(Image: Daily rainfall totals submitted to the CocoRaHS from my location in Cape Canaveral. Monthly total: 2.34")
Not so subtle changes are in store for the area through Friday. Yesterday's front is now located somewhere between Cuba and the Florida Straits as high pressure to the north skirts across the mid-Atlantic region. Somewhat cooler and drier air being pulled down south from circulation around the high will encompass/impinge on much (but not all) of North and Central Florida today. Those folks not lucky enough to receive full benefit of the 'dry slot' will continue to experience a broken to scattered mid level cloud deck. At the time of this writing...it appears the dry slot has already penetrated NE Florida and is progressively working SW toward Crystal River. The result is clearing skies in that region. For the most part, there really isn't that much as far as high level clouds goes..and with some heating from above some of the mid level clouds over our area could dissipate for a brief time. However, believe any partial clearing will be relatively short-lived, so that by late afternoon (if not sooner) we will again be clouding up. Surface winds are currently out of a due north direction, which believe it or not is just a tad off the Atlantic if you go back and look at your atlas and Florida's longitudinal configuration with due North.
Today: Surface wind will initially be from the north to NNE..but gradually swing around to NE and then east after sunset. The temperature along the coast will peak out in the low 60s..maybe mid 60s if enough sun can come out for any substantial amount of time. But due to the fact that the winds will be progressively be blowing in off 60 degree water coupled with the clouds...they will struggle to surpass 65 degrees at best. No rain today though. Just cool, breezy, and cloudy to partly cloudy.
Tonight-Early Monday: The wind will remain somewhat breezy from due east overnight. This coupled with returning moisture from the east will keep the sky conditions status quo. For the over night hours this combination will be a blessing. It's quite possible the temperature will remain steady after sunset...and quite possibly go up a few degrees toward sunrise. Hence, don't believe the coast will fall below 60 degrees tonight. Expect higher level clouds to be on the increase during the evening...so by day break it will be cloudy, somewhat breezy from due east, with a temperature around 62 degrees.
Noon Monday-Sunset: Things get very tricky for this period. Timing differences on the NAM and the GFS remain substantial, although not as much so as the 00Z run last night. The GFS this year has historically been overly aggressive and fast with almost every single system to move in this winter so I'm not buying into it's timing. The NAM has been much closer to reality (in my opinion), although it does come up with some off-the-wall surface features from time to time. I did notice on the morning (12Z) run though that it sped up and is much closer to the morning GFS..which remarkably slowed down a notch at the same time. In other words, those two models seem to be zero-ing in on a 'happy medium' with which I'll try to make heads-n-tails of.
For now, as winds shift very quickly around from easterly to southerly by Monday morning a weak inverted trough will form right along the coast in concert with a weak surface low forming just WNW of Key West. Another very weak low could also form just of the coast between Daytona-Cape Canaveral. These two features combined will create a NE to SW boundary elongated across Central Florida which I guess one could call a 'warm front'. Indeed, the wind south of the boundary will be southerly...if not eventually SSW during the course of Monday morning working into the early afternoon hours. Rain showers are possible during this transition, specifically right along the east coast during this time frame. But they will be light and limited to a small area, specifically dear the boundary .. somewhere from Daytona Beach to Sebastian. Otherwise, the temperature will get up into the mid-70s, especially once the wind becomes more SSW during the day. This boundary will remain in place across Central Florida and make only meager penetration further north toward Daytona as the weak Gulf low traces a path along the boundary beginning Monday night. Rain chances along the coast will increase as well as further south from a Ft. Pierce to Sarasota line.
Overnight Monday-Tuesday: The most likely to be the wettest period with mild temperatures.
Timing is still an issue for this period as far as precipitation is concerned, but temperatures won't be much of an issue. Over night lows to remain in the 60s with highs in the mid-upper 70s on Tuesday. If indeed rain chances are as high as is currently depicted...mid 70s are the better bet. The sky will be overcast though no matter how one slices the pie. If there's going to be any thunder, it appears it will be during the hours of peak heating Tuesday. Instability indices are weak to nearly non-existent and warmer air will be over running the boundary at 850mb...but a moderate Theta-E gradient at the lower levels from south to north and colder temperatures higher up (at and above 700mb) may be get established under decent mid-level speed shear right along the frontal boundary which, if not thunder producing, could result in some locally heavy pockets of rain sometime between noon-8pm across Central Florida. In other words, I would be hesitant to head out the door anytime Tuesday without some means of being able to stay dry while outside.
Tuesday Morning - Wednesday: The surface low (and possibly a secondary one off the coast of Daytona) will race off to the northeast and drag whatever kind of boundary one opts to call it across central Florida to the south and out of the picture. Expect by noon Wednesday that weather conditions will have improved drastically. We'll barely even see a north wind behind the boundary as it pulls out..but instead go right back to easterly. Don't think we'll see totally clear skies...as some residual moisture will linger and jet stream cirrus clouds will also be in play. But for the most part...Wednesday should be an okay day. In fact, the nicest of the entire week. This seems to be about the only thing all the models agree on.
Thursday-Saturday: Until this more 'urgent for immediate attention and yet to be even exist yet' system has cleared the area this period will be broad brushed. A slightly more dynamic system will be forming over the east central Gulf as we move into Thursday night...which will again cross Central Florida..this time dragging behind it a 'by definition' cold front through. For now, let's just expect that some over running precipitation will develop later Thursday in concert with a warm front that will form (again, across Central Florida) as the low develops. Precipitation may very well become more convective in nature (the thundery type) as we progress into Friday. But be real, that's 5 days away. Before then, we have bigger eggs to fry. Let's get past Tuesday first.