Ex-Beryl headed for Bahamas

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Tropical Storm Chris had top winds of 60 mph and was forecast to become the season’s second hurricane on Tuesday, while the remnants of Beryl slide west over the northeastern Caribbean. (Image credit: NHC)

WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES STATEMENT ON BERYL: “At this time none of the guidance and overall conditions favor the potential development of tropical wave Beryl to be a concern for South Florida despite the 50 percent chance of development as it approaches the central Bahamas, ” Pablo Santos, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Miami said in a 7 p.m. statement to the media.

“The potential development region remains well to our east and upper level flow pattern favors it turning north well east of us. We will continue to monitor this closely and should this perspective change we will let you know.”

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ORIGINAL POST: Ex-Beryl has a date with the Bahamas later in the week, the National Hurricane Center said Monday, but the question is — will there be any impact on Florida weather from the one-time hurricane?

On Monday morning, forecast models were mostly placing any redevelopment of Beryl in the Central Bahamas, and the National Weather Service says it will have no direct impact on the peninsula except to turn winds southerly. But that wind flow will be enough to pump tropical moisture into South Florida, upping rain chances to 40 percent.

Highest rain chances will be across the interior, forecasters said.

A few forecast models bring ex-Beryl a little closer to Florida’s East Coast, in particular the Canadian model (CMC), which is not one of the more respected models for tropical weather forecasting. In its 8 a.m. Monday Tropical Weather Outlook, the NHC had the orange redevelopment cone covering Andros Island to Grand Bahama north-northeast through the Central Bahamas and into the open Atlantic.

What will likely turn ex-Beryl away from the U.S.? NWS Melbourne explains: “Upper trough over [the Northeastern] US deepens, causing TC Chris offshore [North Carolina] to eject [northeast]. This trough and associated height weakness will also capture remnants of TC Beryl, recurving the system near/east of the easternmost Bahamas.”

One other tropical impact to Florida this week: Tropical Storm Chris increases the threat for rip currents for the northeast Florida beaches, according to the NWS Jacksonville. On Monday, the risk was “Moderate” from just north of Jacksonville south through Flagler County beaches.

Chris may also trigger a northeast swell, building through Tuesday as high as 5-6 feet off-shore of Volusia and Brevard counties, the NWS-Melbourne said.

Minus any changes in the forecast, Florida should be looking at a “typical summertime pattern” as we head into the weekend, forecasters said.

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Puerto Rico, still struggling to recover from last year’s Hurricane Maria, was bracing for up to 4 inches of rain from the remnants of Beryl. A Flash Flood Watch was issued. (Image credit: NWS-San Juan)

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FLORIDA RAINFALL WATCH: Heaviest precipitation Sunday was in the panhandle, where an observer in southern Gadsden County west of Talahassee reported 3.77 inches to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

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NATIONAL ATTENTION FOR LAKE O: The algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee — which now covers about 90 percent of the 730-square-mile lake — is filtering into canals on the coast and smells like “opening a bag of moldy bread,” the New York Times says in story published Monday.

The bloom, a result of rain, hot weather agricultural runoff, occurs every summer but this summer is the worst many have seen. NOAA scientists are warning people who come into contact with it to immediately wash it off to avoid irritation. It can be fatal for dogs that swim in it.

NOAA researchers are engaged in studies to see whether the yearly algae blooms — which affect other freshwater lakes around the nation as well — are becoming more frequent and severe, the newspaper reports.

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Tropical Storm Chris forms; Beryl may regenerate over Bahamas

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5 PM UPDATE: Beryl was officially downgraded to a tropical wave late Sunday, but the NHC is still talking about regeneration in the Bahamas toward the end of the week. See analysis below. (Image credit: NHC)

FORECASTERS EYE BERYL REBIRTH IN BAHAMAS: “On days 3-5, there appears to be an opportunity for the remnants of Beryl to regenerate into a tropical cyclone when the system moves through the Bahamas and into the southwestern Atlantic,” the National Hurricane Center’s Stacy Stewart said in the 11 a.m. analysis of the storm, which is forecast to get downgraded to a tropical wave on Monday.

“Vertical wind shear conditions are forecast by most of the models to be light, with even the possibility of the development of a weak upper-level anticyclone across the Bahamas. The combination of the favorable upper-level wind flow pattern in conjunction with sea-surface temperatures of 28-29 degrees C should yield conditions conducive for the reformation of a tropical cyclone, although Beryl’s low-level remnants are likely to be significantly disrupted by Hispaniola and could take some time to reform.”

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ORIGINAL POST: For what’s been forecast to be a slow hurricane season, July is off to a brisk start with two named storms on the map as we head into the second week of the month.

Tropical Storm Chris, the season’s third named storm, formed early Sunday morning off the coast of the Carolinas and was forecast to meander off shore until Tuesday, after which it’s forecast by the National Hurricane Center to track northeast and become the season’s second hurricane.

Tropical Storm Beryl, east of the Leeward Islands, was expected to fall apart and become an open wave as it nears the Caribbean, but some of the forecast models predict regeneration after the storm turns north into the Central Bahamas by mid-week.

The National Weather Service in Miami says the system will be too far east of the Florida peninsula to have a direct impact. “However,” forecasters said in their Sunday discussion, “this will breakdown the Atlantic ridging and will turn winds more southerly. The southerly winds will bring an increase of moisture to the region and an increase in rain chances for the end of the week.”

The NHC predicts Chris will top out as an 80-mph hurricane by Wednesday as it stays off-shore but moves in the general direction of Nova Scotia.

RAINFALL REPORT: Interior areas of Central Florida were the rainfall winners on Saturday, with almost 2.5 inches falling in Osceola County, 2 inches in Orange County north of Orlando, and an inch southwest of Gainesville in Alachua County. Close to 1.5 inches fell in parts of the Tallahassee area.

RECORD WATCH: An interesting weather dichotomy on Florida’s East Coast on Saturday — Vero Beach tied a record low temperature with 69 degrees, matching a mark last set in 1986. At the same time, Key West set a new record warm low temperature of 85, beating the previous record of 84 set in 2014. It was the second day in a row with a record warm low in Key West.

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RED TIDE ALERTS: K. brevis bloom remains a problem for beaches of Sarasota County, Charlotte County and Lee County. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

Beryl losing some of its punch as it drives toward islands

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(Image credit: NHC)

Beryl was clinging to hurricane strength Saturday [UPDATE: Downgraded to a tropical storm at 11 a.m. with winds of 50 mph at 5 p.m.) as it moved west-northwest toward the Caribbean, where forecasters said it would be ripped up by strong upper level winds.

A hurricane watch for Dominica and a tropical storm watch remained posted for several of the Leeward Islands, but the National Hurricane Center predicted dissipation by Wednesday when it was forecast to be just south of the Dominican Republic.

Most of the forecast models lose Beryl once it gets into the Caribbean, but the Canadian Model (CMC) has it regenerating a bit in the Bahamas after it makes a northward turn on Wednesday, its remnants scraping eastern Cuba.

The National Weather Service in Miami is not specifically mentioning Beryl, but forecasters note that a trough of low pressure may bring increased chance of showers and thunderstorms toward the end of next week.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Three continued to meander off the coast of the Carolinas. Forecasters expected it to become Tropical Storm Chris on Sunday. The National Weather Service in Morehead City, North Carolina was forecasting possible tropical storm conditions for the Outer Banks Sunday night, Monday and Monday night.

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RECORD REPORT: The low in Key West on Friday was 85 degrees, which set a new record for warm minimum temperature for the date. The old record of 84 was set in 2016.

RAINFALL REPORT: Parts of coastal Indian River and St. Lucie counties received more than 2 inches of rain Friday. A little under an inch was reported southwest of Gainesville. In the panhandle, an observer in the Panama City area reported 1.93 inches. (Source: Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.)

DOWNSLOPE: Saturday is the first day of the summer in which evening sunlight begins to wane. It’s a steady march downward from July 7 to early December in South Florida, when the sun sets at the earliest time of the year. The decline is gradual at first. By July 13, the sun will be setting two minutes earlier than its peak, which occurred at the end of June and early July.

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FUNNEL FACTS: July is the second-most active month for tornado activity in Florida, behind June. Tornadoes are least likely in November and December. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Surprising Beryl becomes first Atlantic hurricane; future uncertain

Tropical Depression Three forms, expected to become Chris

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UPDATE: Hurricane Beryl held steady at the 5 p.m. advisory with 80 mph winds, while Tropical Depression Three formed off the coast of the Carolinas. The National Hurricane Center predicted TD Three would become Tropical Storm Chris By Saturday and possibly Hurricane Chris by the middle of next week. Forecasts for both storms were complicated, with TD Three expected to wander around off the Mid-Atlantic Coast and Beryl expected to run into strong wind shear in the Caribbean. The NHC dropped the Category 2 forecast at 5 p.m. and said it would top out at 90 mph.

A Hurricane Watch was issued for Dominica — the Caribbean island decimated by Hurricane Maria last September — and Tropical Storm Watches were posted for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy. (Image credits: NHC)

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EARLIER UPDATE: “But we shall see.”

That’s the way the National Hurricane Center in Miami ended its 11 a.m. discussion on Hurricane Beryl, which had actually developed a “pinhole eye” for a few hours Friday morning and ramped up to an 80-mph storm. Forecasters predicted Beryl would further power up to a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds by Saturday night as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.

“Needless to say, it’s becoming more likely that Beryl will maintain hurricane strength when it reaches the Lesser Antilles between 48 and 72 hours,” Hurricane Specialist Robbie Berg said. “The cyclone is also now likely to persist beyond the 72-hour forecast point, and a 96-hour point has therefore been added to the official forecast, showing Beryl near or over Hispaniola by day 4.

“By that point, either increased shear or the terrain of Hispaniola would likely lead to dissipation. But we shall see.”

(Image credits, above and below: NHC)

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SFL Beryl

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

Small but audacious, Beryl became the first hurricane of the 2018 season on Friday morning with winds of 75 mph, with some further strengthening forecast.

It’s interesting to look at the evolution of the National Hurricane Center forecast for Beryl, which was first identified as a tropical depression less than 24 hours before blowing up into a hurricane. With that first advisory at 11 a.m. on Thursday, the system was forecast to reach minimal tropical storm force by late Friday morning, with winds of 40 mph.

It was forecast to dissipate by Monday, “east of the Lesser Antilles,” the NHC said, although heavy rain and gusty winds were still in the picture for the islands as it continued to move west.

But the storm whipped up much faster than anyone had expected — the forecast models were unimpressed — and the NHC put out a special advisory at 2:30 p.m. Thursday saying that it had become Beryl with 40 mph winds. By 5 p.m., calling the storm “a bit of a surprise,” winds had cranked up to 50 mph and an eye was developing.

The new forecast called for Beryl to become a minimal hurricane early Saturday morning, before hitting strong wind shear and dissipating by Monday, “before reaching the Lesser Antilles.”

By 11 p.m., winds were up to 65 mph. Friday’s advisory had Beryl at 75 mph — a minimal Category 1 — and the new forecast was for it to max out with 85 mph winds by late Friday and early Saturday. “I would not be too surprised if the compact hurricane reaches a slightly higher peak intensity,” Senior Hurricane Specialist Dan Brown said.

He added: “Although the updated NHC forecast shows Beryl reaching the Lesser Antilles as a tropical storm it is highly possible that the system will have degenerated into an open trough by that time. Regardless of the system’s status at 72 hours, it is likely to bring strong gusty winds and locally heavy rains to portions of the Lesser Antilles Sunday and Monday.”

Still, no watches or warnings were posted for the islands, although forecasters said residents should closely monitor the forecasts.

Why had Beryl proven to be so unpredictable? It’s the small size of the storm, NHC forecasters said. It’s not unusual for tiny tropical cyclones to have rapid fluctuations in strength. Hurricane-force winds extend just 10 miles from the center and tropical storm winds extend 35 miles from the center.

Forecast tracks appear to have shifted back to the north a bit, and some of the GFS Ensembles have Beryl (or its remnants, most likely), heading toward Florida or even curving out to sea over the Central Bahamas.

A few intensity forecast models show it becoming a Category 2 hurricane but all of them (as released by the National Center for Atmospheric Research) have it weakening after three days, and some have it dissipating after five days.

The National Weather Service in Miami was faced with analyzing a very complicated weather pattern, with a new low developing off the coast of the Carolinas — which the NHC was giving an 80 percent chance of becoming Tropical Depression Three or Tropical Storm Chris — as well as potential moisture from ex-Beryl moving toward the peninsula next week.

“Some drier air from the east may move near the region early in the week as a low develops off the Carolina coast,” NWS forecasters said Friday. “As of this moment, the Atlantic high breaks down, which should allow this low to stay away from Florida. As the Carolina low moves off and the surface high reestablishes itself over the region, some tropical moisture/easterly wave activity may push near the region towards the end of the week.

“Due to the nature of how things can evolve towards the end of the extended forecast period, confidence in these features and their potential impacts to weather over South Florida remain low.”

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Forecast tracks for Hurricane Beryl, above, and Tropical Depression Three, below. (Image credits: SFWMD)

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Tropical Storm Beryl ‘unlikely’ to impact Florida, forecasters say

Tropical Storm Beryl forms in Atlantic

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UPDATE: The depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Beryl by the National Hurricane Center at 2:30 p.m. By 5 p.m., forecasters were predicting that Beryl would become the season’s first hurricane on Saturday morning. Nevertheless, they continue to expect dissipation by Monday as it rolls over the Lesser Antilles. Forecast tracks, meanwhile, have shifted south into the Caribbean. (Image credit: NHC)

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The season’s second tropical depression formed in the Central Atlantic Thursday and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted it would become the second named storm of the year by Friday. But they said it would be short-lived due to high wind shear near the Lesser Antilles. They predicted dissipation by Monday. “Even though the cyclone is expected to dissipate east of the Lesser Antilles early next week, the remnant tropical wave will continue moving quickly westward, likely bringing locally heavy rains and gusty winds to portions of the Leeward Islands on Sunday and Monday,” Hurricane Specialist Robbie Berg said in the storm’s first forecast discussion. 

Invest 95L

‘VERY UNLIKELY’: The National Weather Service sums up the potential threat posed to Florida by Invest 95L in the Atlantic by noting that major forecast models call for the system to dissipate once it reaches the Lesser Antilles. Early Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center was giving the disturbance a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression — or possibly Tropical Storm Beryl — as it moves west-northwest in the Central Atlantic. A second low south of Bermuda had a 30-40 percent chance of developing as it moves toward the north. If both would develop, the next name on the 2018 list is Chris.

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Nature went toe-to-toe with fireworks displays on Wednesday as an upper level low whipped up strong storms accompanied by a lightning show that lasted through the evening hours.

Thunderstorms ripped across Florida’s East Coast in the early morning hours of Thursday, too, dumping as much as 1.77 inches of rain in West Palm Beach.

Southwest Florida was hammered on the holiday, with Fort Myers officially picking up 3.56 inches. Tampa reported 1.47 inches and inland, in Hendry County, an observer reported 2.32 inches to the National Weather Service in Miami.

East-Central Florida saw some soakers as well. Parts of Putnam County and Brevard County were hit with around 2.5 inches of rain.

Thursday was expected to be a carbon copy of Wednesday, with afternoon storms slamming South Florida and Central Florida.

Starting on Sunday, there’s a potential for “a slightly drier air mass” to take control in South Florida, NWS forecasters said in their Thursday morning analysis from Miami. They noted that tropical waves moving in from the Atlantic could push rain chances back above normal again next week.

Although it seems likely that 95L will get dismantled by strong wind shear near the Lesser Antilles, the GFS suggests that some of the moisture associated with it could eventually wash into the Florida peninsula.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for normal levels of precipitation in Florida from July 10-18.

Tropics perk up as forecasters track two Atlantic disturbances

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8 PM UPDATE: The National Hurricane Center said the disturbance in the Eastern Atlantic — Invest 95L — was “likely” to become a tropical depression by Friday as it moves west or west-northwest toward the Lesser Antilles. Conditions may become more hostile to the system by the weekend, forecasters said. For the low south of Bermuda, forecasters bumped down chances of development over the next five days to 50 percent, but the two-day chances remained at 40 percent. (Image credits: top: NHC; bottom: SFWMD)

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There’s a bit of irony — maybe Nature has a sense of humor — that two days after a drastic cut to the hurricane season forecast the Atlantic suddenly springs to life with two potential storms.

Colorado State University’s updated forecast issued Monday called for 11 named storms in 2018, and that includes the one already in the books, May’s Subtropical Storm Alberto.

With a follow-up to the forecast on Tuesday, CSU’s Philip Klotzbach tweeted: “Latest Climate Forecast System model runs predict much stronger than normal vertical wind shear during August-October in Caribbean & a bit stronger than normal further east in tropical Atlantic. If this verifies, would likely reduce Atlantic #hurricane activity.”

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center got out their colored markers on Tuesday, marking off potential storms south of Bermuda and in the eastern Atlantic. Development chances were up to 60 percent Wednesday morning for the former, and 30 percent for the latter.

It’s a little early for the start of the Cape Verde hurricane season, in which tropical waves from the coast of Africa become a focus of concern and angst. But there it is, and the NHC was impressed enough to designate the system Invest 95L, which means track runs are now available on such websites as the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Early-cycle track guidance showed 95L targeting the northwestern Leeward Islands, and the GFS Ensemble group shows an eventual path that takes it anywhere from the Central Caribbean to the Bahamas. The intensity guidance, which is always the weakest part of tropical weather forecasting, shows a spread from no development at all to a low-level Category 1 hurricane.

Both systems may be brief flashes in the pan, however. NHC forecasters say upper level winds will become hostile as 95L approaches the islands this weekend, and the GFS and other forecast models show it fizzling out.

The low south of Bermuda may have a short shelf life as well, since NHC forecasters say it will interact with a frontal system on Sunday.

The Atlantic wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin indicates shear as high as 50 knots in the Northwestern Caribbean. But if 95L would get bumped up to the north and miss the islands entirely, it may find friendlier conditions.

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RECORD WATCH: The low in Melbourne Tuesday was 81, a record warm minimum temperature. The previous record was 79 set in 2001. It was the second day in a row that Melbourne notched a record warm low.

RAINFALL FORECAST: An upper-level low was moving into the Florida peninsula Wednesday. It should increase rain and thunderstorm chances Wednesday and Thursday as it slides west into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Weather Service said.

 

Florida Fourth forecast: Low pressure sloshes in from Atlantic

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TROPICS PERK UP: National Hurricane Center forecasters upped chances of development for the system southeast of Bermuda in the Atlantic from 30 percent to 50 percent Tuesday night. At the same time, they began tracking a tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic, giving it a 20 percent chance of development over the next five days. It may encounter more hostile conditions as it nears the islands over the weekend, forecasters said. The next name on the list is Beryl, followed by Chris. (Image credit: NHC)

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Water spouts

NEW TWIST: The National Weather Service in Tampa is reporting an uptick in waterspouts forming just off-shore in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re most apt to form in the mid- to late-morning, according to forecasters, as storms begin to develop along the land breeze off the beach. Waterspouts are also a fairly common occurrence in the Keys. Needless to say: Amscray if you see one heading toward shore. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

Will thunder compete with the snap-crackle-pop of fireworks over the holiday on Wednesday?

Rain chances over the Florida peninsula tick up as we head into mid-week, the National Weather Service says, with an upper level low arriving from the Atlantic. Precipitation probabilities stay in the 50 percent range on the East Coast for the afternoon and may be around 30-40 percent at fireworks time on Wednesday, forecasters said.

The West Coast is looking at rain chances of about 60 percent. Forecasts show a little drier weather in the Keys.

“Both of the GFS and the ECMWF show the upper level low slowly drifting across the Florida peninsula at least through Thursday, which will allow for the enhanced moisture and the high rain chances to continue,” forecasters in Miami said in their Tuesday morning forecast discussion.

This low is distinct from the one expected to form southwest of Bermuda by Thursday. That’s the one getting some attention from the National Hurricane Center, where forecasters give it a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm as it moves west and then northwest off the U.S. Coast.

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RAINFALL REPORT: Wet spots through 7 a.m. Tuesday include 2.35 inches east of Clearwater in Pinellas County; 2.25 inches on the east side of Naples in Collier County; 1.57 inches just north of Pensacola in Escambia County; and 1.51 inches north of Tampa off I-275. Data via Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

RECORD WATCH: The official low in Melbourne on Monday was 79, which broke the record for warmest low for the date. The previous record was 77 set in 1998.