Wet, windy weekend forecast for Florida’s East Coast

Wet and breezy weather will be the rule this weekend on Florida’s East Coast, with more than 2 inches of rain possible through Monday and winds gusting up to 25 mph, the National Weather Service said.

It’s all the result of the cold front that brought cooler temperatures to the panhandle on Monday and Tuesday. The front was forecast to stall out over extreme South Florida, bringing wet conditions but not much in the way of cooler air.

High pressure building back into the north will create a pressure gradient with the trough of lower pressure to the south, according to forecasters, making for a windy weekend along the East Coast.

Rain chances are lower on the West Coast — in the 20-39 percent range — and lighter winds are in the forecast.

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1910 hurricane

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)

HURRICANE ANNIVERSARY: Yes, damaging Category 4 hurricanes can occur in late October. Tuesday was the 107-year anniversary of a powerful hurricane that made a crazy loop off Cuba’s West Coast in 1910. With peak winds of 150 mph, it then barreled into the Gulf of Mexico between Key West and the Dry Tortugas. It made a landfall near Fort Myers with winds of 110 mph.

TROPICS WATCH: Wednesday morning’s runs of the GFS and European (ECMWF) backed off on tropical development in the Caribbean next week, although the Canadian (CMC) and Navy (NAVGEM) continued to suggest a system or two brewing before the end of the month, either in the Caribbean of Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Weather Outlook map remained clear — no storms expected to form through Monday.

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The Farmer’s Almanac lists 20 signs of a hard winter in its latest edition, but editors are of course referring to the higher latitudes and not Florida. Particularly not South and Central Florida, and the Keys.

Here are the top five:

  • Thicker than normal corn husks.
  • Woodpeckers sharing a tree.
  • Early arrival of the snowy owl.
  • Early departure of ducks and geese.
  • Early migration of the Monarch butterfly

I decided to come up with my own top five signs of an approaching hard winter in Florida:

  • Out-of-state license plates begin appearing early.
  • Restaurants, especially on the barrier islands, introduce new menus with much, much higher prices.
  • Parking meters appear where there were none before.
  • The Department of Transportation announces it will close a lane on I-95 from November 15 to March 15.
  • Your in-laws announce that they’re coming for the holidays and will stay at your house for approximately two weeks.
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Chilling out in Florida: Panhandle hits 51 degrees

Wednesday lows panhandle
Forecast lows for Wednesday morning. Click for larger image. (Credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

Honest-to-goodness autumn weather cooled parts of Florida on Tuesday, but only for those who live in northern tier of panhandle counties.

It was 51 degrees at 6:30 a.m. in Jay, Florida — about as far north and west as you can get in the panhandle — with a dew point of 48.

It was in the low 60s in the Tallahassee area and in parts of the northern peninsula, but upper 60s to around 70 from Cedar Key on the Gulf to Daytona Beach on the Atlantic. At the same time, it was in the upper 70s in South Florida and the low 80s in the Keys.

The primary impact of the cold front on South Florida — and Central Florida, too — will be rain.

“The cold front will move into South Florida later tonight before stalling and washing out across the region Wednesday,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said. “Even though this is a cold front we will not see any significant cooler air as temperatures will remain around normal.”

The front is expected to wash out over South Florida later this week, but lots of moisture remains in place, with precipitation probabilities as high as 50 percent right through the weekend.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center was predicting that the heaviest rain this week will be over Florida’s northeast and central coast, from around Daytona Beach south to Fort Pierce.

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two_atl_5d0 (1)

(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Invest 92L was taken off the National Hurricane Center Tropical Outlook map Tuesday morning and the agency predicted clear sailing for at least the next five days.

However, NOAA’s GFS, the Canadian (CMC) and the Navy forecast model (NAVGEM) were still suggesting development in the Caribbean next week. The European (ECMWF) has not been on board with this, although some of its ensemble members are.

NASA’s GEOS-5 forecast model has also been showing a system spinning up in the Caribbean next week.

Florida cold front update: Cool and crisp in panhandle, blustery over most of peninsula

Here’s the way National Weather Service forecasters in Tallahassee started their analysis Sunday morning: “The first fall front is on the horizon!”

There was good news and bad news about this much-discussed cold front, which has been on the radar of forecasters for the last several days.

The good news is that the front is now forecast to completely clear the peninsula by mid-week. Previous forecasts had it stalling over Central, or South Florida. The Sunday forecast was for it to stall over the Keys.

Tallahassee forecast

A week of true autumn weather is on tap for the Florida panhandle. (Credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

The bad news is that it’s not expected to bring much, if any, cool air over the southern peninsula, and along the East Coast in general. That’s because as soon as the front sinks through the area, easterly winds will transition to the northeast, and ocean temperatures along Florida’s East Coast aren’t exactly fall-like.

Water temperatures are still above average along the Atlantic Coast, and much above off northeastern Florida. Off the Lake Worth Pier in South Florida, water temperatures are running around 82 degrees.

Winds in the panhandle will be north-northeast, far enough away from the bathtub Atlantic to allow temperatures to fall into the mid-50s. The forecast low in Marianna, Florida for Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning is 55, with a mostly sunny high Wednesday of 78.

Highs in South Florida during this period will still be in the mid- to upper-80s, National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said, with rain chances stuck in the 30-50 percent range due to the proximity of the front to the south.

Highs Friday and Saturday in South Florida should be in the 83-85-degree range, with blustery winds, and lows only a few degrees cooler in the upper 70s. That’s pretty much a ditto for the East-Central and West-Central peninsula, although drier air is forecast to move in for next weekend with a forecast high in Tampa of 86 and a low of 70 under mostly clear skies.

We’ll take what we can get.

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RECORD WATCH: Saturday’s low in Vero Beach was 76, which tied a record warm low set in 2007. Record warm lows were tied and set in Jacksonville and Daytona Beach with readings of 76 and 78, respectively. In the case of Jacksonville, the reading matched a mark set 105 years ago in 1912.

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Ophelia will be post-tropical when it arrives in Ireland, but it will still deliver a wallop with strong winds and rain. (Credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center again increased chances of development of the system near the Lesser Antilles to 50 percent by Friday. If it develops it would be named Philippe.

Forecast models have become wishy-washy about development in the Caribbean/ Gulf of Mexico next weekend. The Canadian (CMC) was still hinting at a weak system brewing in the Central Caribbean, and the GFS Sunday run had something trying to spin up in the Gulf a week from Monday.

Hurricane Ophelia, with winds of 105 mph, was forecast to slam Ireland on Monday with hurricane force winds, although it was expected to transition into an post-tropical storm.

Hurricane Center ups chances for development of Lesser Antilles disturbance

two_atl_5d0

The National Hurricane Center increased odds that Invest 92L near the Lesser Antilles would become a tropical cyclone over the next five days to 40 percent as it tracks west-northwest and then to the north.  Forecast models, and the NHC development track, indicate a possible threat to Bermuda.  (Image credit: NHC)

If it does develop into a named storm, it would be called Phillipe.

ELSEWHERE: Saturday runs of the GFS and the Canadian (CMC) forecast models suggested that something could try to spin up in the Caribbean the week of October 22. Both models have a tropical low impacting Cuba toward the middle of that week.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Ophelia, churning through the northeastern Atlantic with 100 mph winds, was expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the Azores over the weekend and up to 4 inches of rain.

Ophelia was forecast to bring strong winds and rain to Ireland as a powerful extra-tropical system early next week.

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RECORD WATCH: Jacksonville tied a record high temperature Friday with 89, matching a mark set in 1986. Daytona Beach set a record warm low Friday with 77 degrees, beating the previous record of 76 set in 2008.

A mid-week cold front was forecast to stall over Florida, bringing cooler temperatures to North Florida but wet weather in the South and Central peninsula. Another batch of drier conditions was expected to settle over the state by next weekend.

Fall in Florida: Searching for the elusive first cold front

Jacksonville forecast

Tuesday’s forecast high in Jacksonville is an autumn-like 76 degrees. (Credit: NWS-Jacksonville)

A cold front driving through the Florida peninsula next week will make it all the way to South Florida. Will we finally see some cooler, more fall-ish weather?

Unfortunately, no. At least not in South Florida, where forecasters in Miami predicted Friday that the front would stall over the region on Wednesday. “Little cool air is expected and warm, moist conditions will prevail,” they said in Friday’s online discussion.

Even in Central Florida, conditions are expected to remain warm and wet, with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in Orlando and a forecast low Wednesday night/ Thursday morning of 71.

You have to go up to North Florida and the panhandle to see some cooler temperatures and drier weather in the forecast. Wednesday night’s low in Tallahassee is expected to be around 62 and Thursday’s forecast high is 82; look for 76 and 64 in Jacksonville on Tuesday/ Wednesday.

NWS forecasters in Tallahassee said Friday: “A cold front will move through our area from northwest to southeast on Monday, and in the wake of this feature significantly cooler temperatures are expected to develop across our area. From Tuesday through the remainder of the week, highs will range from the upper 70s to lower 80s with lows generally from the upper 50s to lower 60s.”

In other words, open window weather.

In Marianna, Florida, northwest of Tallahassee, Wednesday morning’s forecast low is 57 (AccuWeather); and even cooler conditions expected the following week with lows in the 40s.

RECORD WATCH: The low in Fort Pierce on Thursday, 77, tied a record warm low set 68 years ago in 1949. The low in Melbourne, 78, tied a mark set in 2009.

THURSDAY RAINFALL was moderate in South Florida — and on the state’s West-Central Coast. Observers in southeastern Broward County reported up to 2.25 inches, according to the Community, Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, and 1.37 inches was reported in northern Citrus County on the West Coast.

Other (official) totals: Miami, 0.36 of an inch; Fort Lauderdale, 0.50; West Palm Beach, 0.27; Naples, 0.05; Melbourne, 0.09; Vero Beach, 0.02; and Fort Pierce, 0.01.

storm_92

Forecast tracks for Invest 92L. (Credit: SFWMD)

TROPICS WATCH: An area of disturbed weather 350 miles east of the northern Leeward Island was designated Invest 92L by the National Hurricane Center, where forecasters gave it a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Philippe, over the next five days.

Forecast models show the system moving west-northwest and then curving north and northeast, out to sea. Some of the forecast tracks could put Bermuda in the path, however.

Ophelia becomes 10th hurricane, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel

Hurricane Ophelia

Ophelia became the season’s 10th hurricane Wednesday and had whipped up sustained winds of 85 mph Thursday morning. The National Hurricane Center said it would remain a powerful storm as it moves toward the northeast, but it’s expected to become extra-tropical by late Saturday. It could impact the Azores this weekend and may bring high winds to western Ireland next week. (Credit: NHC/ NWS-Key West)

Is the hurricane season finally winding down?

Hurricane Ophelia was still strengthening in the northeastern Atlantic Thursday, but its days as a tropical entity are numbered, with the National Hurricane Center predicting it will become extra-tropical over the weekend.

Forecast models show little or nothing forming over the next week to 10 days, which would put us close to the end of October.

“Although most of the tropical Atlantic remains unusually warm for mid-October, we may see a drop-off in tropical cyclone activity over the next couple of weeks, as the Madden-Julian Oscillation is predicted to enter a phase unfavorable for tropical development in the Atlantic,” Weather Underground’s Bob Henson said in a blog post Tuesday.

Based on averages from 1966-2009, two more named storms could occur, with one of them being a hurricane. The last storm forms, on average, on November 23, according to the National Hurricane Center’s climatology report.

That would bring us up to Philippe and Rina and give the Atlantic 17 named storms for the year, about five above average. That was the top end of NOAA’s pre-season forecast in May.

However, through Tuesday, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season had produced 210 ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) units, behind only 1933, 2004 and 1893, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach said on Twitter.

“Ophelia is 10th consecutive Atlantic named storm to reach hurricane — tying the all-time record set in 1878 and equaled in 1886 & 1893,” he tweeted.

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RECORD WATCH: The low in West Palm Beach Wednesday was 80, tying a record warm low for the date set in 1972. It was 79 in Melbourne, easily busting the old record warm low of 76 set in 1990.

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Wet weekend weather

RAINFALL FORECAST: Showers and thunderstorms were already moving into the Florida peninsula from the Atlantic early Thursday. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center shows about 2-and-a-half inches of rain falling on Florida’s East Coast through Tuesday, from around Vero Beach all the way down to the Keys. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

 

New tropical system could slosh into Florida by weekend

Atlantic SAT

Tropical Storm Ophelia formed Monday — in the upper-right portion of Monday’s Atlantic satellite image — and it was forecast to become a hurricane by Thursday. (Credit: NOAA)

A warm and dry week may come to a soggy end on Friday as a tropical wave slides into the peninsula from the Bahamas, the National Weather Service said.

Two forecast models — NOAA’s GFS and the European (ECMWF) — show the system developing a weak closed low pressure system, according to forecasters, but neither have it becoming a tropical depression or storm.

The ever-more aggressive Canadian model (CMC), however, suggested in its early Monday run that it could spin up into a low-end tropical storm, which then intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico and reverses course, coming back at the peninsula north of Tampa or in the Big Bend area early the following week.

For now, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting 2.1 inches of rain to fall from around Jupiter south to Miami through next Monday.

The National Weather Service in Miami has rain chances climbing to 40-50 percent in South Florida starting Friday night and continuing into Sunday.

Until then, the weather word of the week in Florida is heat. The unseasonably warm weather that gripped the peninsula over the weekend is forecast to continue.

According to the NFL, the game time heat index on the field of the Miami Dolphins-Tennessee Titans game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens was 113 degrees. Not exactly prime football weather, and no picnic for fans sitting in sunny areas of the stadium, either.

The actual high in Miami was 91, which is 4 degrees above normal for the date. The heat index at Miami International Airport was 103 at 3 p.m.

The heat index in Fort Lauderdale hit 108, 100 in West Palm Beach and 101 in Naples.

Temperature records were tied or set Sunday in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Miami set a record warm low with 81; Fort Lauderdale tied a record high with 91 and tied a record warm minimum Sunday with 82; and West Palm Beach tied a record warm low with 81.

Orlando tied a record warm low with 75, and Jacksonville tied a record minimum with 76.

TROPICAL STORM OPHELIA: The National Hurricane Center upgraded the disturbance southwest of the Azores to TD 17 at 5 a.m. Monday and quickly followed with an 11 a.m. upgrade to Tropical Storm Ophelia.

NHC forecasters predicted it would become the season’s 10th hurricane by Thursday with winds of 75 mph.

It was expected to meander around the Northeast Atlantic, but ultimately it should be picked up by a trough and get shuttled east-northeast, not affecting land, according to forecasters.

After Ophelia, the next named system would be Philippe.