(Image: Track of Hurricane David, 1979)
HEADLINE: Hurricane David achieved a Category 5 status in late August, 1979, as one of the strongest hurricanes to ever cross the Caribbean Sea. David wiped out the tiny island of Dominica with 150 mph winds, then came ashore the Dominican Republic at peak intensity with wind gusts over 200 mph!! 80,000 people were left homeless and 1,200 lost their lives. David was initially forecast to make landfall again near Miami as barely a Cat 1, but went nearly stationary on the night of the 2nd off the SE Florida coast near Miami... then assumed a NNW course, strengthened, and made landfall just north of West Palm Beach close to the South Brevard - Treasure Coast. It then continued north up the Florida East Coast along the A1A corridor and exited the state off the north side of the Cape. By the time of this typing the following day (Sept. 3rd), I was returning home to find numerous trees down and blown out motel marquees. Windows were blown out at the old Glass Bank. It was hard to recognize our street when we turned to go down it there was so many trees down. It appeared that the strongest winds occurred after passage of the eye. An old radar loop I found on YouTube showed a strong band of storms had wrapped around the storm and crossed the barrier islands which was probably the culprit for all the trees being uprooted and leaning toward the ENE from the WSW winds generated by that rain band. This 'pattern' was most notable at the Cocoa Beach Gulf Course where virtually all the trees clearly delineated this pattern. At home, we were without power for about 2 days as temperatures soared. Clearing up trees without A/C and with lots of mosquitoes around was not pleasant. It was only a month earlier that a tornado had gone down A1A in Cocoa Beach on July 9th, damaging many of the same marquees that had just recently been repaired before David's arrival. I was working at Alma's Pizza that night, and when that tornado passed a transformer blew by the old Krystal Hamburger restaurant (which was heavily damaged) near my location. The sky was lit up and a huge white funnel was easily visible as what sounded like a HUGE WATERFALL nearby rushed past. Upon meeting my brother shortly after this time (I left work due to a "sudden stomach ache"), he remarked, "What happened?! It sounding like a friggin' freight train just went down A1A!". Back to David, in looking at Melbourne's stats, it was September 3, 1979 that the record rainfall of 5.01" inches occurred for that date (September 3rd).
RECAP: As mentioned in the August 30th blog post, record high temperatures could follow in the wake of Hurricane Earl under subsidence and offshore winds combined compressing the heating layer of air at the surface. On Thursday my porch got up to 96 degrees for a very short time before the sea breeze unexpectedly came up. Had it not been for the sea breeze, Thursday could have resulted in wide spread records being set. Yesterday, the sea breeze barely budged beyond US1, and as such the Melbourne NWS recorded a new all time high temperature for the date of 97 degrees. Elsewhere, the only item of interest for the state was found over eastern portions of Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade County where some thunderstorms occurred. The first storm occurred right over the dot indicating "Miami" on the radar scope, which was followed by others that went up further north over the NE corner of Broward and SE corner of Palm Beach County (to name a few).
Elsewhere, Hurricane Earl was the big news of the day in papers up and down the U.S. East Coast. As generally forecast for many days, the storm's center remained just off shore. The clown in the dunking booth basically got tired of his taunts and left. But it was a close call. The storm looked it's most impressive on satellite presentations as it passed east of Florida. The storm looks like a ragged old man this morning compared to it's perky, youthful appearance it had at that time as it is now a Tropical Storm and moving rapidly toward the NE and is now brushing SE Nova Scotia at 9:30AM.
SYNOPSIS: Cold front has cleared the U.S. East Coast and is now draped across SE Georgia. It then becomes stationary and barely merges with the inverted trough emanating from the low pressure system in the SW Gulf referred to yesterday. Actually, this low is a little better organized this morning and has shifted southward into the SW Bay of Campeche. Due to its close proximity to land it will probably not become anything more than what it already is. Locally, Florida remains in somewhat of a COL early this morning, although the true COL region seems to have shifted to the west a bit into the far NE Gulf. Weak WSW-W flow aloft. Strong ridge building in across the Central portion of the country is strengthening SEward toward the Deep South while another Atlantic Ridge remains situated across northern Cuba and into the Florida Straits.
TODAY: The southern (and western) portion of the front will wash out as Earl pulls off further to the northeast (and becomes absorbed with a large low pressure area near James Bay). Meanwhile, the inverted trough will rotate west ward and approach the coastal region of SE Texas. High pressure axis to the south will be working north today, but remain to the south as it begins to enter extreme South Florida. East Central remains situated generally between all the features with a slight increase in moisture. Morning CAPE sounding at 4am showed a strong low level inversion at 2000 ft and convective temperature of 101F, PWAT had increased since this time yesterday to 1.71". Dew point temperatures are only in the low 70s in Central Florida this morning ( a good 4-7 degrees lower than what we've been seeing all summer prior to Earl). Sea breeze along the east coast should form near noon time (give or take an hour). The inversion will be slow to break, so a cumulus field probably will not even start to form until after the sea breeze begins given the low dew points and the inversion, and that will be west of the intracoastal region with the exception of the Cape. Further south from Ft Pierce to Miami is generally where the deepest moisture resides. Thus, expecting storms in many of the same locations as yesterday to start with by early-mid afternoon. By later in the day the ridge axis to the south will translate northward as the trough near the U.S. East Coast lifts slowly to the ENE. This will bring greater moisture to Central Portions, but it will probably be a "day light and dollar short" for storms to occur anywhere north of a Sarasota - Vero Beach line. There is a very small chance that the area from the Cape south along eastern portions could receive a scant chance of rain mainly east of Orlando to Yeehaw Junction. These rains would push off the coast after sunset if they do form.
TOMORROW: Ridge axis lifts toward Lake Okeechobee. Frontal trough will have completely washed out, and thus this ridge will start to merge with the high pressure area now located behind this front over the middle part of the country. Moisture to increase mainly south of a line from Tampa Bay to Titusville. Similar surface wind pattern again tomorrow, with storms more likely as far north as this line in the afternoon and evening, maybe even well into the mid-evening hours which will push off the east coast. Further south, more widespread coverage from coast to coast, but extreme southern portions might get 'dry slotted' from Ft. Lauderdale south. Even if this does occur, it would be short-lived. It'll all be in the timing down there later tomorrow. Seasonable temperatures area wide.
MONDAY: Transition day...and get used to it. Ridge axis to lift to or just north of the Cape by sunset. Steering flow by late in the day will become close to NIL with boundary interactions with what moisture there is generating showers/storms mainly away from the coast, although late morning showers near the Cape can't be totally discounted at this point in time. Overnight Monday into Tuesday transition is complete with a light easterly flow fully in place across the state. High pressures will congeal essentially over the Deep Southeast states and remain in place all week. In essence, Monday and more so Tuesday-Thursday looks reminiscent of many times this summer where the big storms will occur from Tampa Bay to Naples late in the afternoon. It currently looks like onshore moving nocturnal showers coming off the Atlantic will be held to a minimum north of the Treasure Coast, whereas further south rains across the Keys to Palm Beach, essentially south of a Lake O line will continue.
The NAM, and to a much smaller degree the GFS...are indicating a weak inverted trough to penetrate East Central through SE Florida early in this period which would make a big difference in this forecast stated above as far as rain chances are concerned. The NAM has been a little 'hyper active' though lately as far as synoptic scale features around Florida are concerned, on a regular basis. Therefore, discarding the message it is conveying as far as this evolution of events unfolding.
TUESDAY-NEXT WEEKEND: Light easterly flow, not really conducive for Atlantic showers to make the crossing from the Gulf Stream to the east coast north of Ft Pierce. Seasonable temperatures elsewhere except maybe the west side of the state where it could be above normal. Local affects under light easterly flow will need to be watched for the keys and far SE Florida though as far as waterspouts is concerned. Daily changes in moisture availability will undoubtedly affect this portion of the outlook though. Also, the morning model runs have not been released yet which would also abet in refining this outlook.
TROPICS: As mentioned above, Earl is about to lay waste in the Nova Scotia Burial Grounds. Meanwhile, remnant Gaston (preferably 'Gust'on) is becoming an ever presence well out in the Atlantic with a relatively high chance of being reincarnated. For the time being the system will remain weak as it continues moving west toward the Leeward islands and Puerto Rico. It could strengthen again, but at this time if it does so would likely cross the Dominican Republic and die out...or pass north of there and find a break in the Atlantic Ridge axis and take off toward the North in fashion similar to that of Danielle. Time will tell.
Elsewhere, a number of other systems lie waiting in the wings with one just making it off the coast of Africa which has promised for development. And there's more to come over Africa. Perhaps one of these systems will obtain a U.S. Passport.