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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575. 69Viking
9:43 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Quoting Beachfoxx:
no problem.

Here's "wishcasting" for a beautiful weekend on Florida's Emerald Coast!

LOL

TTYL


I'll second that, here's to "wishcasting" a beautiful boating weekend on the Emerald Coast!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3130
574. mountainwx
9:42 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Good day all. Glad to be back. I have moved from Colorado, where we got snow 11 months of the year, to the Big Island in Hawaii. For the first time in my life I am living where tropical storms are possible, though not probable. With La Nina gone, the ocean between Mexico and Hawaii should start to warm up, possibly bringing a more active year for the eastern Pacific. I would like to buy a "weather station". We have gotten rainfalls of 1 foot per day on a number of days since I moved to Hawaii, so 5" rain gauges and even the NWS 11" rain gauges are not very useful. We don't see much wind, and the temperature and humidity are mostly stable. If we did get a tropical system nearby, an anemometer would be a nice feature. But can I get one that would actually stand up to a strong blow? I would like to spend less than $400, any recommendations?
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 22
572. sarasotaman
9:40 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
My real middle name is Andrew and i am over 40 should I retire my middle name? lol
571. RitaEvac
9:39 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
I'm being sarcastic but that black blotch is a giant oil spill out there, Middle East conflict
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
569. Patrap
9:39 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Some post I do not see as per my filter configuration Houston,..

Over..?

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129910
567. sjm45
9:38 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
I was just looking at SST and I noticed a big black blotch in off the coast of East Africa - south of Yeman. Does this mean the sst is so high it's off the chart? Sorry if it has been asked before I have just logged on and don't fancy going through over 500 messages!

Thanks sjm
566. Beachfoxx
9:37 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
no problem.

Here's "wishcasting" for a beautiful weekend on Florida's Emerald Coast!

LOL

TTYL
Quoting iluvjess:


Thanks... New Computer and I lost 5 years worth of links...
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29385
565. Patrap
9:37 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
NEXRAD Radar
Key West, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129910
563. Ossqss
9:36 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
I suspect we will see much more blue in this as it exits the gulf over the next several days.

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
562. quakeman55
9:34 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Quoting RitaEvac:
Ikewishcaster is what he should call himself, because he was wishing it west towards us!

Texas needs the rain far more than we do...
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
561. zoomiami
9:34 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Pat - 551 looks like a halloween picture.

We have not had any rain in South Dade today, but looking at radar we may get some tonight.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4158
560. RitaEvac
9:33 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Ikewishcaster is what he should call himself, because he was wishing it west towards us!
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
559. Patrap
9:33 PM GMT on May 20, 2009

Visible Image

Satellite Imagery from the University of Miami
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129910
558. RitaEvac
9:32 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Thats why included Evac at the end of mind
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
557. RevInFL
9:30 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Quoting Patrap:
Latest IR Loop

Latest WV Image. Spookie ,eh?




Very impressive!! I thought all that dry air would have made it less pretty. LOL
Member Since: September 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
556. RitaEvac
9:30 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Looks like a ghost
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
555. nrtiwlnvragn
9:29 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Quoting RitaEvac:
New rules, Ike you have to change your screen name, if your named after a storm that is retired you cant use it on here, tired of that name


So when you changing yours? Rita retired 2005.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11347
554. Patrap
9:27 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Swollen Mississippi River at NOLA.

Algiers Point



12Z CMC
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129910
553. Stormchaser2007
9:27 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
WV loop of the low.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
552. 69Viking
9:26 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Quoting jeffs713:
I think this is the first "page" of 50 comments that does not contain any wishcasting in about a week. I'm impressed. Its fantastic to see facts being shared on here, like they should be.


LOL, I think that's because nobody wants this low to ruin their Memorial Day weekend! Personally I think by sitting and spinning over the same area for so long it's going to pull up some cooler water that could cause it to weaken overnight. The water in the GOM only recently warmed up to 80 in some areas and that is at the surface. Deeper water hasn't had a chance to warm yet.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3130
551. Patrap
9:25 PM GMT on May 20, 2009
Latest IR Loop

Latest WV Image. Spookie ,eh?


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129910
The GFS shows shear decreasing just in time for the hurricane season.

June 1:



June 5:
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Florida sure getting alot of rain from this system.

First post of the season - let Texas stay stormfree this year!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think this is the first "page" of 50 comments that does not contain any wishcasting in about a week. I'm impressed. Its fantastic to see facts being shared on here, like they should be.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Beachfoxx:
www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov


Thanks... New Computer and I lost 5 years worth of links...
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Thermodynamic forecast modeling

Quoting keywestbrat:
keeper, thats amazing how the shear went up to 50knots, this morning there was hardly any, between 5 to 10, thats a big jump in wind strength, wonder how you would predict something like that
Member Since: August 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 686
Here is a perspective for you. Our local guy Tom Terry of WFTV Channel 9 said for the week Daytona Beach has gotten 14.91 inches of rain which is more than Fay's 8.89 inches and almost more than all 3 hurricanes of 2004, 15.70 inches. Pretty amazing for it just being a little low system
Member Since: September 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
Low's squalls are really intense over central FL and the east gulf...mainly north of center.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Afternoon, everybody.

We've gotten quite a drenching here the last two days. It seems quite strange to see standing rain puddles. . . it's been so dry.

Local forecasters were calling for two more inches of rain today, along with similar conditions for the rest of the week. We got more rain yesterday, but before the night is over, that may no longer be true. . .
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormSurgeon:


That's about the same as in the Mobile area (right down the road from you). Just have to make the best of it.


If you look at that forecast it leaves a 50%-60% chance it's not going to rain too! I'm thinking positive. IKE look back to yesterday at this time, storms were approaching from the East of our area a lot closer than they are today.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3130
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
ok WPB sorry brother


No problem...figured I didn't make it clear as to which system as was talking about.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting StormFreakyisher:

Is there any chance the winds will die down in the mid northern Carribean?I know that El Nino will bring more hostile winds though.


Will shear will likely stay high over the Caribbean for the next 10 days.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
ok WPB sorry brother
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
MID LEVEL SHEAR
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


I was talking about the storm east of Jamaica.


he and I answerd ya... its nothing
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow...really intense microburst just blew
through NE Saint Petersburg...at least near the
Bay...
I had winds over 50+ mph
Going to be a lot of branches down

Anyway the low is gradually organizing and getting better convection; but shear continues
to be an inhibiting factor:
http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/windmain.php?&basin=atlantic&sat=wg8&prod=shr&zoom=&ti me=
Looks about 25 knots of shear right now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Wind shear is 50 knots over the system-


WHERE YA SEE 50 KTS WIND SHEER


I was talking about the storm east of Jamaica.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Wind shear is 50 knots over the system-



WHERE YA SEE 50 KTS WIND SHEER
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting IKE:


Maybe so. I'm just going by the official NWS forecast...

My area...

30% tonight
60% tomorrow
40% tomorrow night
50% Friday
40% Friday night
50% Saturday
50% Saturday night
50% Sunday
40% Sunday night
50% Monday

and then...it decreases starting Monday night...lol...

20% Monday night and Tuesday night
40% Tuesday and Wednesday.


That's about the same as in the Mobile area (right down the road from you). Just have to make the best of it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is a link to our Central Florida news 13 site...they have some amazing pics of the flooding and damage.

Link
Member Since: September 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Wind shear is 50 knots over the system- Link

Is there any chance the winds will die down in the mid northern Carribean?I know that El Nino will bring more hostile winds though.
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Quoting centex:
First post 2009. Thanks stormw. Looks like a real slow mover.


Welcome Back!
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First post 2009. Thanks stormw. Looks like a real slow mover.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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.

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