(...don't go out beyond the waist)
SYNOPSIS: High pressure that was centered over Virginia is now offshore but arching west then WSW over the mid-Atlantic Coast and across N. Georgia. Florida is beginning to get caught in weak pressure gradient flow between the approach of Earl and this ridge axis. "Moisturely" speaking, the air mass in general is quite dry other than the lowest 7K feet. Other than slight variability in the depth of this moisture ...little will change today as surface winds will remain ENE-NE throughout the day. Timing of any rain showers that might manage to eke out a shower within convergent bands is contingent upon when/where the the moisture depth fluctuates up a few notches...which is most difficult to do outside of 3-6 hours.
TODAY: Lake Wind and High Surf Advisories are in affect for all of Central Florida. The approach of 'Earl the Swirl' is easily evident by even the most unacknowledged when viewing Local on the 8s on The Weather Channel. It can be seen by a massive cloud shield on the far right hand side of your television screen. Other than some intervals of light showers which will be periodically spread far apart (in roughly 6 hour intervals)...the weather today will be benign with a steady state ENE-NE wind at 12-22mph with a few higher gusts.
THURSDAY: BIG SURF DAY! Looks like hands down this will be the day for big surf. But size isn't everything...so they say. Interestingly, the latest wave model I looked at showed the peak of the swell to occur right after Earl's passage directly east of Central Florida to occur almost totally coincident with the peak high tide. Double pennants are flying which indicate "swim at your own risk". Not sure why anyone would went to go in very deep (beyond the waist) in such conditions..although I must admit the view of the waves is incredibly different when you're actually in the water than it is from a safe, elevated distance. Additionally, only the experienced and stronger surfers will be able to paddle out to the outside break beyond the inside break (or breaks). Weather wise, believe if any showers are to exist Thursday they will be right on the coast east of I-95 where some shallow moisture at 7000 ft and below could generate some diaper rash type shower coverage from time to time. Might also be able to see the solid cloud shield from Earl right along the far eastern horizon, but I'm thinking that it will be to far away to break over that sunrise line. As far as heavy duty rain is concerned though, not a threat or even a possibility.
LATE THURSDAY TOWARD SUNSET GUYS AND GALS! This will probably be THE BEST time to be surfing if one is experienced and can make it out beyond the shore break. Peak low tide will be just after sunset and as we approach sunset the winds should let up and be nearly straight side shore from the north or NNE by relatively light compared to the past few days. Not too good for First Peak Sebastian Inlet surfers but all other locales should be crankin'. Given what the tides will be, I leave to only the most experienced surfers to figure for themselves when and where they'd like to be..and will remain tight lipped about where those areas are that produce the most favorable of surfing conditions. It's going to be a "regular footers" heaven, not that the talented backside Goofy Footers won['t be in oceanic bliss as well. You know who you are and where to go...other's don't have any business venturing into the surf anyway...lest we hear about another "Surfer from Ocoee, Fl" incident. Be real! I wonder if such an individual practices up at the mall-wave-machine in Orlando or Typhoon Lagoon.
SUNRISE-NOON FRIDAY: Winds off shore as they will go from near calm to a slight offshore component over night. If anyone still wants to get the good waves, or what's left of them, I'd be at the beach before sunrise. The tide will be fully low within an hour or two after sunrise making for some potentially good breaks produced by the by this time rapidly waning swells produced during the course of the day Thursday. The wind might remain offshore all day, but the swell will rapidly decrease throughout the day, just in time for the Kidney Foundation Contest to begin (figures!). By noon time we will be right back to where we were at yesterday with a fun surf size suitable for most everyone. But rip currents will remain a threat, thus leading to a fatal combination.
Back to the weather. Expecting it to get quite warm Friday and Saturday afternoons with highs in the low-mid 90s pretty much everywhere. As Earl moves north just offshore the U.S. Coastline a ridge of high pressure will build westward from the Atlantic across extreme S. Florida accompanied by tropical atmospheric moisture. This ridge will slowly lift north during the weekend as will the moisture coverage. With a remaining westerly component wind in the mid-levels thunderstorms will be possible mainly from Ft. Pierce and south Friday late, then from Oak Hill - Sanford-Brooksville south on Saturday and Sunday. As all this is going on the mid-upper level trough which is preventing Earl from fully penetrating the dune lines along the Mid-Atlantic Coast line (as it seems will be)...will be accompanied by a surface trough (I.e., a cold front) which will work into South Georgia in much the same fashion as the previous front behaved. Similarly, it will never make it south of perhaps St. Augustine, if even, as we work into early next week.
THIS LEADS US TO THE EXTENDED WEATHER OUTLOOK: It's going to be a little bit of 'forecast chaos' for many periods ahead as we head into full bore early fall climatological conditions. I'd consider this to be the period when East Central Florida fluctuates between a one or two day period of potential thunderstorms alternating with an onshore penetrating ocean shower regime, with general 'benigness' in between those periods. Most chances of thunderstorms over Central Florida greatly wane by the last week of September overall. But, South Central - South Florida - Keys will have the greater likelihood of continued thunderstorms, and the Keys could see an uptick in the amount of waterspouts sighted as we head through September and into October. Otherwise, already foresee forecasting issues not only with timing of the easterly ocean shower regime but also with the tropics as we shift toward a more local Caribbean to Gulf of Mexico tropical storm formation period later in the month and into October.
TROPICS: We all know about Earl, so as the NWS Melbourne eloquently stated a few days ago, the storm makes for great "forecasting fodder"...but I'd say it makes for even greater NEWS MEDIA FODDER. No shortage of sows feeding on the oats of news stories, real and assuredly exaggerated. One measured gust of 80 mph or a house de-roofed leads always goes from "singular" to "plural". With that aside, it currently appears that the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Nantucket will experience Earl's greatest muscle power. The media and NWS are going to be on their knees though when the final hours arrive if the storm's center is within 100 miles of any coast. Any little wobble the storm makes will make an exceptionally major big difference.
And since these storms do not follow a straight line as it appears they do when follow news casts...any fluctuation at the wrong place could mean the difference between a wind gust strong enough to remove a poorly constructed roof -- or not. Tidal surge will be a big impact in the most favorably contoured geographical zones. Beyond Earl, we'll be hearing about Fiona if it still exists. It's what follows that we need to keep ears perked for off and on. Already the GFS Model is showing signs of development near the Bay of Campeche. Last nights run brought a named system across Cuba and into SW Florida beyond two weeks from now. Of course, the later model run showed no such entity, but just the fact that the model is showing the possibility indicates this yet to be evolution of circumstances conducive for such.