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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000
ABPZ20 KNHC 201748
TWOEP
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT WED MAY 20 2009

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

AN AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER HAS FORMED ABOUT 600 MILES SOUTHWEST OF
ACAPULCO MEXICO. ASSOCIATED THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY IS NOT WELL
ORGANIZED...AND DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM...IF ANY...WILL BE SLOW
TO OCCUR AS IT MOVES SLOWLY WESTWARD. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...LESS
THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING
THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BERG


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Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity

The maps display potential minimum pressure and maximum winds, calculated according to a method developed by Dr. Kerry Emanuel. Dissipative heating is handled according to a method described in Bister and Emanuel (1998). The maps are based on data from the 00Z global operational analysis from NCEP for the date shown on the plot. The top panel shows the potential minimum central pressure for a hurricane at any given location (in millibars). Only values less than 1000mb are shaded. Cyan squares indicate grid points where the algorithm failed to converge. Also shown are the sea surface temperatures (°C). The bottom panel shows the potential maximum wind speed expressed in terms of the type and severity of storm they would represent (TD = Tropical Depression, TS = Tropical Storm, H1-H5 = Hurricanes of category 1-5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale).


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Surfers aren't getting waves here... GOM is flat.


Huh? How do you figure a flat GOM with these winds!? Tell me you're kidding Beach, the buoy of Orange Beach shows 6' waves and the buoy about 80 miles south of Destin is showing 13' waves! I imagine I'll find all kinds of things washed up on the beach Saturday morning during Sea Turtle Patrol!
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Hello everyone! I have been saying for days that the environmental conditions are not in place for anything to develop.......Look at my Blogs.....NOthing can and will develop!

TampaSpins Link


I agree Tampa! GOMEX waters are just not warm enough - and we better be thankful for that!
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GOES-12 Atmospheric Animations
Atlantic Basin wide View


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
Quoting TXGulfCoast:
But they accomplished their goal - I'll bet the crowds are very small AND there technically isn't a hurricane in the area!


HAAA, hadn't thought of it that way
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But they accomplished their goal - I'll bet the crowds are very small AND there technically isn't a hurricane in the area!
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Quoting Ossqss:


When do you think the Epac system will be called out 456?


Very soon. QuikSCAT showed an elongated but closed circulation. Persistence convection is what is needed.
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Quoting LuvsStorms:
I have friends who went to Disney this week, trying to beat the massive crowds and hurricane season......I'll bet they are miserable!!!!


Ya not a great week to go there.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
I have friends who went to Disney this week, trying to beat the massive crowds and hurricane season......I'll bet they are miserable!!!!
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GOM 4ft WAVES in 48 hours
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
Quoting Weather456:
It's not just Florida, but Hispnaiola get hammered right now.



When do you think the Epac system will be called out 456?
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Hi, again. It's the start of a new season and once again, I am reminded of how weather impacts our lives. We have a boater missing off of the MS Gulf Coast, just South of Deer and Ship islands. Search and Rescue (they may have moved to Recovery now) are underway. As this system heads our way, it will all but end any hopes of Rescue. The gentleman missing is a former US Marine and a local police officer. Please, keep him, his wife and young children in your thoughts! Thank You!
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Probably will join the minority here and am still sticking with the forecast I gave yesterday that NOTHING will form from this entire storm system. Not only will wind shear increase over the coming few days, but the dry air to the west and south will eventually infiltrate the circulation. In addition, this system remains way too broad for any significant organization to occur.
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Gulf of Mexico 6 FT Wave Probability
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
I'm hearing branches falling outside...too windy here...hope the trees hold up...going to have to call someone to get the dead ones out
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Hello everyone! I have been saying for days that the environmental conditions are not in place for anything to develop.......Look at my Blogs.....NOthing can and will develop!

TampaSpins Link
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Going to go outside & shoot a picture. BRB if I don't blow away! LOL
Quoting IKE:


The lake I live next to...has whitecaps on it today. Winds gusting 30-35 mph.
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It's not just Florida, but Hispnaiola get hammered right now.

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Here's a thought to ponder - just think if this storm formed in Aug/Sept. With the waters in the GOMEX very warm. The broad circulation is very large and could have been a potentially monster storm - just formed too early.

Is this a precursor for the season? Seems very strange for May. Looks like the large storms that form along the eastern coast - nor'easters.
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304. IKE
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Surfers aren't getting waves here... GOM is flat.


The lake I live next to...has whitecaps on it today. Winds gusting 30-35 mph.
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There are a bunch of L's on this thing.
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302. IKE
12Z CMC..watch out north-central GOM!
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Surfers aren't getting waves here... GOM is flat.
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ya i thought it looked kind of interesting
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Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity

The maps display potential minimum pressure and maximum winds, calculated according to a method developed by Dr. Kerry Emanuel. Dissipative heating is handled according to a method described in Bister and Emanuel (1998). The maps are based on data from the 00Z global operational analysis from NCEP for the date shown on the plot. The top panel shows the potential minimum central pressure for a hurricane at any given location (in millibars). Only values less than 1000mb are shaded. Cyan squares indicate grid points where the algorithm failed to converge. Also shown are the sea surface temperatures (°C). The bottom panel shows the potential maximum wind speed expressed in terms of the type and severity of storm they would represent (TD = Tropical Depression, TS = Tropical Storm, H1-H5 = Hurricanes of category 1-5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale).


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
Muddy is definitely a good way to put it! I bet the surfers are loving this!
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Anybody noticed that cluster of storms by the Dominican Republic?
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838

12Z Multi-Model
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
Quoting tampahurricane:
what is that big blob under Jamaica

that's what I want to know. Here in Jamaica we are getting heavy rains and overcast skies
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Scott and viking - based on those comments - i don't believe we will ever have an invest.

I agree about the water temperatures. It has been usually cool along the gulf coast this past week.
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Zoomed GHCC loop

Heads up: Goes east will be out from about 7PM est to 8PM est, station maneuver.
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Getting some more rain. They heavy storms just passed to the west.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
what is that big blob under Dominican republic
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Hey, Its SOUTH FL that wants the rain... I am a SUNSHINE girl!
The wind is howling again... If you go on to the beach you are going to be sandblasted!
Quoting Orcasystems:


Sheesh.. make up your mind :(
I want it to rain, we are parched.... but not on the weekend. You know what follows by 5 days of sun... a rain filled weekend :)

hehe Morning BF
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Those radar loops are amazing. There is hardly any convection near the center. All to the north and east. Most of alabama, florida, and georgia will get the rain from this. even the northern parts of those states.
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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Hi all...
Geez, this Low Pressure is surely going to mess up our Memorial Weekend....
Not good news for the Vacation industry..... : (


Sheesh.. make up your mind :(
I want it to rain, we are parched.... but not on the weekend. You know what follows after 5 days of sun... a rain filled weekend :)

hehe Morning BF
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After checking that loop, I do believe we'll be getting rain sometime today. Wish the wind would calm down a bit.
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Hi all...
Geez, this Low Pressure is surely going to mess up our Memorial Weekend....
Not good news for the Vacation industry..... : (
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282. IKE
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


Which center are we talking about


Look at the visible GOM loop. You can see where the center is.
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actually it looks like the main low is right over florida
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Thanks Ike!!
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Seems we have the old multiple Vortices spinning around a Mean Center scenario.
Always fun for tracking...and your viewing excitement too.

Its a Muddy one for sure.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
Good afternoon all! Seems like South Florida could be in store for some severe weather this afternoon.

000
FXUS62 KMFL 201409
AFDMFL

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
1009 AM EDT WED MAY 20 2009

.UPDATE...
STACKED LOW CONTINUES TO SPIN OFFSHORE OF NAPLES AND IS
SLOWLY...VERY SLOWLY DRIFTING TO THE WEST THIS MORNING. ON THE
EAST SIDE OF THIS SYSTEM...DEEP/NEARLY UNIDIRECTIONAL SSERLY FLOW
HAS FORMED CELLULAR BANDS OF SHOWERS/A FEW THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE
ATLANTIC WATERS AND EAST COAST METRO AREAS WITH THE REMAINDER OF
THE LAND MASS DRY. THE 12Z MIAMI RAOB IS FAVORABLE FOR STRONG TO
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS TODAY
...AS 500MB TEMPS OF -13C AND STEEP MID
LEVEL LAPSE RATES FROM 650-500MB SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO PLENTY OF
INSTABILITY THIS AFTERNOON...WITH CAPES AROUND 3000J/KG IF ENOUGH
HEATING IS REALIZED TO WARM TEMPS INTO THE LOWER TO MID 80S. IF
THIS HAPPENS...DRY MID LEVELS FROM THE DRY SLOT ON THE SERN
PERIPHERY OF STACKED LOW WOULD ALSO ENHANCE HAIL POTENTIAL...AND
WET BULB ZERO HEIGHTS AROUND 10,400 FT ARE VERY FAVORABLE FOR HAIL
IN SOUTH FLORIDA. DEEP LAYER SHEAR IS NOT OVERLY IMPRESSIVE...BUT
GRADUAL STRENGTHENING/VEERING FLOW THROUGH THE MID LEVELS WOULD
FAVOR CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF CELLULAR CONVECTION AND POSSIBLE
ORGANIZATION INTO CONVECTIVE BANDS. SPC HAS PLACED MOST OF SOUTH
FL IN A SLIGHT RISK FOR SEVERE WEATHER TODAY
...AND THIS IS ALREADY
REFLECTED IN THE HWO.

/STRASSBERG
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Which center are we talking about
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Quoting scottsvb:
tennisgirl... the system isnt tropical nor close to be subtropical.. its a typical cold core low... until it gets T-Storms..and consolidated amount near the center..then a invest will go up... then when the NHC finds sat images,ship,bouy, other data that suggests this thing might be subtropical with warm air aloft instead of -10 to -15c then they will classify it or send in a plane. probably be a day or 2 before a invest is made..and 2 days @ least before a plane is sent out if they do @ all.


Scott, in 2 days the low if it continues West will be in much cooler water than it is now. The buoys ahead of it to the West and NW are showing water temps of 73-78 degrees at best and they seem to be dropping with all the wind stirring things up. I would think this would deter any possible development after it moves from it's current location. What is your take on the water temperatures in it's path?
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275. IKE
Quoting scottsvb:
tennisgirl... the system isnt tropical nor close to be subtropical.. its a typical cold core low... until it gets T-Storms..and consolidated amount near the center..then a invest will go up... then when the NHC finds sat images,ship,bouy, other data that suggests this thing might be subtropical with warm air aloft instead of -10 to -15c then they will classify it or send in a plane. probably be a day or 2 before a invest is made..and 2 days @ least before a plane is sent out if they do @ all.


I agree. I would not be surprised to wake up in the morning and see convection firing near the center.
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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.