(Image: Rain shower moving onshore Cocoa Beach early Sunday Morning)
RECAP: Rain showers eventually hit a broad expanse of landscape yesterday across South and Central Florida with most totals below 1/4". On the other hand - - Polk, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties further west received some reports of over 1 inch while extreme eastern portions of Palm Beach and Broward Counties had much higher totals. The overall winner of the blue ribbon goes to a small area in Palm Beach County where the last total which came in was from Boynton Beach at 5.77" shortly after 10pm last night. It's likely that this total is closer to 6" by now though as rain was still falling in the vicinity at 11pm. There might have been a break in the action over night, but when I woke this morning a weak convergent band was pressing onshore very near there from the east...but with closer investigation it appears that this band might be just south of Boynton Beach toward Delray Beach. It was quite bizarre to watch radar animations yesterday, as the very select area being impacted by the persistent rains, and at a few times pretty intense lightning storms simply could not penetrate west of perhaps 20 miles of I-95. They would get so far and simply erode while in the meantime the storms kept regenerating just to the east over and over again. I noted yesterday via radar loops and infrared satellite imagery that a weak sfc-mid level low seemed to form off the coast of Vero which moved almost due south (off shore) with time. The biggest storms near Boynton went up ahead of this feature in the early evening producing quite a bit of lightning, but they moved very little if at all. Since then, that circulation is not apparent at this time. Otherwise this morning, there was another streamer of showers coming in very close to Miami as well as one just barely making it on shore close to Jupiter Island. Elsewhere, rains have been moving in on western portions of the Panhandle and a very weak squiggly line of rainshowers, perhaps not even reaching the ground were crossing Volusia County near Daytona. Their latest surface observation did not indicate even light rain, even though radar shows a tiny green reflection right over the airport.
TODAY: Really not much to talk about for MANY days to come (but see the TROPICS para). As noted above, there were two distinct convergence streams in progress impacting solely SE Florida, not to discount the lowers keys though from roughly Islamorada west. High pressure will reign supreme up and down the entire Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. For the most part, all of Central Florida will be rain free today under the influence of a drying air mass and a fresh easterly wind. Rains over SE Florida will gradually shift further south and west during the day. This could take quite a while though...so folks from Boynton Beach south to south of Miami and into the Kendall area will continue to receive rains and some thunder until at least midafternoon...eroding from the north with time as we work into the evening. Toward the west side of the state, some showers and thunderstorms will again be possible from Tampa Bay to south of Naples...right along the west coast.
TONIGHT-TUESDAY: There is some indication that a few patches of atmospheric moisture could move across the state any time between 7pm tonight to before noon tomorrow. Even if this materializes, the worst we would see from this is enhanced periods of cloudiness and a very light, short period spritz of rain but in general partly cloudy will prevail.
WEDNESDAY - AT LEAST SATURDAY: Generally dry across the boards, especially for the immediate Central Florida area. See more under the TROPICS portion.
TROPICS: Hurricane Earl as of 8am was strengthening with winds of 110mph. Motion is officially WNW at 14mph, but when I looked at radar animations from Puerto Rico the eye seemed to moving move toward the NW rather than WNW. But in general a WNW to NW variable track will continue today. Extreme NE PR will be coming quite close to experiencing hurricane force winds later today into tonight, especially over the higher terrain on that side of the island near the Air Force Station at Roosevelt Roads to Fajardo and Rio Grande. Folks in the condos in those regions toward San Juan will be in for an interesting experience tonight into early tomorrow.
Earl's Future Track: No need for Florida to fret, but unlike Danielle, Earl will come close enough (to the far Eastern Bahamas) to have a direct meteorological and oceanic impact. Upon Earl's approach to the far eastern Bahamas Florida we could receive one last short-lived swap of moisture wrapping around the periphery outside the subsidence zone surrounding the storm late Tuesday. This would be of very short duration though...and shower chances from this are very low end. These would be of low topped nature and not thunderstorms except maybe near the Keys or extreme SW Florida. As we work into Wednesday surface winds might become light and variable for time..but generally from the east. Eventually winds will take on a more assured NNEly component as Florida enters the 'zone of subsidence' around the system. It is while we are in this zone that seas will be at peak performance, with rip currents and wave action being more pronounced than those ever with Danielle. Additionally, Earl could be just as strong or even stronger than Danielle during its passage east of Florida. Over night temperatures may seem a little unusually warm as will daytime high temps, especially on Thursday and Friday. To mention in passing, high temperatures might get near records values as winds take on a more NWly component. Rain chances during this time will essentially be zero. I expect folks will want to flock to the beaches, especially from the Cape to Jacksonville to view the waves under such benign weather conditions coupled with the press amping up the storm up, especially if the anticipated strengthening of the system materializes which could take it up to Category 4. But in speaking from experience, there will be little to see, but watching the surfers, especially on Thursday morning, could be fun where the waves break just right. Not anticipating erosion issues at this time in other words. I'd head to Sebastian or Spanish House ...in hopes that waves bouncing off the jetty do not make First Break a washing machine. Further north along Satellite Beach at the old RCs break might be quite nice as well as at New Smyrna Beach, all contingent upon timing of the tides with a gradually backing surface winds (to offshore) from Wednesday into Thursday and maybe early Friday as the system pulls further north.
The bigger story for Earl will be, and for the most part already is, its brush with the coast from Hatteras - Maine. Not one model this morning brings the system fully onshore, as an upper level trough will gratefully be passing across the Great Lakes region and heading toward the coast in perfect timing to perhaps be a saving grace from total mayhem. With that said, Earl is going to be the irritating clown in the dunking booth...taunting and teasing local weather forecasters up and down the mid-Atlantic to New England Coast line as to just exactly how great the storm's direct impact will be.
INVEST 97L: This system is nothing more than a big forecast headache for now, so won't elaborate much. This is the system that is not so fondly already being referred to in some circles as Fiona. I liked "Friona" better. As a friend pointed out to me, Friona, TX was hit by a tornado many years ago that made for some great video. I have it in the collection somewhere. As mentioned yesterday, the ECMWF brought this system into East Central Florida, but a later run took it completely SOUTH of the state. Now, last night's run takes it on a course similar to Earl's whereas the GFS still does not develop the system at all beyond a 'depressed' state (not named). The NAM run shows a similar tendency. If this is to be the case, the system would not pose any threat whatsoever in any form to the U.S. Thus, at this point, until the system becomes even better organized and gets a distance away from Earl any talk is total conjecture. At this point, the system is pretty darned close to Earl, so I can see why the NAM and GFS, and to some degree that latest ECMWF are depicting what they do. It's still early morning though as of this writing, so it will be interesting to see what the 12Z (8am) runs are showing later this morning.