Florida's soaking continues; 5th warmest April for the globe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:51 PM GMT on May 20, 2009

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The large extratropical storm that has been drenching Florida over the past few days continues to pour rain on the state as it treks slowly westward over the Gulf of Mexico. Rainfall amounts as high as 13.3 inches have been measured in Northern Florida in Flagler County over the past three days, with another 2 - 4 inches expected from the storm. The storm is bringing beach erosion, 7 - 10 foot waves, and tides 2 - 3 feet above normal to the Northeast Florida coast, along with damaging thunderstorm winds. While the storm's center is located just offshore Southwest Florida, a large band of precipitation arcs to the north and east, extending over northern Florida. This type of structure is typical of subtropical storms, though the storm does not have enough heavy thunderstorm activity or warm core air to qualify as a subtropical storm. The storm is under about 30 knots of wind shear, and shows no signs of developing more tropical characteristics. The computer models generally predict the storm should weaken this week as it moves towards Louisiana or Texas. As the center moves farther north over the next few days, it will be moving into a region of lower wind shear, and I still give the storm a 20% chance of becoming a subtropical depression 2 - 7 days from now.


Figure 1. Latest satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico storm.

Fifth warmest April on record
The globe recorded its 5th warmest April on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The period January - April was tied for the sixth warmest such period on record. April marked the first time since October 2008 that the planet has recorded a monthly temperature anomaly in the top five warmest months. The warming may be due to the fact that a La Niña event ended in the Eastern Pacific in April. Global temperature records go back to 1880.

A cool, wet April for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., April temperatures were the 36th coolest in the 115-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The month was also quite wet, ranking as the 35th wettest April. The warmest state was New Hampshire, which recorded its 8th warmest April. The coldest state was South Dakota, which wad its 25th coldest April. Through April, U.S. tornado activity was very close to the mean observed during the past five years, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. However, there were just 15 tornado deaths through April, compared to 70 deaths through April of 2008, and the 3-year average of 60 deaths.

On May 12, 2009, 17% of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought. This is a drop from the 19% figure observed at the beginning of the year. However, The amount of the U.S. in the highest levels of drought, extreme to exceptional, had increased from 1.2% at the beginning of the year to 2.6% by May 12. These extreme drought regions were in South Texas and South Florida.

La Niña officially over
The La Niña event of September 2008 - March 2009 is officially over, according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. They define La Niña conditions as occurring when the 1-month mean temperature anomaly in the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region") cools below -0.5°C and is expected to persist for three consecutive months. Temperatures warmed significantly in the Equatorial Eastern Pacific during April, and are now near average in the Niña 3.4 region. Most of the model forecasts for the Niño 3.4 region predict neutral conditions for the August - October peak of hurricane season. Three out of 16 El Niño models are predicting an El Niño event for hurricane season. Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is predicting a 30% chance of an El Niño event during the coming hurricane season. The number of Atlantic hurricanes is typically reduced in an El Niño year, due to increased wind shear from strong high-level winds.

Sea ice in the Arctic below average, but not greatly so
April 2009 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 10th lowest since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The record April low was set in 2007. The rate of ice decline in April was the third slowest on record, thanks to cooler than usual temperatures over the Arctic. Nevertheless, the Arctic remains vulnerable to near-record melting this summer if much warmer than average temperatures return to the region. Strong winter winds pushed a considerable amount of multi-year-old ice out of the Arctic this year, leaving the Arctic with the lowest amount of old sea ice on record in March. The amount of ice more than two years old fell below 10% for the first time since satellites began observing the ice in 1979.

Jeff Masters

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Shear values are expected to decrease substantially over much the Caribbean and the GOM late next week. It will be interesting if the long range GFS' cylogenesis in the Caribbean comes true.
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The way the LLC is organizing and consolidating it looks like we will be left with three separate vortices. One in GOM, one east of FL and one north of Hispaniola. Link
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 1519

latest ENHANCED wv still image 2145 UTC
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
Tim (thanks)...and BIG DITTO. One of the things I've always LIKED about Doc's blog is the wealth of information and knowledge here. Every year I learn more and I'm glad that there are so many willing to clarify the questions alot of us have.
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Quoting ChrisDcane:
how do u send pictures with writeings on them


Hey just kidding of course but the last time i did that it exploded in my face......ROFLMAO!
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Quoting JRRP:

that system is looking impressive
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting scottsvb:
Im in here to inform everyone and get people views... I know who to weed out on the wish and hypecasters..

I dont think anyone wants a Cat 2 or higher coming right @ them...but I would think 80% of the people in here get excited and want to see a tropical system form and bring them weather..as long as its not a Cat 2 where there is destruction.. most in here are weather enthusiests (sp?).. we love weather.

People that dont want a season to start..probably shouldnt be in here..cause there are many hypecasters that will scare them to thinking something is coming and big.

I would just think..if someone doesnt want to hear about or think about the season to come..avoid the thought.


ROFLMAO.....Scott you have not been here long huh....oh...Boy.......LOL
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how do u send pictures with writeings on them
I have to agree with, I think it was Viking, that mentioned the diurnal factor re: thunderstorms. We've been getting afternoon seabreezes that we more typically see during mid-summer...not so much in late spring...and I've noticed that seems to also be the case down in central FL so far. Precip, at least on radar, seems to be settling down some...which would be consistent timing-wise with the afternoon seabreezes.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
AOI
MARK
26.4N/83.2W


looks like 75% around the COC
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Quoting BajaALemt:
Thanks Tim! Nice to be here..when it's nice..LOL! Love what you've been doing with your blog...great info, as always!


Hey don't be shy...your as knowledgeable as anyone on this site.....YES IT's TRUE....I have learned many things from you!
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663. JRRP
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Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Hi Baja! How are you???
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 1519
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Pat - want to say this now... thanks again for another great season of all your wonderful links and helpful info! It's great!!
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


its trying


I think it has a chance
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AOI
MARK
26.4N/83.2W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623


its trying
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Quoting txalwaysprepared:
Scott just b/c I don't like the thought of storms hitting anyone/where doesn't mean I will bury my head in the sand and pretend it's not going to happen. It is, it will, it will be sad, it will make my stomach turn, but I will be informed at the same time. I have 3 young kids to protect, so as much as I don't like a storms impact I will be aware of what is going on.

It's the good, the bad and the ugly. Love watching them form, love learning what makes them do whatever they do, but don't like that they can't just vanish into thin air and not hurt anyone. I think that is most of us on here.



ment to quote this person... sounds more clear now...sounds good! :)
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1692
653. JRRP
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


.....just wait until the hurricanes come...LOL


LOL And this is just the begining!
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Thanks Tim! Nice to be here..when it's nice..LOL! Love what you've been doing with your blog...great info, as always!
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Quoting BajaALemt:
Is it safe to come in? *laffs*

Hiya Tim....Ike...Pat...everyone.

Looks like something a little bit facinating to watch already. Maybe a little more warm cored over the loop current? *shrugs* Awwwwwwwwwful dry up in this part of the gulf coast.


Hey Lynn...WOW the gang is all in......LOL..Great to hear from you.....
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Quoting Michfan:
Very interesting watching this spin up. Perfect comparison there 456 with Andrea. Alot of people here have to remember that we are enthusiasts that are fascinated by how and where tropical systems form. Cyclogenesis in of itself is a process that is fascinating to watch with all of the elements come into play. That is why most of us visit this blog. Whether we be right or wrong on our opinions we all learn something. All of those that visit this blog need to keep that in mind. No one wishes catastrophe or devastation in any one particular area.


ok ...sounds good!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1692
Very interesting watching this spin up. Perfect comparison there 456 with Andrea. Alot of people here have to remember that we are enthusiasts that are fascinated by how and where tropical systems form. Cyclogenesis in of itself is a process that is fascinating to watch with all of the elements come into play. That is why most of us visit this blog. Whether we be right or wrong on our opinions we all learn something. All of those that visit this blog need to keep that in mind. No one wishes catastrophe or devastation in any one particular area.
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Its trying but cold waters will prevent anything tropical from developing as i have been saying....SubTropical maybe a slight chance.

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Is it safe to come in? *laffs*

Hiya Tim....Ike...Pat...everyone.

Looks like something a little bit facinating to watch already. Maybe a little more warm cored over the loop current? *shrugs* Awwwwwwwwwful dry up in this part of the gulf coast.
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Vis



WV


IR

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting ChrisDcane:
WOW!!!! how 1 low pressure system can pack a blog up.


.....just wait until the hurricanes come...LOL
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1793
Scott just b/c I don't like the thought of storms hitting anyone/where doesn't mean I will bury my head in the sand and pretend it's not going to happen. It is, it will, it will be sad, it will make my stomach turn, but I will be informed at the same time. I have 3 young kids to protect, so as much as I don't like a storms impact I will be aware of what is going on.

It's the good, the bad and the ugly. Love watching them form, love learning what makes them do whatever they do, but don't like that they can't just vanish into thin air and not hurt anyone. I think that is most of us on here.
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Key West Radar

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
WOW!!!! how 1 low pressure system can pack a blog up.
The center is 280 miles West of Fort Myers based on 850mb vorticity, surface observations, and radar. Still little in the way of convection and convergence near the center. 20-30 knots of nearly zonal wind shear. A lot of dry air to contend with.
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The shear over the Hispaniola blob is decreasing
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting SavannahStorm:


I didn't know a weather system could "try" to do anything. They don't have intent or desires, and they are not drawn to warmer water, they just go where the steering currents take them. A similar common misunderstanding is that hurricanes "follow" the Gulfstream because they "feed" off the warmer water. In reality it just happens that the steering currents turn systems north in the vicinity of the Gulfstream.


Yes steering currents are the primary sense of direction for tropical systems, but I'm sure you have seen how a LLC will "jump" under new convection? That is in a sense what I mean. The center of a system will naturally be drawn towards the area most conducive for it if possible. That patch of warm water will feed the strongest thunderstorms that if not sheared may allow a more consolidated COC to form and possibly transition into a warm-core system.

Gonna play tennis on a nice summer day in Alaska :) later all.
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Troll Juice problems arise.....tell me at ain't so......OMG!

Beer tax on tap for health care?
Published - May 20 2009 01:32PM EDT

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR - Associated Press Writer
Joe Six-Pack may have to hand over nearly $2 more for a case of beer to help provide health insurance for all.

Details of the proposed beer tax are described in a Senate Finance Committee document distributed to lawmakers before a closed-door meeting Wednesday. Senators are focusing on how to pay for expanding health insurance for an estimated 50 million uninsured Americans, a cost that could range to some $1.5 trillion over 10 years.


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Looks like one of the little spinners on the west side of the circulation is weakening and dropping off to the SW. A new vortex may be forming southwest of Tampa based on radar and visible imagery.
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Quoting Levi32:
90L has really lowered its own chances in its current position. Its heavy rains have significantly cooled SSTs in the shelf water both east and west of the Florida Peninsula. It may have a shot though once it gets further west over this warm patch of water in the middle of the eastern gulf:



This water runs much deeper than the shelf water, and the existing COC at that point will probably try to stay near that warm spot as long as possible before making its northwest move. That's probably 90L's best chance at becoming sub-tropical if convection can consolidate a bit around the COC over that warm patch of water.


I didn't know a weather system could "try" to do anything. They don't have intent or desires, and they are not drawn to warmer water, they just go where the steering currents take them. A similar common misunderstanding is that hurricanes "follow" the Gulfstream because they "feed" off the warmer water. In reality it just happens that the steering currents turn systems north in the vicinity of the Gulfstream.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Im in here to inform everyone and get people views... I know who to weed out on the wish and hypecasters..

I dont think anyone wants a Cat 2 or higher coming right @ them...but I would think 80% of the people in here get excited and want to see a tropical system form and bring them weather..as long as its not a Cat 2 where there is destruction.. most in here are weather enthusiests (sp?).. we love weather.

People that dont want a season to start..probably shouldnt be in here..cause there are many hypecasters that will scare them to thinking something is coming and big.

I would just think..if someone doesnt want to hear about or think about the season to come..avoid the thought.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1692
Quoting Patrap:
Satellite Imagery from the University of Miami
There is no endorsement of NWHHC by the University of Miami. Loops are for informational purposes only. Please refer to local emergency management officials for official information

Latest WV Image



Latest IR Loop


That's quite a piece of real estate!!
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90L has really lowered its own chances in its current position. Its heavy rains have significantly cooled SSTs in the shelf water both east and west of the Florida Peninsula. It may have a shot though once it gets further west over this warm patch of water in the middle of the eastern gulf:



This water runs much deeper than the shelf water, and the existing COC at that point will probably try to stay near that warm spot as long as possible before making its northwest move. That's probably 90L's best chance at becoming sub-tropical if convection can consolidate a bit around the COC over that warm patch of water.
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Quoting scottsvb:



Why be even in here? I wouldnt want to even hear about tropical storms or hurricanes unless a hurricane was within 48hrs of striking...then I would to the NHC site.


Something about watching these things form fascinate me. I love weather and how it forms. Basically a learning experience for me.
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Why be in here? To learn. To be informed.

48 hours before a hurricane strike? That would leave you up a creek.
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Quoting txalwaysprepared:


Not even a storm coming here (which I am praying we've had our one storm for the next 20 years), but it's the thought of a storm hitting anyone. It just makes me sick.


After Rita and then Ike, I don't think I could wish one of these beast on anyone, likewise, but I sure don't want to get another monster like that. Life is just getting back to normal here. The little town I live beside which was completely inundated with 4 feet of water is just about completely normal again. YEA!
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Quoting txalwaysprepared:


Not even a storm coming here (which I am praying we've had our one storm for the next 20 years), but it's the thought of a storm hitting anyone. It just makes me sick.



Why be even in here? I wouldnt want to even hear about tropical storms or hurricanes unless a hurricane was within 48hrs of striking...then I would to the NHC site.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1692
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


I understand girl... Must of us along the coast from Freeport to over here in Orange aren't really looking forward to another storm hitting here.


Not even a storm coming here (which I am praying we've had our one storm for the next 20 years), but it's the thought of a storm hitting anyone. It just makes me sick.
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Quoting txalwaysprepared:
I am so not ready for this season. My head, my heart, my stomach... heck just my nerves. I am so not prepared for another season. I have never been this hesitant at the start of hurricane season.

:(


I understand girl... Must of us along the coast from Freeport to over here in Orange aren't really looking forward to another storm hitting here.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.