(Image taken north of Canaveral Pier Thursday afternoon. This is one of the smaller waves. The larger ones weren't being surfed on because they were mainly 'closing out', but those wave looked pretty impressive regardless)
RECAP: Quite warm yesterday for a time before onshore winds developed after 1pm near the Cape. Temperature was up to 96F on my porch, the warmest it's been in quite some time, before the sea breeze. But the dew points had lowered substantially under subsidence surrounding the periphery of Hurricane Earl, so it didn't feel all so bad. Otherwise, little in precipitation state wide yesterday. I checked the surf at Satellite Beach ("RC's"), at Patrick (1st and 2nd. Light), the Cocoa Beach Pier, E 27th Street (South Cocoa Beach/Crescent Beach), and my place around sunrise where the photo above was taken later in the day. No surfers were out in the morning except at the pier but lots of folks were observing. Waves looked big every where though, but it was hard to tell just how big the waves were with no one on them. I'd bet there was some 10 foot faces out there though near Satellite Beach. I did not observe any beach erosion issues. If anything, perhaps the surf helped rebuild the beaches in the long run?
SYNOPSIS: Most of peninsular Florida is in a Col right now of pressure patterns. Hurricane Earl is NE of Hatteras, NC late this morning with a pressure trough trailing to the SW. A cold front is entering the NE states which trails SW into SE Texas and strong high pressure encompasses much of the country behind that boundary. The more significant features for Florida are a large mid-low level area of low pressure encompassing almost the entire SW-W Gulf of Mexico which is clearly evident on water vapor imagery. An inverted trough extends NE from this area to near the SE tip of Louisiana into the Western Florida Panhandle, and almost meeting up with the trough extending from Earl. The other feature is High Pressure centered well east of Florida with an axis extending roughly across Cuba. This last feature will eventually become the key player for our weather beyond Saturday. But until then.....
TODAY: The cold front approaching the Deep South at this time will eventually meet up with the inverted Gulf Low Trough by day's end. Moisture associated with these two features will stream along and south of this axis toward the Panhandle from the WSW-SW. The high pressure over the Atlantic and across Cuba will move ever so slowly northward and draw another area of moisture toward Central and South Florida, with extreme South Florida to be the first area to see the result. As such, believe any thunderstorms or showers today will be restricted to Jupiter Inlet and points south along the East side of the state where a sea breeze convergence coupled with deeper over all moisture (than further north just south of the other boundary mentioned above) could result in some late afternoon enhancement/moisture convergence. Some models indicate a greater resurgence of moisture to as far north as the South half of Brevard County by sunset with additional storms which might form by Lake Okeechobee to be advected toward South or perhaps Central Brevard at or after sunset as the moisture gradient works north. Temperatures aloft remain quite warm though, so the window of opportunity for rainfall from primarily Cape Canaveral South through the SE 1/2 of Osceola County and everywhere else along south Florida will likely end by 10pm as the atmosphere restabilizes after the heat of the day is lost. I'd think that any other showers/storms to continue beyond that time will be restricted to south of a line from Miami - Naples.
TOMORROW: The boundary (stationary by now) resulting from the cold front which will have crossed the mid-West States and much of the Deep South as well, combined with the inverted trough from the Gulf, will essentially be stretched out and interspliced down the middle by the Atlantic Ridge still situated to the far south near the Florida Straits or perhaps as far north as Miami. The remnants will be situated across extreme North Central Florida just south of St. Augustine. During the course of the day moisture at all levels will on the increase, primarily along and north of the boundary, with greater moisture continuing to increase from the south, which by afternoon should encompass all of South Florida to as far north as a Port Charlotte to near Jupiter Inlet. By day's end the entire peninsula will fill in. Sea breeze boundaries should have no problem establishing tomorrow with a predominate storm motions from WSW-ENE over top the ridge axis and south of the waning trough axis across North Florida, with Central Florida sandwiched in between the two boundaries. Thus, a better chance of showers and thunderstorms almost any time from late morning through the evening due to the standard fare of summer like unfolding of events during the course of a normal summer day.
This could also be a big day for surf rescues. The weather along the coast should be nice for East Central Florida in the late morning, and that combined with the beginning of a surf festival and the start of a Holiday Weekend will bring the beach goers to the coast in flocks and into the water now that the seas have subsided. But beware, all sorts of gouges from the big waves of the past two days will have created huge breaks in the sandbar which will result in a continuation of rip currents.
SUNDAY: High pressure ridge axis to the south continues to lift north toward Central Florida with a decrease in steering flow across the Central portion of the state. Otherwise, thunder is likely about any where. Details as to where this will be most likely still need to be sorted out, but for now suffice it to say pretty much everywhere. High coverage not expected though since temperatures aloft will remain warmer than what could otherwise result in widespread storm coverage if they were cooler.
MONDAY: Transition to onshore flow regime once again as the high pressure moves north through the day. Maybe a chance of storms along the intracoastal around noon, but it looks like everything will be steered toward the west by the end of the day as high pressure builds both aloft and at the surface over the SE U.S.
TUESDAY-BEYOND: Onshore flow continues with the greatest likelihood of storms over all of South Florida (roughly south of a West Palm Beach - Ft. Myers line). Periods of on-shore moving rain showers (mainly nocturnal which is typical of very early fall) to commence. As we look beyond, this pattern could hold for QUITE sometime to come, at least a week. Thus, after this weekend and maybe Monday, East Central Florida might be seeing its last of the normal summertime thunderstorm regime, with perhaps one last effort of two day extent as we approach the 15th-22nd of September timeframe.
TROPICS: Earl has passed North Carolina with little consequence other than inconvenience to all those who evacuated and flooding along Highway 12 on Hatteras island (from last I heard). The skies are in the process of rapidly clearing from south to north as the system moves off to the NNE. It looks unlikely the system will ever make direct landfall on any U.S. state, although Nantucket could be just as close to the center, if not closer than Hatteras ever was. The biggest precipitation threat will likely be over Maine where it begins to interact with the approaching front...but the winds by then will have decreased even more by the time it gets there...not only because of wind shear but because it will be crossing much cooler waters as it approaches Nantucket. As Earl digs its own grave and becomes wrapped up in the large continental system rains in Maine will begin well before the storm approaches over far down east Maine after sunset tonight and continue as the front pushes through until Saturday night.
Gaston had a short life, but the hurricane center as well as some of the models are not willing to give it up just yet. The latest released from the NHC gives it a better chance of returning from the grave than last nights outlook. But this system will remain a zombie storm for many days to come, so speculation will abound concerning whether or not it will ever be anything more than one of the living dead. We should know for sure within 48 hours.