Cold front knocks back temps after South Florida highs top out in upper 80s

SFL lows

Above: forecast lows for South Florida for upcoming week will start out below average before rebounding; below: forecast highs and lows for Florida’s West Coast. (Image credits: NWS-Miami/ NWS-TampaBay)

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Warm temperatures returned to the entire state Saturday, with highs in the 80s from tip to top. But the warm-up was short-lived as another cold front began rolling down the peninsula early Sunday morning.

A warming trend begins again on Tuesday, with a toasty Thanksgiving Day in the forecast, followed by what looks to be yet another cold front next weekend as December begins.

Thus, the usual winter pattern in Florida: Cold front, warm-up, rinse and repeat.

The fronts usually end up stalling in the Florida Straits and washing out, but the stronger ones make it through Cuba before running out of gas.

On Saturday, even the panhandle and North Florida made it into the 80s — Tallahassee and Jacksonville posted highs of 80 degrees, while Gainesville fell just short at 79.

Of all the principle reporting stations around Florida, Marathon in the Keys had the highest maximum with 85, but there were several warmer unofficial temperatures over mainland South Florida.

To wit: An observer just west of Zoo Miami reported a high of 88; and in Broward County, Plantation checked in with 87 and Weston was 86. An observer in western Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, reported a high of 86, as did Immokalee in inland Collier.

The state will feel the effects of the latest cold front most on Monday and Monday night into Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service, with Tuesday morning forecast lows of 42 in Gainesville; 44 in Tallahassee; 46 in Jacksonville; 51 in Tampa and Orlando; 66 in Miami; and 70 in Key West.

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TROPICS WATCH: Tropical Storm Sebastien, which has stubbornly maintained its strength and classification this weekend, was forecast to begin battering the western Azores late on Sunday.

Early Sunday morning, Sebastien was racing toward the islands at 33 mph with top winds of 65 mph. It could become post-tropical before nearing the islands, but forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said: “Regardless of its status, Sebastien or its remnants are expected to bring gusty winds and rain to the Azores beginning later today.”

No other areas of interest were identified in the Atlantic by the NHC. The hurricane season officially ends next Saturday.

Sebastien loses steam in Central Atlantic; Dry conditions continue across Florida

May I have the envelope please ….

SURVEY SAYS: A big majority of South Florida residents voting in a poll conducted by the National Weather Service in Miami prefer cold temperatures. There were 267 votes with 68 percent preferring “cold temps” while 32 percent preferred “warm temps.”

The results were released Friday.

Of course, if you look under the hood of this type of survey, conducted on Facebook, you would no doubt find that people in South Florida have a little bit different definition of “cold temperatures.” Summer-like highs in the 90s and lows in the upper 70s get old, so cooler late autumn temps with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s are pretty nice.

Snowbirds coming down from the North likely have a different definition of “cold.”

What most people are looking for is a Goldilocks scenario with low humidity, sunny highs in the 70s and lows edging down toward 60. Most Floridians I know aren’t real happy with winter temps that slide down into the 40s after a strong cold front, although that type of weather has its fans.

All depends on your perspective ….

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DROUGHT UPDATE: For the second straight week, most of South Florida and Central Florida were dealing with Abnormally Dry conditions, while Moderate Drought continued through much of North Florida and the panhandle.

In the south, the only exceptions to the Abnormally Dry designation were in eastern Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest analysis released Thursday.

Dry conditions are expected to persist around South Florida through at least December 5, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Central and North Florida are expected to see normal rainfall with above normal precipitation in the panhandle.

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Scratch Sebastien from the 2019 hurricane list. The tropical storm topped out at 60 mph before running into strong wind shear and cooler waters in the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

Thursday’s forecast was for Sebastien to achieve max winds of 80 mph, which would have made it the season’s seventh hurricane. Instead, barring any further surprises, it looks like the season will end with 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three majors.

No tropical or subtropical development is forecast for the next five days, which puts us within shouting distance of the official end of the season a week from Saturday.

Of course, it’s not impossible to have a rogue storm pop up in December. An unnamed subtropical storm formed on December 5, 2013. But the most recent named storm to form in December was Tropical Storm Olga, which rolled across the Caribbean — and raked Puerto Rico and Hispaniola — from December 11-13, 2007.

And the infamous 2005 season had Hurricane Epsilon from November 29-December 8; and Tropical Storm Zeta from December 30-January 6.

Sebastien forecast to become season’s seventh hurricane; calling all photographers

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Here’s an interesting twist: Tropical Storm Sebastien is forecast to become the season’s seventh hurricane on Friday, giving 2019 an impressive score of 18 named storms, seven hurricanes and three majors.

Sebastien had already powered up to a 60 mph storm on Thursday as it turned toward the north-northeast, according to the National Hurricane Center. Conditions for additional strengthening were in place along its projected track for the next day before cooler water and drier air begin to weaken the storm.

Sebastien is expected to become extra-tropical by early Saturday morning.

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SFL photos

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

PICTURE THIS: The Key West National Weather Service is known for its artsy constituent photos, which the agency posts on its website and Facebook pages. Of course, the material is there every day in the islands, with stunning sunsets and sailboats framed by swaying coconut palms.

South Florida has its own photo opportunities with its more urban landscape, natural beauty of the Everglades and busy canal system.

And now the NWS in Miami is soliciting more photos from the area in a call that went out on its Facebook page Thursday morning. Lots of opportunities — and obviously lots of great photographers in South Florida.

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ECFL am temps

Tuesday-Wednesday morning minimum temperatures in East-Central Florida. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

WARMING TREND: Highs will begin to creep back up to near 80 before the next cold front rolls down the peninsula late in the weekend, according to forecasters. Warmer weather looks to be on tap for the long Thanksgiving Weekend as well.

From there on out, the forecast is for partly cloudy skies with a 100 percent chance of Christmas music.

How unusual was the cold snap we’ve had over the past week? Very unusual, with Sunday snapping temperature records that had been on the books for more than a century.

Temperatures were as much as 15 degrees below normal, and many areas around the state have had at least five straight days of below normal temps.

Sebastien picks up steam in Atlantic; early Thanksgiving Day forecasts

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICAL STORM SEBASTIEN was stronger Wednesday morning with top winds of 50 mph, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted it would top out as a 65 mph storm on Thursday before it’s absorbed by a cold front in the Central Atlantic and becomes extra-tropical.

With 18 named storms, 2019 is only the ninth season on record with 18 or more named storms, according to Colorado State University’s Philip Klotzbach. The others were 1887, 1933, 1969, 1995, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Sebestien was also the latest storm to form since Hurricane Otto in 2016, he said.

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SETTLING INTO THE DRY SEASON: No measurable rain fell in any of the official observation sites around the state on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. There were a few sprinkles here and there, though — in western Martin County and coastal Lee County, observers for CoCoRaHS reported.

Humidity remains low as a series of cold fronts sweep down the peninsula.

It was in the mid- and upper-50s in South Florida early Wednesday morning, the mid- and upper-60s in the Keys and 70 in Key West.

But 40s were common in the Lake Okeechobee area and points north and west, and it was 42 degrees in western St. Lucie County. The Tampa area was mostly in the upper 40s to around 50; and there were a few spots in the upper 30s sprinkled around North-Central Florida.

Jasper, Florida, northwest of Live Oak, was 37.

But a warming trend was due to begin, especially for the East Coast, as winds swing around to the east. Water temperatures are still in the upper 70s to near 80 along much of the East Coast.

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THANKSGIVING DAY FORECASTS (Weather Underground): Orlando, partly cloudy with a high of 79, low of 60; Tampa, partly cloudy with a high of 78, low of 60; Jacksonville, partly cloudy with a high of 70, low of 57; Tallahassee, partly cloudy with a high of 69, low of 54; Miami, partly cloudy with a high of 81, low of 71; and Key West, partly cloudy with a high of 80, low of 75.

Late season TS Sebastien forms; second-warmest October worldwide

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UPDATE: Tropical Storm Sebastien formed Tuesday morning northeast of the Lesser Antilles, the National Hurricane Center said. It was forecast to top out as a 50 mph storm. It was not expected to affect any land areas. (Image credit: NHC)

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ORIGINAL POST: With 12 days left in the official 2019 hurricane season, it looks like one more storm could be added to the books. That would be Tropical or Subtropical Storm Sebastien, although it’s possible that the system, northeast of the Lesser Antilles, won’t make past the depression stage.

But National Hurricane Center forecasters said Tuesday morning that the system was “gradually becoming better organized” with more convection forming around the storm’s center.

“If this trend continues, then a tropical or subtropical depression or storm could form in the next day or so while the system moves northwestward and then northward over the open Atlantic,” forecasters said. Once the system interacts with a frontal system later in the week, further development is unlikely, they said.

If it does get upgraded to Sebastian, the 18th named storm, that would make the 2019 hurricane season the busiest since 2012, when 19 named storms developed. That was the year of Hurricane Sandy; the season concluded with Tropical Storm Tony.

There were 16 named storms in 2018 and 17 in 2017.

This year’s total — even if it remains at 17 — is particularly impressive since the Atlantic Basin only had two named storms through August 20. That was right after NOAA came out with its final season forecast, predicting that 2019 would end up being above average.

Kudos to NOAA forecasters for nailing it.

If you’re wondering about what may be in store for the 2020 season, Colorado State University will be publishing a “qualitative discussion” of next season in early December.

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October 2019 temps

While the western U.S. was unusually cool, that was not enough to offset unusual heat in other areas of the globe. (Image credits: NOAA)

THE HEAT WAS ON: October temperatures worldwide, on land and sea, were the second warmest in the 140-year record, NOAA said Monday.

Although the U.S. overall was anomalously cool (except for Florida and most of the southeastern part of the country), many areas of the world had an October that ranked in the top 10. The Caribbean had its warmest October (as did Florida).

The five warmest Octobers on the record books have occurred since 2015, and the 10 warmest have occurred since 2003, NOAA said.

October 2019 events

Cold temperature records fall across the peninsula; storm chances increase in Atlantic

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Will the 2019 hurricane season be able to squeeze out one more named storm?

Tropical or subtropical development chances for the disturbance east-northeast of the Leeward Islands were bumped up to 60 percent on Monday by the National Hurricane Center.

“Some gradual development of this system is expected, and a tropical or subtropical depression could form during the next couple of days while it moves northwestward and then northward over the open Atlantic,” NHC forecasters said Monday. The next name on the storm list is Sebastian.

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You could be excused for thinking on Sunday morning that you somehow suddenly woke up in Chicago, or Detroit, or … anyone for Buffalo?

After six months of high humidity and brutal heat, Florida residents were looking forward to the first potent cold front that drove summer temperatures out of the entire peninsula. But instead of a sunny, cool and crisp day, it was breezy and raw, barely climbing out of the 50s with the sun hidden behind a stubborn deck of low clouds.

Chamber of Commerce weather it was not.

The flipside of record warm lows is record cool high temperatures, and that’s what occurred all over the peninsula on Sunday.

Orlando smashed a 118-year-old cool maximum temp with 57, busting the previous mark of 58 set in 1901. Miami’s high of 65 tied the record set in 1901.

In fact, record cool highs were posted in all four major South Florida cities on Sunday. Fort Lauderdale’s high of 62 easily busted the old record of 70 set a century ago in 1919. West Palm Beach checked in with 65, breaking the old mark of 67 set in 1983. And Naples hit 62, breaking the old record cool low of 67 set in 1970.

In East-Central Florida, Melbourne managed a high of 57, beating by 6 degrees the old record cool high of 63 set in 1983. Sanford beat its old record by an amazing 10 degrees — with a high of 54, busting the old record of 64 set in 1970.

The same dreary conditions were on the West Coast — Tampa only reached 56, busting the previous record of 59 set in 1901. Record cool highs were also sest in St. Petersburg (58, old record 62 in 1970); Lakeland (55 vs. 62 in 1970); Winter Haven (57 vs. 62 in 1989); Sarasota (61 vs. 62 in 1970); Punta Gorda (55 vs. 63 in 1970); Fort Myers (60 vs. 65 in 1983); Inverness (56 vs. 60 in 1970); Plant City (56 vs. 63 in 1936); and 55 in Tarpon Springs (55 vs. 59 in 2008).

The problem, of course, is not the cool air but the lack of sunshine, and that could repeat on Monday, the National Weather Service said.

Another cold front and a reinforcing shot of cool air arrives Tuesday night into Wednesday, but the low clouds should clear out and temperatures should become more seasonal.

Warming trend begins mid-week, forecasters say

Sunday am temps SFL

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

It was in the 50s as far south as Key Largo on Sunday morning, a chilly start to the third full week in November — and the week before the start of the holiday season. At 7 a.m., Key Largo was 59, Miami Beach was at 58; it was 57 in the Fort Lauderdale area and 54 in downtown West Palm Beach, according to Weather Underground.

Temperatures in the low 50s were spread around Central Florida — Orlando was 50 and there was a reading of 49 at University Village, northeast of downtown Tampa.

North Florida and the panhandle were mostly in the upper 40s.

A slow warming trend was set to begin on Wednesday — another cold front was due to below through on Tuesday — and it will take until the end of the week to get temperatures back into the normal range, according to the National Weather Service. That’s 81 and 68 in Miami; 78 and 58 in Orlando and 78 and 60 in Tampa.

This has been a relatively early cold snap for the eastern U.S., and the Midwest, but it doesn’t necessarily signal that those areas are in for a cold winter. Ultra long-range forecast models show above normal temperatures back in the Central and Eastern U.S. for the first week in December, with the exception of northern New England.

Ditto for week two of December, and the forecast for the third week — leading right up to Christmas Day — is for mild temperatures for most of the country, all the way from California to the Upper Midwest and to the East Coast.

The U.S. east of the Mississippi is forecast to end the year with above normal temperatures.

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(Image credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center upped development chances for the disturbance east of the Leeward Islands to 20 and 30 percent over the next two and five days, respectively. Forecasters said the system, which is expected to move over the open Atlantic, would merge with a cold front on Wednesday.

If it were to become a named tropical or subtropical storm, it would be named Sebastian.