Autumn arrives Thursday, but it feels a lot like summer


The trees are turning in Maine with lows in the upper 40s and 50s, but summer heat grips much of the rest of the country. This photo shows Cadillac Mountain seen from Great Hill, Acadia National Park. (Photo credit: JRLibby/ Wikimedia Commons)

Autumn arrives on Thursday at 10:21 a.m. EDT, but you’d never know it most parts of the country.

West Palm Beach had its 14th day this month at 90 or better, and the seventh day in a row at 91 or hotter. It was 91 at Palm Beach International Airport, 92 in Miami; 90 in Naples and 89 in Fort Lauderdale.

Vero Beach hit 91, Orlando reached 90, and it was 91 in Tampa. Fort Myers made it to 92.

A weather observer in Palm Springs reported a high of 94 to the National Weather Service, and it was in the upper 90s in parts of inland Collier County.

The Wednesday morning weather map showed low 80s in South Florida, upper 70s in Central Florida, and low 70s in North Florida extending all the way up to Washington, DC. Even Chicago was reporting 72, and you had to go up to northern Maine to find temperatures in the mid-50s.

The only cool fall-like temperatures — outside of the Rocky Mountains — were found on the West Coast of Oregon and Washington, where it was in the 40s.

There’s no cooler weather in the National Weather Service’s long-range forecast for South Florida, and AccuWeather’s ultra-long-range forecast doesn’t show a dip below 70 for morning lows until Oct. 25.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for above-normal temperatures throughout most of the U.S. in October.

The Farmers’ Almanac echoed that outlook with its fall forecast.

“We’ve heard from many of you that you’ve had enough of this hot summer and the cooler temperatures of fall would be a welcome relief,” the Almanac said.

“Autumn’s weather will be seasonal if not warm to start, with summer heat possibly lingering. So regardless of what the calendar says, plan on a bit of delay to the start of the season, temperature-wise.”

Luckily for South Florida, a low pressure system lingering off the South Carolina Coast has
has maintained a slight west wind component, which is pushing late afternoon thunderstorms toward the East Coast.

That’s taking the edge off the heat, and Monday and Tuesday’s rainfall totals at PBIA — 1.42 inches and 1.74 inches — have actually bumped the September totals up to about a third of an inch above average for this point in the month.


Forecast track for Karl. (Credit: NHC)

Tropical Depression Karl is “losing the battle against the hostile environment” of the tropical Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center says. Karl was downgraded to a depression Wednesday morning, but forecasters are still predicting strengthening as it moves west and then west-northwest.

The five-day Tropical Weather Outlook map is clear, and Tropical Storm Lisa is headed out into the open Atlantic.

NOAA’s GFS forecast model continues to show a storm brewing up in the Caribbean the first week of October, perhaps spinning up into the Gulf of Mexico and taking aim at the Florida panhandle.

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Tropical Depression 13 forms in far eastern Atlantic


Forecast track for Tropical Storm Lisa. (Credit: NHC)

UPDATE: Tropical Depression 13 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Lisa today by the National Hurricane Center, as expected. Forecasters predicted the storm would peak with 60 mph winds as it moves over the open Atlantic, but “quite hostile” wind shear should knock it down to a post-tropical remnant low by this weekend.


ORIGINAL POST: The tropics coughed up another depression in the eastern Atlantic Monday night — the 13th of the 2016 season — and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted it would become Tropical Storm Lisa on Tuesday.

But although TD 13 was moving west at 12 mph, forecasters said it would turn toward the west-northwest and weaken back to a depression by the weekend. It will likely peak as a 60 mph tropical storm on Wednesday, the NHC said.

Forecasters said Tropical Storm Karl, meanwhile, will become a Category 2 hurricane by the weekend with 100 mph winds. But they said it will likely slide east of Bermuda.

In fact, forecast models are nearly unanimous in calling for both systems to continue northwest and north over the open Atlantic, no threat to the U.S. coast.

The GFS shows no threats developing in the Atlantic through the end of the month. But recent model runs have shown a system spinning up in the western Caribbean during the first week of October.

Other forecast models haven’t picked up on this. But, as the season enters the new month, the Caribbean becomes the more likely spawning ground for tropical storms and hurricanes that sometimes get picked up by fronts and swept across the Florida peninsula.

More unusually hot weather on tap for Florida in October, forecasters say


Climate Prediction Center forecasters are seeing red in their October forecast. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)

Long-range October forecasts for Florida and most of the U.S. Southeast are awash in red — not a pretty picture for heat-weary South Florida, which hasn’t seen a near-normal monthly temperature since May.

July and August were the hottest on record, the summer tied for the hottest on record, and September is burning down the road in concert with its predecessors. Saturday’s high was 93 in West Palm Beach, the fourth day in a row at 90 or hotter and the 11th day this month with a high of at least 90.

In fact, although May was only slightly above average, you have to go back to February to find a month significantly below average.

September temperatures are also running ahead — but only slightly — in Miami in Naples, while Fort Lauderdale has been slightly below normal this month.

In addition, West Palm Beach has slipped to 2.27 inches below the normal rainfall for this point in the month, historically one of the wettest along with June. Only 2.56 inches have fallen at Palm Beach International Airport since Sept. 1.

Miami is even deeper in the hole, with just 1.68 inches of rain all month — a 3.85-inch shortfall. Fort Lauderdale is 3.17 inches below average, but Naples is only a third of an inch down.

Most locations on the East Coast of Central Florida are running above average this month, thanks to getting clipped by Tropical Storm Julia.

The new long-range forecasts, issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center on Thursday and Friday, show unusual warmth in most of the U.S. during October. Ditto for late September.

NOAA forecasters hedged their bets on their precipitation forecasts for October, citing equal chances for above normal, below normal or normal rainfall.

Tropical Storm Karl forms, remains ‘wild card’ in Atlantic forecast


The official forecast track for Tropical Storm Karl shows it moving well to the northeast of the Leeward Islands as a hurricane. (Credit: NHC)

Tropical Storm Karl formed late Thursday night, the 11th named storm of the 2016 season.

The National Hurricane Center predicted it would become the season’s fifth hurricane by the middle of next week as it moves west to southwest followed by a turn to the west-northwest. On the forecast track, Karl would move well to the northeast of the Leeward Islands.

The morning runs of the GFS suggest that Karl will eventually turn north and then northeast in the Atlantic, posing no threat to the U.S. East Coast. A few members of the European (ECMWF) Ensemble still disagree and show a closer approach to the U.S. coast.

A tropical wave behind Karl, which was moving off the coast of Africa, had a 50 percent chance of becoming a depression, or Tropical Storm Lisa, over the next five days.

The GFS show sthis system potentially making it into the Caribbean.

Despite the busy look to the NHC Tropical Outlook map — there were five systems being tracked by forecasters on Friday — the new Colorado State University two-week forecast through Sept. 28 called for below-normal activity in the Atlantic.

Hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach and company predicted that accumulated cyclone energy — a total of the strength and duration of all systems — would be at 70 percent of normal for this point in the season.

The depression that became Tropical Storm Karl “is the primary wild card in this two-week forecast. Several models like the GFS keep the storm very weak, generating little ACE, while the ECMWF intensifies it into a 960 mb hurricane in ten days,” Klotzbach said. “Obviously if the ECMWF forecast bears itself out, ACE could be much higher than forecast here.”

He also said forecast models show that the system pushing off the coast of Africa today “do not develop this system significantly.”


The hot and dry September that has gripped West Palm Beach continued Thursday with a steamy high of 91 — the ninth day with a temperature of 90 or better. Temperatures are running 1.7 degrees above average for the first half of the month, and the precipitation shortfall is up to 1.66 inches.

Miami is dealing with a 3.15-inch rainfall deficit while Fort Lauderdale’s September shortfall stands at 2.55 inches. Naples is down about a quarter of an inch.

Tropical Depression 12 bears watching for U.S. East Coast


The Tropical Weather Outlook map for the Atlantic looks busy busy busy — but pretty ho-hum on closer inspection. (Image credit: NHC)

With four areas of interest on the Big Map, you might suppose staff at the National Hurricane Center in Miami are going through multiple pots of strong coffee, racing to keep up. Maybe they are, but breaking these individual systems down, there’s really not much here to keep folks on the East Coast up at night.

There are only two named systems floating around the Atlantic and both of them are likely on their way out.

Tropical Depression Julia, loitering off the coast of South Carolina, never was much to squawk about, although it dropped a few inches of rain in Central and North Florida earlier this week. Julia does lay claim to being the only tropical storm to form inland over Florida — just west of St. Augustine — in the state’s history.

And it did gobble up a name in the 2016 Hurricane Season directory, but it’s a system that the late William Gray of Colorado State University would call an “el cheapo” according to the NHC’s Eric Blake.

As an invest off South Florida’s coast on Monday, it looked rather menacing, but only a half-inch of rain fell at Palm Beach International Airport Monday and Tuesday. Palm Beach posted 0.54 of an inch.

A couple of forecast models are predicting re-intensification now that Julia is back out over water. But “it appears unlikely that the cyclone will survive long enough to take advantage of the possibly more favorable environment,” NHC forecaster Jack Bevin said today. The official forecast calls for dissipation.

Tropical Storm Ian is likely to become extra-tropical by late Friday as it hurries off to the northeast. The system never was a threat to land.

That little yellow “X” off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t appear to be much of a troublemaker either, with just a 10 percent chance of tropical development as it heads west.

The only question mark for South Florida over the coming week will be Tropical Depression 12, which is in the far eastern Atlantic but is moving west and could ultimately impact the Lesser Antilles.

Its journey will be problematic, since it will be running into wind shear and dry air and could in fact dissipate. But forecast models suggest that it could swipe the islands, and that would put it in a position that historically requires some attention from residents in the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast.

At Weather Underground, hurricane expert Jeff Masters noted today: “While most of the 50 members of the European model ensemble show TD 12 eventually recurving out to sea without affecting any land areas, 6 out of 50 of the forecasts show the storm hitting the U.S. East Coast 10+ days from now, so it is too early to assume that TD 12 will be a ‘fish’ storm.”


Forecast tracks for Tropical Depression 12 show it nearing the Lesser Antilles. (Credit: SFWMD)







New tropical depression forms; forecast to become TS Karl


The forecast for Tropical Depression 12 is for several days of waxing and waning as it approaches and moves through the Central Atlantic. (Credit: NHC)

Tropical Depression 12 has formed in the eastern Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said at 11 a.m. Forecasters predicted it would become Tropical Storm Karl as it moves toward the west-northwest, and then west, but they said wind shear in the Central Atlantic would likely cause it to return to tropical depression status by the weekend.

Some restrengthening was in the forecast beyond Sunday.

NOAA’s GFS shows TD 12 falling apart and becoming an open tropical wave as it nears the western Atlantic.

Although it’s possible that the storm could threaten the Lesser Antilles toward the middle of next week, early forecast models suggest that it could miss the islands to the northeast.

TROPICAL STORM RECORD: Julia, which formed on Tuesday west of St. Augustine, was the first tropical storm on record to form over land in Florida, according to Colorado State University’s Phil Klotzbach.

Julia was still interacting with land on Wednesday but was maintaining miminal tropical storm status with winds of 40 mph. It was forecast to become a remnant low if it continues to interact with land near the coast of Georgia.

“There is a possibility, however, that the system could strengthen if it moves far enough out over water,” NHC forecaster Richard Pasch said today.

A move off-shore into the Atlantic is suggested by several forecast models. The Canadian Model (CMC) shows it moving off-shore of South Carolina on Thursday and strengthening significantly in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Julia forms near Northeast Florida coast


Newly formed Tropical Storm Julia was dropping heavy rain in North Florida and Central Florida, but South Florida was mostly dry. (Credit: NOAA)

Tropical Storm Julia — the same system that blew up convection off-shore Palm Beach on Monday night and early Tuesday morning before sliding north along Florida’s East Coast — formed at 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said.

The 10th named storm of the year dropped heavy rain in Central and North Florida, including 3.41 inches in Melbourne and 2.43 inches in Delray Beach.

Despite its proximity to South Florida earlier in the day, not much precipitation fell. Palm Beach International Airport reported a 0.02 of an inch sprinkling, Fort Lauderdale had 0.29 of an inch, while Miami remained dry. Palm Beach also reported no rain.

The forecast is for Julia is to move into South Georgia, and forecast models show it possibly heading up the East Coast of the Carolinas. It had 40 mph sustained winds — minimum for a tropical storm. Strengthening was not expected.

Advisories were set to begin at 11 p.m., the NHC said in a special statement.

Florida low pressure system ramping up, NHC says


A low pressure system that has been drifting north off the Florida coast is blowing up convection and triggering tropical storm force winds , the National Hurricane Center said. (Credit: NOAA)

UPDATE: In a special statement, the NHC said it would not initiate advisories on the northwest of Daytona Beach for the 5 PM advisory.


ORIGINAL POST: Tropical weather is hammering the Florida peninsula, especially Central and North Florida.

Advisories may be issued later today for Invest 93L, the system that passed just off-shore of Palm Beach on Monday night and Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said this afternoon. Forecasters said it was already “very close” to becoming a tropical depression or storm as it blows up bursts of convection near Daytona Beach.

They gave it a 40 percent chance of development as it moves north-northwest.

Gusty winds and heavy rainfall were in the forecast for Central Florida. Showers and thunderstorms were popping up today over South Florida, but Palm Beach International Airport reported just 0.01 of an inch of rain at 2 p.m. No rain has been reported in Palm Beach.

Tropical Storm Ian forms in Atlantic; Bahamas low targets Florida


Forecast track for Tropical Storm Ian. (Credit: NHC)

The ninth named storm of the 2016 hurricane season formed at 11 a.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center said. Tropical Storm Ian was moving toward the northwest with winds of 40 mph — minimal tropical storm force — and was not expected to be a threat to land. NHC forecasters predicted Ian would top out as a 60 mph tropical storm on Thursday as it moves over the open Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Invest 93L was in the Bahamas and moving toward the Florida peninsula. Wind shear over the Bahamas was running at a relatively high 25 knots — not conducive for development, according to NHC forecasters. Still, they gave it 10 percent chance of becoming a depression or storm over the next two- to five days.

“Locally heavy rainfall is possible over portions of the central and northwestern Bahamas today, and portions of the Florida peninsula on Tuesday,” NHC Senior Hurricane Specialist Richard Pasch said.

Rain chances in the Palm Beach area range from 60 percent Monday to 70 percent on Tuesday.

“The eventual solution of the trough will surely require further adjustments to the overall
forecast scenario for the short term depending on when the trough reaches the Florida peninsula,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said. “Models suggest the trough could actually move into central Florida by late Tuesday, which may keep a rather wet pattern across the area through Wednesday morning.”


Invest 93L over the Bahamas is expected to bring heavy rain to the Florida peninsula on Tuesday. (Credit: NHC)

Long-running weather blog spins down; second one brewing

This blog is the follow-up to Weather Matters, which I wrote for the Palm Beach Daily News for seven years. Call it Weather Matters 2.0 or better yet, Son of Weather Matters.

That blog was discontinued as of Friday.

Blogs, like everything else in life, come with an unknown expiration date. But Weather Matters didn’t go away because it failed to attract readers. It developed a solid base of loyal readers and in 2015, racked up more than 70,000 views.

I hope that the archives — which stretch from July 2009 to September 2016 — will remain available since people have used the posts to research weather trends and find specific data about days, weeks or months.

Over the years, temperature and precipitation information was gathered and reported for different South Florida micro-climates. That includes Palm Beach and other barrier islands, which consistently have slightly different weather than much of the urban sprawl to the west. Even 10 miles can make a huge difference in rainfall and temperature.

The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center do a great job and are the gold standard for information throughout Florida and elsewhere. But there are other valuable sources of information as well — Weather Underground’s network of neighborhood observation stations and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network being two examples — and these are worthy of reporting as well.

They help provide a more complete picture of these micro-climates. In Florida in particular, one size does not fit all.

That’s what makes writing about it interesting and why I’ll continue posting about weather and climate in this new venue.



The nation as a whole had the warmest summer lows on record. (Credit: NOAA/ NCEI)

EVERYWHERE, SIZZLING AND SUPER-SULTRY: Nighttime lows were the warmest on record across the U.S., with records going to back to 1895. Summer 2016 — which encompasses June 1 through Aug. 31 — tied 2011 for the hottest on record in West Palm Beach.

Overall, it was the fifth hottest summer in the U.S., according to data released Thursday by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

The average low temperature in the U.S. during the summer months was 60.81 degrees, according to Bob Henson at Weather Underground. “The average daily summer low in the contiguous 48 states has climbed about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century,” he said in a blog post.

In West Palm Beach, 18 daily temperature records were set during the summer months at Palm Beach International Airport — all but one of them setting a new mark or tying an existing one for warmest minimum low.

On July 17 and 18, the low at PBIA was 84, just a degree shy of the all-time warmest low temperature ever recorded, 85 on July 28 and 29, 2011. Palm Beach had four days in July with lows of 84 degrees.

The phenomenon of warming nights is getting the attention of the scientific community. A study released in March contends that atmosphere closest to the ground — called a boundary layer — is more effective at trapping heat caused by a warming climate at night.

It’s important to keep a close on this trend to see how it unfolds over the coming years.