Tampa ties 76-year-old heat record; heavy rain possible in South Florida

Warm overnight record lows

East-Central Florida has been record warm at night this month. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne)

The calendar said October 10, but Tampa baked under July-type heat Tuesday with a high of 94 degrees. It tied a 76-year-old record high set in 1941.

The heat index topped out at 99, which would have been worse if not for low relative humidity levels in the mid-40-percent range.

More record warm lows were tied or set on Florida’s East-Central Coast on Tuesday. Records were broken in Vero Beach and Melbourne with 79 and 80 degrees, respectively.

Record warm lows were tied in Orlando and Daytona Beach with temperatures of 75 and 76, respectively. The Daytona Beach temperature matched a mark set 83 years ago in 1934.

Bahamas system 101117

Rain was already heading toward the Florida peninsula Wednesday. (Credit: NOAA)

LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL is possible Thursday and Friday afternoons in South Florida, the National Weather Service in Miami says. The trigger is an upper level low pressure system that’s about to slide in from the Bahamas.

Later in the weekend, a cold front stalls over Central Florida and at the same time, a tropical wave rolls in from the Atlantic. That should keep rain chances high — at least 60 percent — through Saturday night and 40 percent Sunday.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is predicting about 2.5 inches of rain over southeastern Florida through Monday.

HALLOWEEN FORECASTS can be tricky three weeks out, but the Farmer’s Almanac insists that most people east of the Mississippi are in for a treat with nice weather for the holiday.

The includes Florida and the southeastern U.S. Stormy Halloween weather is expected in the Rocky Mountain States, the South-Central U.S. and California, Oregon and Washington.

Long-range AccuWeather forecast show a little different picture, with quite pleasant Halloween weather in the West.

The forecast for a few selected cities, according to AccuWeather: Boston, clouds, 61 and 43; Orlando, thunderstorms, 78 and 67; Chicago, clouds, 63 and 51; St. Louis, sunny, 69 and 51; Denver, sunny, 64 and 34; Phoenix, sunny, 85 and 61; Los Angeles, sunny, 78 and 58; Seattle, rain, 58 and 46.


Tampa temps running more than 4 degrees above normal for October


TROPICS WATCH: Tropical Storm Ophelia was forecast to become a hurricane on Wednesday, and top out with 85 mph winds by Thursday. (Credit: NHC)

The heat goes on, as Sonny & Cher once (almost) said.

It was 93 in Naples and 93 in St. Petersburg Monday as Florida’s October heat wave continued unabated. The high was also 93 at Fort Myers’ Southwest International Airport.

It was 91 in Jacksonville and Tampa, and even Marathon in the normally more moderate Keys hit 90 degrees.

Normal highs for this time of the year are in the mid-80s over much of the peninsula.

Low temperatures around Florida are even more out of whack. For example, the normal low in West Palm Beach ticks down to 72 on Saturday but the low Sunday and Monday was 81 and 80, respectively. The temperature bottomed out Monday at 77, but that was a rain-cooled reading as just under a half-inch of rain rolled through Central Palm Beach County late Monday afternoon.

Nearing mid-month, overall temperatures are running more than 2 degrees above average in South Florida, about a degree in the Keys,

Central Florida is much above average as well, with Daytona Beach temps running 3.6 degrees above average. And Tampa overall October temps were an incredible 4.5 degrees above average through Monday.

More record warm lows were tied or set Monday. Daytona tied a record at 77 degrees — it was 76 in Orlando, which broke the previous record warm low of 75 set in 2009.

The forecast for a wet weekend is on track as a tropical wave and an upper-level low slide across the state. In addition, a stalled cold front over Central Florida will add to the precipitation probabilities, according to the National Weather Service.

Paynes Prairie flooding

GAINESVILLE AREA FLOODING: A Paynes Prairie levee break on October 1 caused water to pour into the wetland, flooding parts of U.S. Highway 441. Gainesville had record rains in June and July, and annual rainfall through October 9 is around 7 inches short of the all-time record set in 1953. (Credit: NWS-Jacksonville)


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.

Fort Lauderdale heat index hits 109; Century-old heat record falls


Tropical Storm Nate was making its way through Alabama Sunday and was forecast to bring heavy rain to much of the southeastern U.S. See below for more on Nate and the tropics. (Credit: NOAA)

Most of Florida ended the first week of October in a summer-like steam bath, with heat index readings topping 100 degrees up and down the peninsula.

The heat index in Fort Lauderdale was a blistering 109 degrees on Saturday. It was 106 in Miami and 103 in West Palm Beach. The relative humidity in Miami was 94 percent at 11 p.m., which in combination with a temperature of 83 produced a heat index of 96.

The heat index in Naples topped out at 100 degrees.

In Central Florida, heat index values ranged from 103 in Orlando and Melbourne to 104 in Fort Pierce, and in North-Central Florida it was 103 in Ocala.

On top of that, Saturday morning lows smashed records:

  • Saturday’s low in West Palm Beach, 81, busted a 117-year-old record warm temperature minimum for the date, 80 degrees set in 1900.
  • The low in Miami of 83 broke the record for warmest low for the date — 80 degrees, set just last year. It also tied the record for the warmest low ever recorded in October, set on October 4, 1995.
  • Fort Lauderdale’s low was 83, breaking the record for the date and setting a new record for the all-time warmest low ever recorded in October. Remarkably, that record, 82, was set the previous day — on October 6.
  • Naples tied a record warm low with 80 — set a year ago.
  • Vero Beach tied a record warm low with 78, matching the mark set 62 years ago.
  • Melbourne set a new record warm low with 77.
  • Orlando set a record warm low with 76.

TROPICAL STORM NATE: The storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near the mouth of the Mississippi River at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday with winds of 85 mph.

More than 8,000 homes in the Pensacola area lost power but service was being restored quickly Sunday morning, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

Storm surge entered the lobby of a coastal casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, Bob Henson at Weather Underground reported. But he said inundation levels generally fell short of predictions by the National Hurricane Center.

TROPICS WATCH: Sunday’s run of the GFS featured a developing low moving west across the Atlantic and over Florida’s East Coast next weekend. The European had the system moving across the peninsula as a tropical wave, according to the National Weather Service.

The Canadian (CMC) had a much more robust system making it as far east as Grand Bahama Island before turning north next Sunday.

The NHC was still giving the disturbance southwest of the Azores in the Atlantic a 70 percent chance of development. If both systems would become named storms, the first would be Ophelia and the second would be Philippe.

Strengthening Hurricane Nate bears down on Gulf Coast

Panhandle storm surge

Parts of the Florida panhandle were preparing for storm surge from Hurricane Nate. (Credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

The Gulf Coast was bracing for a strengthening Hurricane Nate on Saturday and its impact was expected to be felt through much of the Florida panhandle.

The National Hurricane Center predicted it would make landfall late Saturday or early Sunday morning near Mobile, Alabama with Category 2 winds of 105 mph.

The storm was moving quickly toward the north-northwest Saturday morning at 26 mph, but a turn toward the north-northeast was forecast for early Saturday evening.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for Grand Isle Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border, and Hurricane Watches and Tropical Storm Warnings extended east well into the Florida panhandle to Walton County east of Fort Walton Beach.

Dangerous storm surge was forecast for areas east of the center, and rainfall amounts of 3-6 inches long the coast. Up to 10 inches were predicted for parts of the southern Appalachians after Nate makes landfall and begins moving through the southeastern U.S. on Sunday and Monday.

Nate is expected to have no impact on South Florida, but as the storm turns northeast on Sunday in Alabama some locally heavy rainfall may be possible late in the day over the interior of Central Florida, the National Weather Service in Melbourne said.

North Florida is also warning of locally heavy rains through Tuesday.

South Florida is expecting a drier week as high pressure builds in. A tropical wave moving in from the Atlantic on Friday will up rain chances in South Florida to around 40 percent, according to the NWS in Miami.

In the northeastern Atlantic, an area of disturbed weather near the Azores was given a 70 percent chance of becoming the next tropical depression, or Tropical Storm Ophelia, by Monday. It was drifting toward the southwest, but was expected to run into unfavorable conditions after that and not affect land.

Saturday’s run of the GFS had another system sprouting up in the Caribbean on Monday, October 23, but for now that should be taken with a shrug.

Crystal River flooding

Strong southerly winds from Hurricane Nate could trigger flooding along Florida’s Nature Coast during high tides this weekend, the National Weather Service in Tampa said. (Credit: NWS-Tampa)


RECORD WATCH:  Miami tied a 102-year-old record Friday with a low of 81. That matched the record warm low set in 1915, the National Weather Service said.

Fort Lauderdale’s low dropped to only 82 on Friday, which set a new record warm low for the date — and tied the record for the warmest low ever recorded in October.

Tampa tied a record high Friday with 93, matching the mark set in 1966.



Florida’s rain is mainly on the wane, forecasters say

Nate New Orleans forecast

New Orleans is preparing for a direct hit from Tropical Storm Nate this weekend, possibly as a hurricane. See Tropics Watch below for more. (Credit: NWS-New Orleans)

Put away the umbrellas and get ready to crank up the A/C.

The key point in Friday’s discussion of the seven-day forecast by the National Weather Service in Miami is: “Temperatures will be warmer than average for this time of year with increased sunshine and no signs of any cold/dry air intrusion into the region.”

Forecast highs are in the mid-80s along Florida’s East Coast, but nighttime lows aren’t expected to be much below 80 degrees through the end of next week.

The end of this particular phase of the hurricane season — it’s not over, unfortunately, by any stretch of the imagination — may be accompanied by hopes and dreams of open window weather. But you would be deeply disappointed, as high pressure gives center stage to a hot Florida sun and east to southeast winds keep temperatures summertime steamy at night.

During the second week of October, normal highs and lows in Miami are 87 and 75; 86 and 73 in West Palm beach.

Actually, lows were in the mid-70s in Miami Wednesday and Thursday, but only because the area was socked with almost 4 inches of rain. Thursday’s low in West Palm Beach was 73 because a 3-inch deluge cooled the early morning air.

Some people are already calling this week’s Bahamas low the No-Name Storm, since it received scant attention from the National Hurricane Center due to its inability to achieve a closed surface circulation.

Nevertheless, the 3 inches in coastal Palm Beach was accompanied by winds gusting up to 48 mph, nothing to sneeze at. The system was off the NHC outlook map on Friday, finally out in the Gulf of Mexico.

In any event, after Tropical Storm Nate finishes its business in the Gulf this weekend, a more summer-like pattern returns to South Florida next week, according to forecasters, with sea-breeze-inspired showers over the interior and closer to the West Coast.

By Monday, rain chances on the East Coast drop to 20 percent.

Just for fun, I checked the ultra-long-range forecast from AccuWeather and it doesn’t show any sub-70-degree lows until Halloween, when the forecast low is 68 and the forecast high is 80.

Nothing to hang your hat on, but an indication of the direction in which we are ultimately headed.

TROPICS WATCH: Nate is the only game in town when it comes to the Atlantic Basin, although the low near the Azores was given a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical or subtropical depression — or perhaps Ophelia — over the next five days.

It’s expected to meander over the deep North-Central Atlantic for the next five days, and will likely have no affect on North America.

Nate is a different story. It’s expected to reach Category 1 hurricane status before socking southeastern Louisiana early Sunday morning. Hurricane Watches have been posted for the coast of Louisiana, and Tropical Storm Watches stretch east as far as Pensacola.

A state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana the National Guard is being mobilized. A pumping system that keeps New Orleans from flooding will be continuously monitored.

Nate may not have the wind muscle of an Irma or Maria, but it will dump dangerous amounts of rainfall all the way from southeastern Louisiana north through northern Georgia and the Appalachians. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center suggests more than 8 inches of rain will cause havoc in the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

South Florida Flood Watch issued; Nate forms in Caribbean

Flood Watch

A Flood Watch was posted for Southeast Florida Thursday. (Credit: NWS)

October is Florida’s gateway to the dry season, but the gate remains firmly closed as the first week of the month winds down.

South Florida and most of the East Coast have seen rain every day since Sunday, and more is in the forecast through Saturday.

Melbourne logged 6.12 inches for the month through Wednesday, while Vero Beach has slogged through 4.21 inches. Fort Pierce’s total stood at 4.50 inches Wednesday night.

West Palm Beach has had one of the lighter totals at 0.70; Fort Lauderdale has had 1.20 inches and Miami, 3.01.

Wednesday’s totals: 1.87 inches in Miami; top wind gust 37; 0.28 in Fort Lauderdale, top wind gust 42; 0.27 in West Palm Beach, top gust 40 mph; 0.50 in Fort Pierce, top gust 33 mph; 1.06 in Vero Beach, top gust 48 mph; and 0.77 in Melbourne, top gust 39 mph.

The West Coast was mostly dry, with a few areas reporting a trace to just under a tenth of an inch.

The National Weather Service says patterns will shift next week toward more normal rainy season-type afternoon showers, and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above-normal precipitation up and down the Florida peninsula through at least October 18.


In addition to newly-minuted Tropical Storm Nate, the NHC was watching two other areas of disturbed weather. The area near the Florida Keys was not expected to develop, and a newly-identified system near the Azores was given a 20 percent chance of becoming a depression, or Tropical Storm Ophelia, in five days. (Credit: NHC)

TROPICS WATCH: Tropical Depression 16 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Nate at 8 a.m. Thursday by the National Hurricane Center. It was near the coast of Honduras Thursday. The forecast track takes it into the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm and to the northern Gulf Coast Sunday as a minimal Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph.

However, in Thursday morning’s run, the GFS was underwhelmed with TD 16 and had it limping into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday after moving over the Yucatan Peninsula. The European kept it off the northeastern tip of the Yucatan before drilling it into Southeastern Louisiana Sunday as a tropical storm.

The Canadian (CMC) was more in line with the GFS, but the Navy model (NAVGEM) had a formidable storm hitting Louisiana on Sunday. Ditto for the hurricane models HWRF abnd HMON.

“The intensity models have continued their downward trend,” NHC forecaster Jack Bevin said in the agency’s 5 a.m. advisory. “But the NHC forecast remains near the higher side of the guidance due to … favorable conditions and persistence from the previous advisory.

“Some additional strengthening is possible while the system moves over the southern
and central Gulf of Mexico, and the NHC intensity forecast brings the system to hurricane strength within 72 hours.”

Nate was forecast to bring 15-20 inches of rain to parts of Nicaragua and 5-10 inches in Costa Rica and Panama. Forecasters warned of flash floods and mudslides.