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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First post 2009. Thanks stormw. Looks like a real slow mover.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting obsessedwweather:
RevInFL

Tell your mother-in-law to stay put if she can. Fleming Island is a bit higher in elevation than most of OP, but not much. Does she have anyone who can help her shop or run errands for her??? I advise anyone to stay put due to the flooding and rain in Clay County.


Thanks for the info. I just finally got her on the phone and I also called her cleaning lady who does help her with the shopping. She owns a fair-sized pick up and said she would go check on her. Thanks.
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Quoting StormFreakyisher:
Isn't anyone here worried about all this thunderstorm activity just east of Jamaica.It is really worrying me because it's not dissipating.:O


Wind shear is 50 knots over the system- Link
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
The Dry Air Is playing a role in this Low and I dont think Anyone saw it earlier in the week as an Influence.

From forcast 48 hours ago we should be having plenty of rain here but mother nature had different plans.

From Key West Weather


ANALYSIS AND FORECASTS...
A SURFACE LOW NORTHWEST OF DRY TORTUGAS IS JOINING FORCES WITH A TROF
ALOFT TO PRODUCE THIS RAIN EPISODE. THE TWO FEATURES HAVE BEEN
PRESENT FOR A FEW DAYS NOW AND ARE MOVING VERY SLOWLY AWAY. AT THE
OPPOSITE END OF THE STRAITS THE AIR IS DRIER AND LESS TURBULENT. AS
THE LOW MOVES NORTHWEST INTO THE OPEN GULF...THIS POCKET OF DRY AIR
WILL MOVE IN. WE SHOULD HAVE A PLEASANT NIGHT TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY.

OVER THE GULF STREAM FLUXES ARE MINIMAL TODAY. THE AIR TEMPERATURE
(~80F) IS CLOSE TO THE WATER TEMP SO LITTLE HEAT IS BEING EXCHANGED.
THE WET BULB TEMPERATURE (~70F) IS ABOUT 10 DEGREES COOLER THAN THE
WATER SO THE AIR`S ABSOLUTE HUMIDITY IS INCREASING. LATER TONIGHT AS
THE AIR COOLS THE RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL CLIMB AND WE CAN EXPECT
ISOLATED SHOWERS OVER THE WATER.

GIVEN THE STEERING FLOW...EITHER OR BOTH OF THESE SOURCES WILL BE IN
PLAY...AND THIS IS SUFFICIENT FOR OUR LOW-CHANCE POPS IN THE REST OF
THE FORECAST.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
kingy thats why if its swirling and has blowing rain and wind its a storm, but todays society wants to get all technical and scientific which shows why the category system sucks for storm surge, need to get back to basics in this world.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
520. IKE
Thanks StormW...I figured it had a chance...not great, but a chance.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting StormFreakyisher:
Isn't anyone here worried about all this thunderstorm activity just east of Jamaica.It is really worrying me because it's not dissipating.:O


not really...its a midlevel trough!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
thanx stormw
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Isn't anyone here worried about all this thunderstorm activity just east of Jamaica.It is really worrying me because it's not dissipating.:O
http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/huvsloop.html
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormSurgeon:


.........or just dissipate


I'm good if it just dissipates when it hits those cooler waters to it's NW. The buoys south of Destin is reading 75 and buoys in Orange Beach, AL and the LA area are reading 72 - 74 degrees. I'll be interested to see how well it holds together when it gets to those cooler waters.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3023
515. IKE
Quoting StormSurgeon:


Well IKE, if we're lucky we may salvage Sunday afternoon and Monday. Keeping fingers crossed.


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.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting 69Viking:


I hear you Rita, if it's rotating over the water it's technically picking up tropical moisture and dumping it on somebody so why not refer to it as tropical in nature. Sure it's not a tropical storm but who cares, it's tropical moisture when places are getting 15 plus inches of rain!


Actually its not tropical moisture.. its the same kind of low you would get in Canada. Mid and Upper level! Its instablilty in the atmosphere. But whatever your right.. who cares!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
Quoting IKE:


I don't think it's gonna get through here in time. It may never be anything more than a non-tropical low, but the end result is increased rain chances and lousy beach weather.

Sorry.


Well IKE, if we're lucky we may salvage Sunday afternoon and Monday. Keeping fingers crossed.
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1793
511. IKE
Quoting kingy:
Dr Masters,

Is there something wrong with the current protocol if some area's can get 2 feet of rain from a storm that doesn't even get named? Whilst the storm doesn't have a warm core it has caused widespread chaos, flooding, road closures, downed tree's etc and yet the lack of official 'storm status' means it gets little mainstream media attention. As a result preparations are poor.

I am not trying to knock the official system but I think there ought to be a parallel scale for storm severity that reflects the level of civil disruption irrespective of the 'official' storm severity.


That's a good point and true.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
502. RitaEvac 4:46 PM AST on May 20, 2009

IKE had the handle since WU Blogging started
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


SST


Thanks Keeper and Hanna , back to the salt mines to work L8R
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
507. kingy
Dr Masters,

Is there something wrong with the current protocol if some area's can get 2 feet of rain from a storm that doesn't even get named? Whilst the storm doesn't have a warm core it has caused widespread chaos, flooding, road closures, downed tree's etc and yet the lack of official 'storm status' means it gets little mainstream media attention. As a result preparations are poor.

I am not trying to knock the official system but I think there ought to be a parallel scale for storm severity that reflects the level of civil disruption irrespective of the 'official' storm severity.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
506. IKE
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


My SN was picked in 2005...3 years before junior.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting RitaEvac:
Hey if it's swirling and over an ocean I call it tropical anyway. Just not scientifically and technically according to our soceity today. I'm sure Christopher Columbus sailed through something like this, but guess what he didnt care, it was blowing and raining so it was friggin tropical to him.


I hear you Rita, if it's rotating over the water it's technically picking up tropical moisture and dumping it on somebody so why not refer to it as tropical in nature. Sure it's not a tropical storm but who cares, it's tropical moisture when places are getting 15 plus inches of rain!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3023
Quoting 69Viking:


IKE aren't you just a ray of sunshine LOL! That thing either needs to stall down south for a while or speed it up and get through here in time to at least enjoy part of the Memorial Day weekend!


.........or just dissipate
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1793
503. IKE
Quoting 69Viking:


IKE aren't you just a ray of sunshine LOL! That thing either needs to stall down south for a while or speed it up and get through here in time to at least enjoy part of the Memorial Day weekend!


I don't think it's gonna get through here in time. It may never be anything more than a non-tropical low, but the end result is increased rain chances and lousy beach weather.

Sorry.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
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
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting Ossqss:


Keeper, did anyone find more up to date SST links for the Gulf ? Things should have cooled off a bunch out there. TIA


SST
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Quoting Weather456:
Here's a story for those who are interested

Missing Link Found


Interesting.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
This Morning's Winds

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Here we go. This is from today.

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting IKE:
18Z NAM driving the rain into the northern GOM coast.


IKE aren't you just a ray of sunshine LOL! That thing either needs to stall down south for a while or speed it up and get through here in time to at least enjoy part of the Memorial Day weekend!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3023
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
I cant comprehend that we just got over 10 inches last month and the ground is cracking
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Here's a story for those who are interested

Missing Link Found
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Woohoo!! 1/2 inch of rain in West Palm Beach today. Brings the 3 day total to 2 inches!!
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
were having to water our foundations, ground is starting to crack, already seperating from the sidewalks and all along the fences.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Were gonna have to take it, it's getting so dry here so fast its ridicoulous, cold front and low dewpoints just made it worse.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Well looking at the phase diagrams, it does have a small bit of "warm core". Not tropical, not even close yet, but does have a bit of "warm core" in it.
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Looks like the PMSL is dropping out there.

Buoy PLSF1 "Windy"

GOM Heat Content

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
RevInFL

Tell your mother-in-law to stay put if she can. Fleming Island is a bit higher in elevation than most of OP, but not much. Does she have anyone who can help her shop or run errands for her??? I advise anyone to stay put due to the flooding and rain in Clay County.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
Yep go figure, here in SE TX were going to stare into the face of subsidence and bone dry weather, wont get a drop if it goes to Louisiana.


Rita if you want it take it! We've had plenty of rain in NW FLorida this spring, it's all yours, take it West to you!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3023
Train of storms now in Sarasota. For people who think that this is no big deal need to remember like with fay some of our biggest rain and flooding as been with the so called weak storms!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
Ditto - It may not be a "named" storm but its still causing flooding and other problems.
Quoting RevInFL:


I don't mean any disrespect but I consider 19 inches of rain in Bunnell, Florida a big deal. We have been so dry here that we are having major flooding issues all around the state. Here in Titusville we have more than 9 inches over the past 2 days.
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:

I saw Vortex answered you, but I wanted to add my observations to his response. There is no low or vorticity associated with the storm near Hispaniola. Also is it getting hit with about 50 knots of shear and shear is expected to increase. Steering should have it moving N to NE over the island and into the Atlantic.

Thanks for the information
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
LATEST UPPER LEVEL WIND INFO



LOL, It actually looks like it has moved east a bit on that map.
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Can someone please tell me what is going on East of Jamaica ?
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2009052006 UKM analysis and forecast cyclone phase evolution


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128259
www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov
Quoting iluvjess:


Where did you find that forecasr map?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey if it's swirling and over an ocean I call it tropical anyway. Just not scientifically and technically according to our soceity today. I'm sure Christopher Columbus sailed through something like this, but guess what he didnt care, it was blowing and raining so it was friggin tropical to him.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting ChrisDcane:
GUYS your making such a big deal about all this ya I know we've had no action for some months but hey come on its and upper/mid level low some rain and alittle wind but hey nothing to worry about. HAPPY WEATHER :)


Chris is 100% correct....especially tropical speaking.. give it a couple days in the GOM to see if it transpires to more of a warm core.. Right now... its not even close!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
Quoting RevInFL:
Yes 19 inches in Bunnell, Florida and the local weather people are saying some places in Flager County have gotten as much as 2ft of rain.


I live in Palm Coast, Flagler County, Florida, one of the hardest hit areas of this storm.. it's amazing, we picked up over 15 inches of rain.
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dry early, means storm later as the old saying goes here in SE TX
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630

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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.