down, more record temps expected in Florida by mid-week

NFL storms

Parts of the Central Florida panhandle were under a Tornado Watch Sunday morning as a cold front approached. North Florida expected strong storms, but the squall line was forecast to weaken Sunday night into Monday as the front associated with the system slides down the peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)


TORRID TEMPS IN TUNDRA: Canada’s Central Yukon Territory is the warmest its been in 13,600 years, researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga have concluded in a new study.

Paleoclimatologists, who use radiocabon dating preserved in permafrost, along with other methods, were able to reconstruct summer temperatures over the last 13,600 years. They found that temperatures are nearly 2 degrees Celsius warmer than any previous summers during the Holocene period.

“We’re seeing the evidence right now that climate warming is destabilizing permafrost in northern Canada and releasing greenhouse gases,” said lead author Trevor Porter. “This is potentially the new normal and, if it accelerates in the near future, it threatens to further amplify global climate change.”

In March, the temperature soared to an unprecedented 71 degrees in Yohin Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories and 76 in Tofino, British Columbia. Temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at more than twice the rate of increases in the continental U.S., experts say.


MORE RECORD WARMTH FOR FLORIDA: Overnight lows could run up to 10 degrees above average this week as an unusually strong ridge of high pressure builds over the state, forecasters said Sunday.

For perspective, the normal low this time of the year in Miami is 68; the normal high is 83.

After a slight cool-down statewide on Tuesday and Wednesday as the cold front clears the peninsula, highs will pop back to “significantly” above normal by mid-week, the National Weather Service said.

A round of record warm lows occurred on Saturday. Here’s the rundown:

  • Fort Pierce tied a record warm low with 74 degrees. The city hasn’t seen an April 13 low that warm in 71 years — the record was originally set in 1948.
  • Marathon set a new record warm low with a balmy 81 — easily beating the old record of 79 set in 2015.
  • The low in Fort Lauderdale was 77, which tied a record warm low set in 2015.
  • Daytona Beach tied a record warm low with 72, a mark originally set in 1991.
  • Melbourne tied a record warm low with 73, matching the record set in 2015.
  • The low was also 73 in Vero Beach, tying a record set in 1991.
  • Sanford broke a record warm low with 72. The old record was 71 set in 2001.
  • Jacksonville’s low of 71 beat the previous record warm minimum of 69 degrees set in 2015.
  • Gainesville’s low of 71 smashed the old record, set in 1974, by 3 degrees.

El Niño likely to stretch into peak of the hurricane season, forecasters say

The weak El Niño in the tropical Pacific is likely to continue through the fall, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday in a forecast that has implications for the 2019 hurricane season.

Forecasters put summer El Niño chances at 65 percent, up from 60 percent in last month’s assessment, and 50-55 percent for fall, the agency’s first El Niño forecast for autumn. Since El Niño conditions have the effect of increasing wind shear in the Atlantic, it could keep tropical storm formation down into the peak of the season, which is August through October.

The Australia Bureau of Meteorology issues its updated El Niño outlook on Tuesday, but an analysis earlier this month predicted that warmer than average Pacific temperatures will “remain at El Niño levels at least to mid-year.”

Hurricane forecasters have been predicting a slightly below average hurricane season for 2019.


RECORD WATCH: The high in Marathon Thursday was 88, tying a record for the date, originally set in 2008.


Sunday panhandle storms

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

Strong storms are possible in the Florida panhandle on Sunday, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center says.

Most of the western and central portions of the panhandle are under a “Slight” risk for severe weather — one step up from Marginal. But an “Enhanced” risk was posted for parts of Alabama and Georgia just north of the panhandle.

Most of the northern and central Florida peninsula are at risk for garden variety thunderstorms. South Florida was left out of the risk area completely on Friday, although forecasters said a thunderstorm or two “can’t be ruled out.”

The front that’s poised to bring the severe weather risk may deliver some slightly cooler air to the peninsula early next week, but it won’t last long, according to the National Weather Service.

“Any cooling and drying will be modest and short-lived as southeasterly flow will return by Wednesday,” NWS forecasters in Miami said Friday.


DOOMED ON THE MOON: Israel’s SpaceIL mission to the moon — a private company’s effort to land a spacecraft on the surface — ended in disappointment Thursday when the ship crash-landed. The lunar lander, called Beresheet, had been tasked with carrying out scientific measurements.

“As the spacecraft approached the moon, SpaceIL lost contact with Beresheet several times,” The Jerusalem Post reported Friday. “The scientists kept hope as the connection was restored, but just minutes before the spacecraft was supposed to touch down, contact was lost once again and it crashed on the moon.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would keep trying.

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

Caribbean water vapor 041019

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.

Forecasters see sizzling weekend weather after storms exit peninsula

Continental US - Shortwave Window - IR

Storms from the Gulf of Mexico were poised to move into the Florida peninsula early Tuesday morning. There was a “Marginal” risk of severe weather, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. (Image credit: NOAA)

Following Tuesday’s nasty weather — with rain possibilities stretching into Wednesday — the end-of-week weather story can be summed up in one word: Heat.

From South Florida and the Keys north to Orlando and over to Brooksville, the National Weather Service is forecasting highs near 90 over the weekend.

Although Tuesday’s wet conditions were associated with a cold front rolling across the peninsula from the Gulf of Mexico, there’s no cold air behind the front, the National Weather Service said.

“Temperatures on either side of it will remain above normal,” NWS forecasters said in their daily analysis from Miami. “Naples has been setting daily maxima records since the weekend and it appears record warm minima were set Monday along the east coast.

“This trend of near record-breaking warmth may persist through the bulk of the week, especially with a couple of days of westerly flow reducing cooling impact of Atlantic breeze across the east coast urban corridor.”

They added: “With humid conditions and heat indices likely reaching into the 90s Friday through the weekend, the warm temperatures may be the main weather story.”

Some cooler air may arrive early next week, according to forecasts.

Meanwhile, a lot of records were set or tied on Monday. Here’s the rundown:

  • The low in Marathon was a sultry 81 degrees. That easily smashed the previous record warm low for April 8 of 78, set one year ago. Marathon has set or tied a record warm high or record warm minimum every day so far this month. Also, 81 is the warmest low temperature recorded so far in 2019 for anywhere in Florida.
  • Key West’s low was 79, which busted the old record low for the date of 78, set in 2011.
  • The high was 89 in Naples, tying a record set in 2015. It was the third day in a row a record was set or tied in Naples.
  • The low in Fort Lauderdale was 77, which broke the record warm low of 76 set in 2003.
  • Monday’s low was 75 in West Palm Beach, tying a record warm low set in 2015.
  • In East-Central Florida, Melbourne set a record warm low with 72, beating the old record of 71 set in 1994.
  • Vero Beach tied a record warm low with 73. It was originally set in 2003.

RAINFALL REPORT: Most of the action on Monday was in the Daytona Beach area, where some CoCoRaHS observers reported more than 2 inches. In Inland Volusia County near Deland, an observer checked in with 1.40 inches.

Officially, Daytona Beach recorded 1.75 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

Parts of eastern Flagler County received up to 1.31 inches; and northeastern Sumter County near The Villages reported up to an inch.

To the south in Okeechobee County, an observer near Basinger measured 1.25 inches.

CFL high end rain chances

PREDICTED PRECIP: High end rain chances in Central Florida, above, and high-end chances in South Florida, below. The National Weather Service said Tuesday’s totals would be very localized. (Image credits: NWS-Melbourne, above; NWS-Miami, below)

SFL high end rain chances

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

Gulf satellite

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.”


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.


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.