Forecasters see slow warming trend through mid-week

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

SUNDAY MORNING LOWS: Miami, 49 (wind chill 46); Fort Lauderdale, 47 (46); Naples, 43 (38); West Palm Beach, 42 (38); Orlando 37 (32); Tampa, 42 (38); Daytona Beach, 39 (33); Gainesville 39 (34); Jacksonville, 33 (33); and Tallahassee, Tallahassee, 38 (33).

Highs bounce back to near 70 in South Florida when winds swing around to the northeast Sunday afternoon; low- to mid-60s in Central Florida and mid- to upper 50s in North Florida.

A warming trend continues through mid-week, followed by yet another cold front in the Wednesday-Thursday timeframe.

*

SATURDAY: In West-Central Florida, a Freeze Watch was posted for Saturday night/ Sunday morning for the Nature Coast, with a Frost Advisory issued for the Tampa area. Widespread frost was expected in North Florida.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne predicts “frost developing north of Orlando with patchy frost elsewhere away from the coast. Protect cold sensitive plants tonight and use caution with any space heaters.”

Sunday morning wind chills will be in the low 40s all the way down to southern Miami-Dade and Inland Monroe counties, the National Weather Service says. High temperatures Saturday will only be in the mid- to upper-60s along the southeastern coast; upper 50s and low 60s in East-Central Florida.

(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

LONG-RANGE OUTLOOK: NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting warmer temperatures for the Florida peninsula as January ends and we get into the first week of February. This is also supported by long-range climate models.

It seems likely that we’re going to have two below normal months in a row — December and January — in Florida, a rare occurrence in these days of warming temperatures.

South Florida could have coldest Christmas in 21 years, Weather Service says

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

After more than a decade of balmy holiday temps, South Florida could be headed for the coldest Christmas since 1999, according to National Weather Service forecasters in Miami.

Saturday morning temperatures could bottom out in the low 30s in interior areas, with low- to mid-40s on the coasts. Most areas will have wind chills in the 30s.

Sebring, for example, may hover right around the freezing mark with a forecast low of 34.

With Impacts from the Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day cold front coming into better focus, it looks like the Nature Coast will be in the deep freeze, with a forecast low in Brooksville of 28 degrees.

Even in the Keys, forecasters are calling for lows in Key West and Marathon of 55 and 52 — with the Upper Keys falling into the 40s.

One good bit of news (although I realize some people relish these cold snaps since Florida is home to heat and humidity six to nine months out of the year) is that a warm-up should begin Saturday afternoon courtesy of the warm waters of the Atlantic.

The Canadian high pressure system parked over the Southeastern U.S. is expected to move off the East Coast, bringing northeast to easterly winds to the Florida peninsula.

By the way, the GFS model is calling for a toastier New Year’s Day, with possible highs in the 80s in Central and South Florida. But that’s followed by another potent cold front later in the weekend.

Of course that’s 11 days away and subject to revision, but Weather Underground’s forecast high for New Year’s Eve in Miami is 79.

Forecasters see ‘dramatic cool-down’ on Christmas; hard freeze possible in North Florida

The Christmas Week forecast looks pretty nice in the Keys, but even Key West will have a chilly Friday night. The peninsula could have the coldest night of the season. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

Christmas will be no day at the beach, even in South Florida.

A cold front due to slam the peninsula on Christmas Eve is forecast to drive temperatures early Christmas morning down into the 30s in interior areas and 40s at the coast. Highs on Christmas Day may barely climb above 60, with strong winds to boot.

Only a slight warm-up will follow over the holiday weekend.

The cold front will be “the main story going into the upcoming weekend. Globals have been suggesting a rather dramatic cool down with the cooler interior areas possibly dropping into the middle and upper 30s and perhaps middle and upper 40s across the metros,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said Monday. “Of course we`ll need to fine tune this . . . .”

Friday’s forecast high in Orlando, is 53, followed by near-freezing temperatures Friday night into Saturday morning.

Central Florida highs in the low- to mid-50s will be the rule, NWS forecasters in Melbourne said. Wind chills may become problematic Friday night. “Headlines for wind chill, and cold temperatures may be required late this week . . . .”

Tampa’s forecast high will only be around 56, with a low around 38. NWS forecasters in Tampa struck an optimistic tone: “Cold conditions seem to linger into the weekend, but we should be rain free so nothing better than cool temps and clear skies in the Sunshine State.”

Jacksonville may barely top 50 degrees for a high with lows near freezing Saturday morning. Friday afternoon wind chills are expected to be in the 30s and 40s, but the wind drops off Friday night. “With little to no wind and clear skies, temperatures may reach their lowest readings of the year Friday night/Saturday morning,” forecasters in Jacksonville said. “At this point, a widespread freeze is likely Friday night with some areas potentially approaching a hard freeze.”

Christmas Day highs in Tallahassee may not even reach 50 degrees — the forecast high is 49. Friday night/ Saturday morning forecast low: 31. ” . . .expect upper 20s to low 30s for lows at wakeup Christmas morning and mid to upper 20s Saturday morning depending on the position of the high pressure.,” forecasters said. Based on forecast models, “trends could be pointing to colder readings as we get closer . . . .”

Weather Underground, by the way, is predicting a low of 26 in Tallahassee on Friday night; 45 in Miami; and 35 in Orlando. AccuWeather is predicting lows of 49 in Miami; 37 in Orlando and 28 in Tallahassee.

Heavy rain, flooding possible with approaching Gulf low, NWS says

SUNDAY NIGHT STORMS: The National Weather Service in Miami was warning of possible heavy rain, flooding and strong storms overnight as an area of low pressure slides across the peninsula from the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters said a brief tornado “can’t be entirely ruled out.” They said there was a 10 percent chance of as much as 1.60 inches falling in the Fort Lauderdale area. A blast of wintry air will follow the once the rain moves out of the way on Monday. Below: Sunday afternoon’s Gulf of Mexico satellite showed the system developing near western Cuba. (Image credits: NWS-Miami, above; NOAA, below)
High-end rainfall totals are shown below. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)
The storm could pack a punch for southern areas of East-Central Florida as well. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Eta leaves trail of flooding, submerged cars, roof damage

Hurricane Center expecting new disturbance in Caribbean

UPDATE: Subtropical Storm Theta formed over the Central Atlantic early Tuesday morning, a record-breaking 29th storm for the 2020 hurricane season. The 2005 season had 28 storms. Theta was moving toward the east-northeast south of the Azores. Meanwhile, the low expected to develop in the Central Caribbean was given a 50 percent chance of development over the next five days. The next name on the Greek alphabet list is Iota. (Image credit: NHC)

*

ORIGINAL POST: A friend posted on Facebook Sunday: “What a year this week has been.” And it was capped off in Florida by Tropical Storm Eta, which packed a surprising punch for so late in the hurricane season.

And to quote another famous philosopher: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

In addition to plotting the next moves of Eta — which is still forecast to return to hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico as it lumbers first southwest, then north, well off Florida’s West Coast — the National Hurricane Center began watching two other Atlantic disturbances.

One is forecast to spin up from a tropical wave in the Caribbean later this week, and there are indications it may follow an Eta-like path into Central Ameria.

The other, in the Central Atlantic, was designated Invest 97L and was projected to move northeast, perhaps toward the Azores.

*

STORM DAMAGE AND NOTES: Tree limbs were down throughout South Florida and there were several reports of damaged roofs and shingles blown off. Parking lots were flooded and cars were reported submerged in Broward County. An off-duty National Weather Service employee reported knee-deep water in Davie.

Several roads were impassable and cars were stalled in Miami-Dade and Broward.

Notable rainfall totals for South Florida through early Monday morning (from the National Weather Service and from CoCoRaHS): Mirimar, 12.51 inches; Weston, 6.03; Davie, 9.87; ; Plantation, 8.28Fort Lauderdale, 7.12; Boca Raton, 5.23; Coral Gables, 5.58; Miami International Airport, 4.44; West Palm Beach, 3.88.

Wind gusts: Carysfort Reef Lighthouse off Key Largo reported a top gust of 65 mph. Bureau of Land Management station, south Miami-Dade, 61 mph; Fort Lauderdale Beach, 60 mph; Palm Beach International Airport, 53 mph; Miami International, 51 mph; North Hollywood; University of Miami, 58 mph.

Winds were gusting into the 40s and 50s throughout the Keys.

OUTLOOK: What happened to the dry season? Rain chances remain in the 40-60 percent range through most of the week in South Florida and in East-Central Florida.

Zeta forecast to become a hurricane in Gulf

Official forecast track for Zeta. (Image credit: NHC)

Newly formed Tropical Storm Zeta is aiming at the northern Gulf Coast, but the storm may still influence weather over the Florida peninsula.

First, Zeta is drawing up copious amounts of tropical moisture from the western Caribbean, adding to already-high rain totals in parts of South Florida and the Keys.

Second, forecasters say the remnants of Zeta later this week will combine with a cold front sweeping down acorss the U.S. It could make it through South Florida, according to the National Weather Service, but even if it does, winds will quickly swing around to the northeast, bringing in more warm and humid air.

Saturday-early Sunday rainfall totals were highest right along the southeast coast. Boynton Beach reported 5.51 inches, while seveal observers in the Fort Lauderdale area reported 3-4 inches, and 4.69 inches were reported at Sunrise.

One-to-two inches were reported in coastal Miami-Dade, although Coral Gables checked in with 2.78 inches.

The National Hurricane Center warned Sunday morning: “Through Wednesday, heavy rainfall is expected from Tropical Storm Zeta across portions of central and western Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the northeast Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, Southern Florida and the Keys. This rainfall may lead to flash flooding in urban areas.”

Southeast Florida (again) at risk for flooding rains, NOAA says

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center had Florida’s southeast coast under a “Slight” and “Marginal” risk for excessive rainfall on Wednesday, potentially leading to another round of road flooding. Heavy rain was aggravating seasonal high tides right at the coast. (Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)

Epsilon was upgraded to a hurricane Tuesday night and it continued to strengthen Wednesday into an 85 mph storm, the 10th hurricane of the hyperactive 2020 season.

It was forecast to miss Bermuda on its way to the North Atlantic early Friday morning, although the island was under a Tropial Storm Watch. The National Hurricane Center predicted it would top out at 90, still a Category 1, before it becomes extra-tropicl well to the east of the Canadian Maritimes this weekend.

NHC forecasters no longer expected the disturbance in the western Caribbean to develop, so their Tropical Weather Outlook map Wednesday morning was clear over the next five days except for Epsilon.

Both the GFS and the European (ECMWF) were showing clear sailing in the Caribbean, western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico for the next week to 10 days.

The Canadian (CMC), the NAVGEM (Navy) and the ICON (German) were clinging to the idea that a very weak disturbance could still slide over Cuba into the Bahamas or Southeast Florida Coast this weekend, but it’s unclear whether this is even an organized system.

More on that below, but first National Weather Service forecasters in Miami are talking about a slight break to end the week, a sort of drying out between Thursday and Sunday, although don’t look for any Chamber of Commerce weather.

In the meantime: “Repeated heavy rainfall and gusty winds has caused flooding concerns over already saturated ground,” NWS forecasters said in their Wednesday morning discussion.”

Rainfall falling along the coast during the overnight high tide did not have anywhere to drain due to the high astronomical tides creating further issues with repeated heavy downpours. It has been an overnight period of Rinse and Repeat.”

But then on Sunday whatever form this disturbance from the Caribbean takes is expected to bring yet another round of rain to South Floridal

“More seasonal” weather may be on the way for the middle of next week.

RAINFALL REPORT: Observers for the citizen network CoCoRaHS reported heavy rain southern Broward County and northern Miami-Dade on Tuesday. An observer west of Fort Lauderdale found 3.61 inches in the backyard bucket through early Wednesday morning. More two inches were common up and down the coast in Broward and Miami-Dade, tapering off to the 1-15- inch range in Palm Beach County.

Up the coast, an obserer near Vero Beach reported 2.33 inches.

A cold front for the birds; Miami posts record high

THE SNOW BIRDS ARE BACK! Not just the ones with the funny-looking license plates, but the real deal — birds flying south for the winter. This image was taken from last night’s Key West radar. Here’s some detailed info on the annual migration. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

Slightly cooler weather settled over South and Central Florida this morning … but humidity remained high. The temperature at 6 a.m. in West Palm was 74 — but so was the dew point, which produced a relative humidity of 100 percent. It was 76 in Miami with the humidity at 88 percent, and 74 in Fort Lauderdale with humidity at 94 percent.

National Weather Service forecasters in Miami summed things up nicely: “Not the taste of fall you want but it`s the taste of fall you get.”

It was 73 in Orlando with a relative humidity of 96 percent; 75 in Tampa with a RH of 82 percent. Credit the passage of a weak cold front that made it all the way down the peninsula. Another cold front is on the calendar for the weekend, but it’s unclear how far south it will get and what it might mean for temperatures, forecasters said.

Orlando still won’t drop below 70 this weekend, according to the NWS in Melbourne, although the Friday night forecast low in Gainesville is 59.

*

RECORD WATCH: Miami posted a record high Monday with 92. That beat the old record of 91 set in 2011. Fort Lauderdale set a record high with 93, busting the old mark of 91 set in 2006.

*

TROPICS WATCH: Nature has hit the pause button on the 2020 hurricane season, but keep a wary eye on the tropics as we continue to plow through more of the Greek alphabet.

Tuesday morning’s run of the GFS showed a disturbance brewing up in the southern Caribbean a week from tomorrow, then intensifying rapidly into a hurricane that slams Jamaica on Saturday, October 24. It crosses over eastern Cuba and into the Central Bahamas, after which it curves out to sea between Bermuda and North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The early run of the GFS Parallel was much more problematic for Florida, moving the storm north from the western Caribbean a week from tomorrow and then bashing western Cuba over the weekend. It clips the Keys and southeastern Florida as a 943 mb major. After that it curves out to sea.

The European (ECMWF) was not onboard with either of these scenarios, although both the ECMWF and the Canadian (CMC) showed something trying to form off the coast of Honduras toward the end of next week.

Captain, deflector shields up!

The German ICON suggests something weak — possibly what’s left of Invest 93L — crawling northwest just north of the Greater Antilles and approaching Andros Island a week from today.

This morning, the National Hurricane Center dropped development chances for 93L, now east of the Lesser Antilles, from 30 percent to 20 percent as it nears an area of high wind shear.

Tropical Storm Watch issued for Florida’s southeast coast

(Image credit: NHC)

UPDATE: Parts of South Florida were under a Tropical Storm Watch as of 5 p.m. as the area of low pressure in the Bahamas ramps up and heads west toward the southern tip of the peninsula. The National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Tropical Depression 19, predicting that the system will become a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico early next week.

The Tropical Storm Watch area was for Jupiter south to Miami Beach (Ocean Reef).

The center of TD 19 was near the northern tip of Andros Island at 5 p.m. and it was continuing to organize in an environment of low wind shear, a moist atmosphere and ultra-warm waters over the Bahamas. As it approaches Florida, it will only encounter more hot water compliments of the Gulf Stream.

TD 19 is competing, in a way, with the low that emerged off the coast of Africa Thursday. If TD 19 gets to tropical storm status first — sustained winds of at least 39 mph — it would be named Sally. The next one in line gets Teddy.

*

SPECIAL TROPICAL OUTLOOK FROM NHC 11:25 A.M.: “Showers and thunderstorm activity located over the northwestern and central Bahamas and the adjacent waters continues to shows signs of organization. In addition, surface observations indicate that pressures have fallen over the area since yesterday and, along with wind data, suggest that a broad area of low pressure could be forming between the northwestern Bahamas and South Florida.

“This system is forecast to move westward at about 10 mph, crossing
the Bahamas and Florida today and tonight and moving into the
eastern Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. The disturbance could become a
tropical depression while it is near South Florida tonight, but it
is more likely to become a tropical depression while it moves slowly
west-northwestward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend and
early next week.

“Regardless of development, this system is expected to produce locally heavy rainfall over portions of the Bahamas, South Florida, and the Florida Keys during the next couple of days, and interests there, as well as along the northern and eastern Gulf coast, should monitor its progress.”

The NHC upped development chances to 60 percent by Sunday and 70 percent by mid-week.

Invest 96L was over the Bahamas Friday morning with Tropical Storm Paulette to the east. Paulette may impact Bermuda, but not Florida. (Image credit: NOAA)

ORIGINAL POST: The disturbance in the Bahamas began looking more impressive overnight and captured the attention of forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters designated it Invest 96L and gave it a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression — or named storm — by Sunday as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. It has a 60 percent chance of development by the middle of next week.

Forecast model tracks have 96L sliding over the southern tip of the Florida peninsula later today and tonight. This morning, it was moving west at 10 mph.

It was centered 20 miles north-northwest of Nassau at 8 a.m. That’s 173 miles east of Miami. Doing the math, that would put the system into Miami in 17 hours, or around 1 a.m. Saturday morning.

No reason at this point to sounds the alarm — Nassau was reporting light rain and winds of 3 mph Friday morning.

Some intensity models make this into a tropical storm on Saturday; others by Sunday or Monday. The National Weather Service in Miami put rain chances Saturday and Saturday night at 80 percent.

NWS office in Miami: “Main impacts will be enhanced moisture available for widespread rain coverage and increased potential for strong storms. Localized flooding is very possible ….” Forecasters have the heaviest rain slated for Southwest Florida, with 3-4 inches projected for Everglades City through Monday morning.

The disturbance that rolled off the coast of Africa Thursday — Invest 95L — had a 70 percent chance of development by Sunday and a 90 percent chance by Wednesday.

The GFS curves this out to sea near Puerto Rico as an intense hurricane. Under the 06Z GFS, it never affects the U.S. The European (ECMWF) also takes it out to sea. Most GFS Ensemble members curve this to the north somewhere in the Central Atlantic, but a couple of them take it into the Caribbean. Ditto for the European Ensemble members.

Nice to see some consistency, but it’s way too early to conclude that we’re off the hook.

Above: The National Weather Service in Miami was encouraging people to monitor the system in the Bahamas as it approaches Florida tonight and Saturday. Below: West-Central Florida was under a Flood Watch. (Image credits: NWS-Miami/ NWS-TampaBay)

*

RECORD WATCH: Jacksonville set a new record high dew point temperature for September 10 on Thursday with 80 degrees. Dew point records go back to 1948.

DROUGHT UPDATE: The entire State of Florida was drought free in the latest analysis by the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday. West-Central Florida had been dealing with Abnormally Dry conditions through last week, but these designations have also been eliminated.

Tampa area hit with 5 inches of rain; forecasters recall deadly 1900 hurricane

HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE: The 8 p.m. Tropical Weather Outlook map at the National Hurricane Center was ablaze in color Wednesday as a new system popped up just east of the Bahamas. The disturbance has a 20 percent chance of development once it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to slide across the southern tip of the peninsula Friday. Most forecast models have had the red X coming off of Africa missing the U.S., but the 18Z GFS has it in South Florida a week from Monday. Not to worry — the models will change and change again. But it’s a reminder to stay up to date on the hurricane season, because this one’s a doozy. (Image credit: NHC)

HURRICANE HISTORY: This is the 120th anniversary of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, also known as The Great Storm of 1900. The Category 4 storms packed winds of 145 mph and was the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, killing as many as 12,000. It caused a hundred billion dollars in damage (2020 U.S. dollars). The storm became extra-tropical as it moved inland, but it reintensified over Ontario, Canada, bringing hurricane-force winds to the province. From Wikipedia: “It is likely that much of South Florida experienced tropical storm-force winds, though mostly minor damage occurred. Hurricane-force winds and storm surge inundated portions of southern Louisiana, though the cyclone left no significant structural damage or fatalities in the state.” (Image credit: NWS-Houston)

*

ORIGINAL TROPICS WATCH: Some good news … for Florida, at least. Wednesday’s model runs have the disturbance near the coast of Africa staying away from the U.S., but possibly threatening the Canadian Maritimes a week from Friday.

Of course the storm isn’t even over water yet so track changes are inevitable and the system needs to be watched carefully.

Tropical storms Paulette and Rene (temporarily downgraded to a depression) pose no threats to the U.S., except that Paulette could swipe Bermuda — not as a hurricane but as a tropical storm.

Since tomorrow is the actual peak of the hurricane, we should consider ourselves lucky.

The European (ECMWF) has reversed course and now takes the storm in question into the Central Atlantic; ditto for the Canadian model.

This has indeed been an active hurricane season, outpacing the record 2005 season in terms of sheer numbers. But there has been just one major, Category 3 Hurricane Laura, which slammed Louisiana.

“While the Atlantic has had a record-setting number of named storms (17) thru September 8, they have so far combined to generate less Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) than #Hurricane Dorian (2019) did by itself,” hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach said on Twitter. “ACE is integrated metric accounting for intensity and duration.”

*

RAINFALL REPORT: A resident of Hillsborough County near Riverview, south of Tampa, reported 5.53 inches of rain on Tuesday.

Coastal Palm Beach County, on the East Coast, was walloped with 2-3 inches of rain in some inland areas, while observers near Deerfield Beach in Broward Country checked in with up to 2.43 inches.

North-Central Florida picked up from a quarter-inch to an inch-and-a-half.