Images: Very weak inverted trough off/along the SE Florida Coast, strong subsidence inversion, and cloud cover make for only a minor high temperature forecast problem today. Note the warm, 'orangy' colors along the Gulf Stream, making up the inverted trough. The blue clouds shown are high clouds moving from west to east.
SYNOPSIS: As noted yesterday, surface high pressure that was over the state yesterday would slide eastward and into the Western Atlantic, with a more prevalent center located over the Eastern Carolinas. But, a portion of the ridge axis would remain over Central Florida which did occur and certainly seems to be the case as of late this morning as well. Surface winds along the axis remain from the N or NW while further south...from West Palm to Miami the prevalent ESE-SE flow has become established south of the axis and where warmer temperatures are found (low 70F degree readings already). Meanwhile, along and north of the axis the temperature is in the upper 50s and low 60s. Additionally, a weak inverted trough axis along and near the Gulf Stream (more of a thermal trough of warmer air) can be found in the image above as indicated by the orange coloring. To complicate things a bit more, a weak short wave trough which troubled the SE Texas coastal areas yesterday has moved east through Louisiana and the Northern Gulf and is now crossing the western Florida panhandle which is adding some mid-level moisture above the inversion level. We can see that the high clouds in the satellite image indicated by the blue colors in the satellite picture are in the process of clearing from West to East late this morning; however, low end mid-level cloudiness has developed as the warm air advection from the southeast over-rides colder air at the surface and along a stout inversion located between 3500-5000ft (where the most extensive clouds are now). The moisture level here is being enforced as the short wave passes to our north, but that should be well to the north and east of Central Florida by day's end, which would help to shut down the cloud producing machine. Additionally, expect those warmer temperatures just to the south and SSE to gradually advect north ward during the course of the day and all night tonight toward Daytona and eventually Jax Beach.
TODAY: The only 'challenge' if we can call it that, concerns how warm the temperature will get this afternoon over portions of Central Florida. The two factors at play involve not only the timing on when (or if) the clouds will clear but also the affect the cold Atlantic Shelf Waters will have in conjunction with an eventual easterly component wind shift. Also to consider is the low sun angle at this time of year which will be detrimental in burning off the lower clouds. No doubt, it looks like the high clouds are on the way out and will be gone in time before the sun reaches its peak angle today, but will it be soon enough to reach 70 degrees over most of Central Florida? Don't think so. In yesterday's post I thought the high temperature today would be in the mid-upper 60s and that is my line of thinking for today, despite the 70s I'm seeing on The Weather Channel, at least for my location. SE Florida is already in the low 70s, so their concern will be how high into the 70s it will be. This is all of minor concern really, considering the cold temperatures of days now past.
In essence, expecting partly to occasionally mostly cloudy skies today with the sun peaking out off and on throughout the day, but not enough to break the 70F degree isotherm north of Melbourne Beach...but it will be close. Actually, the Weather Channel just showed Melbourne at 69F while Merritt Island is 59F. My porch was reading 57F 10 minutes ago! So there you go.
Concerning the wind, believe the ridge axis over the Central Peninsula will break down at the surface enough to eventually allow an easterly trajectory wind to establish underneath the inversion of very light strength (5-8mph) by later today which will be important in regards to the overnight low temperature tonight along the coast.
TONIGHT: ESE-SE wind to develop up and down the Florida East Coast keeping overnight low temperatures in the upper 50s east of US1. Continued influx of warm air advection from the Caribbean will aid to break down the inversion to the degree that the mid-level clouds will thin out from botton up appreciably after dark, hopefully "appreciably" even before that time. Yes, it would be much appreciated, thank you very much.
FRIDAY-NEW YEAR'S DAY: As written two days ago, the only challenge in days ahead will be stratocumulus clouds which will act to inhibit higher temperatures than would be otherwise recognized. But that is of minor relevance, considering that overnight low temperatures might not even get below 60F east of US1 New Years Eve into the New Day with afternoon high temperatures along the Barrier Islands in the low 70s there due to light onshore winds blowing across the now very much cooled Atlantic near shore waters, but in the mid-low end upper 70s west of US1 and south of Vero Beach or Ft Pierce where the Gulf Stream is closer to the coast. No rain for at least the next 10 days as it stands now, with periods of clouds being the only 'issue'.
FIRST WEEK OF 2011: Also as written yesterday, high pressure at the mid-levels located over the extreme SE states and at times only over Florida will hold fast as the storm track basically lies from Central to Southern California and runs toward the ENE-NE toward the Great Lakes region and sometimes sinks into the NE and even mid-Atlantic states. By early in the first week of January Florida will be the sole recipient of 70 degree readings, living up to what it is known to do best. Being the warmest spot in the country during the winter!