(Image: An ocean shower off East Central Florida Saturday Afternoon)
RECAP: Weather evolved yesterday pretty much as expected, ending with a bang near Tampa Bay around 11pm. Otherwise, the only real precipitation that did develop was along an apparent thermal gradient boundary, perhaps enhanced by the geography of the Cape during the late afternoon hours. The boundary developed as a result of extensive cloudiness across the north 1/2 of the state which was referred to yesterday morning which never dispersed during the course of the day. South of the clouds the surface temperature really heated up with very light winds even along the coast. The temperature at one point on my porch was up to 94 degrees which is nearly 10 degrees warmer that points further north and under the clouds. The rain showers set up running ENE-WSW over North Cape through Titusville and into Orange County. One heavier shower rolled easily along and south of the boundary seemingly hugging the thermal gradient as it rolled into extreme NE Osceola County. Elsewhere, the storms of the day much later were from near Naples to North Tampa Bay with the majority of them not really getting going until they were just off the west coast other than near Tampa Bay and Port Charolette where they experienced a heavy storm late in the evening. There was one rampant storm over Ft Lauderdale though with a reported wind gust of 43mph in the late afternoon which quickly 'dispersed' as it moved off toward the SW Coast.
SYNOPSIS: Strong high pressure along the U.S. East Coast from New England to South Georgia impinging on the Florida NE Coast this morning. Showers and a few lightning strikes have occurred well offshore the Florida East Coast which to this point have generally remained in the same place but are slowly spreading west toward the coast from Jacksonville to just south of West Palm. A few showers have already made it on shore of light-moderate intensity. Meanwhile, the low pressure area in the Gulf came ashore in a much weakened state on extreme SW Louisiana and is now moving northward around the western periphery of the high pressure system. Satellite imagery also depicts another mid-level cyclonic circulation of weaker organization moving rapidly north through East Central Mississippi with an attendant surface boundary extending East then SE from it which is now crossing Central Alabama. This is the old stationary boundary that was across I-10 yesterday. Meanwhile, the high pressure over the mid-Atlantic states centered near Virginia is working south along the coastline. There is a concentrated area of enhanced moisture along the leading edge of this 'backdoor front' as it works toward the SW which is still offshore Central and South Florida as of this writing, however a convergence boundary seems to be getting established over immediate Ft Pierce. Moderate-heavy showers have been continuously redeveloping at that point.
There was somewhat of a surface wind 'surge' of sorts over portions of East Central Florida early this morning accompanied by some brief rain showers which developed as a result of outflow from collapsing storms well off shore. This 'surge' of sorts has since passed well to the West of the immediate coast. Winds picked up for a good hour during its passage with some gusts just over 20 mph right along the A1A corridor, and since that time have remained a bit stronger on the beaches than what they were at sunrise. They seem to be dying down though even more as I write.
TODAY: For the most part the more focused area of showers and a few lightning strikes will remain offshore, but continue to impact the Ft. Pierce area for a while longer. In the meantime, the leading edge of higher pressure where the deepest moisture is concentrate will be forced on shore during the early afternoon, roughly sometime between 1:00-3:00pm. Just because this moisture will be moving over does not imply that it will rain everywhere that it exists overhead. As is often the case with a moist and steady onshore flow...very thin convergent/concentrated moisture bands can set up resulting in a steady stream of showers in one locale while nearby the sun will remain shining or nearly so. This is already in process ...and with some more heating of the day combined with short term visible satellite imagery loops (movies) these boundaries will become any such boundaries will become more evident. The best chances of rain today outside of what is occurring now for Central and South Central East Florida will be from 1:30pm -9pm this evening with clearing from north to south as we head toward sunset and into the overnight hours. Again, some folks might not see rain at all today whereas others might see quite a bit. Outside of any bands that might happen to set up (these are not guaranteed) there will be a wide spattering of rampant, light showers across the peninsula. Not expecting thunder and lightning today over the majority of the state other than extreme Southwest Florida on the west side of Lake O and points west to as far north as the immediate Tampa Bay where their morning sounding came in quite unstable once again.
TONIGHT INTO TOMORROW: The very thin moisture surge will pass west and south of Central Florida during the night and into early tomorrow and exist primarily from St. Lucie County and points south along the East Coast initially and into Okeechobee, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties. As the day progresses it will continue SW and thin out, exiting the state by late evening. In it's wake is much drier air through the atmosphere with the only moisture remaining in the lowest levels. As such, by tomorrow afternoon expecting only a few very isolated, light low-topped showers to move onshore north of this boundary toward the Cape which will not make it much further west than the US1-I95 corridor. The likelihood of even these renegade showers will henceforth decrease even more by late afternoon with remaining rains and possible thunderstorms all south of Central Florida and will be focused primarily over the extreme western portions from Sarasota and points south by late evening.
TUESDAY-FRIDAY: Looks dry with seasonable temperatures and weakening surface winds. But, see the TROPICAL section below.
TROPICS: Hurricane Danielle is long gone...but the long duration offshore swells continue, creating very hazardous swimming conditions due to the rip currents produced by them. Those, along with the ever present possibility of rain showers and off/on periods of cloud cover along the coast will not make for a good beach day. In Cape Canaveral this morning the waves did not look impressive to any degree whatsoever..but that's Cape Canaveral for you. There is no erosion occurring. There was a drowning yesterday 1 mile south of PAFB (Satellite Beach) of a 'surfer' as has been widely publicized by the news media. Another one was up at Ocean City. I'd be willing to bet he wasn't a very experienced 'surfer', but regardless anyone should take heed if planning on entering the water today despite the less than favorable weather conditions for even being on the beach in the first place.
EARL: Shortly before beginning to type this morning's post, Earl was officially proclaimed a hurricane as it approaches the northern Leeward Islands. Virtually every model is forecasting a curve to the NW right as it bears down on Puerto Rico. I'd be willing to bet that the island could experience some Tropical Storm force winds...but it will be close. It IS worth watching Earl despite the forecasts to see if it starts to take the curve or not, because if it actually crosses the island and continues a WNW course that would mean it will be in the process of diverting the split in the ridge to its north which has been enhanced by Danielle's passing. If it does this all forecasts as to its future track can be thrown out with the trash...but as is forecasted officially by the Hurricane Center and all models there has been no change in thinking as to the storm taking the curve. There has been debate amongst the models as to just how close this storm will approach the coasts of N. Carolina up to New England though and the jury is still out on this to some degree. For the most part it appears, as things stand now, that Earl's biggest threat to the U.S. Mainland will be larger and more treacherous surf conditions than those posed by Danielle as we head toward Wednesday. Folks from Hatteras to Cape Cod need to keep watching this sytem, flat out.
If Earl does indeed stay off shore as forecast, it will be closer to the U.S. than Danielle ever was with similar intensity, hence the waves and rip tides will again be of prime concern. Assuming it passes in such proximity, the weather over Florida would remain very dry and possibly quite warm under subsidence surrounding the storm as winds become light and eventually NNE then NNW-W as it gets north of our latitude here in Florida. This could play havoc for lifeguards! With such benign weather occurring and warm temperatures...the flocks could be heading for the cooling ocean waters to get the toes wet. Hope they don't do anymore that soak the toes though...lest they get 'undertowed'.
WILL THERE BE A FIONA TOO?: Starting to look that way. In fact, as I posted to Facebook this morning, last night's ECMWF Model actually brings what would be Storm Fiona onshore East Florida very near Satellite Beach in Brevard County on the evening of September 6th. That's 'hurricasting' for you. At one point, the GFS model brought what was yet to be even named Danielle into Daytona Beach. Also, the latest track models take this Invest along a course similar to what is being currently forecast for Earl. It wouldn't hurt to point out though that this year the Euro and to some degree the Canadian models have had a better track record on the tropics this year than the GFS one. Which reminds me, last night's GFS model does not even acknowledge the existence of a named Fiona, but rather loosely associates it with Earl as a 'tag along' entity. This seems pretty darned unlikely though...as seldom if ever does this occur. Hence, and as noted a few posts ago, what is now being labeled as a 'vigorous tropical wave' may soon be declared a depression later today which would henceforth be named "Fiona" if what is being consensually forecast by other models materializes.