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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1075. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
latest shear and upper lower winds




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1073. surfmom
Quoting charlottefl:
Just to show you regional varibility of rainfall.

My station in Port Charlotte has received 6.95 inches of rainfall since the beginning of May. We are 40 miles to the SE and I have received 1.95 inches. Big difference.


That's fascinating!!! just 40 miles -- but makes all the sense in the world.... I know my rainfalls at the barn(east I75) which is 29 miles from where I live (west I75) is double at least what I have received at the house.
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Quoting PensacolaBuoy:

Since you and Ike seem to be insecure in your manhood on Memorial Day weekend... you must not be businessmen. This is the largest revenue weekend of the year for this area. In this economy, this will be a make-or-break weekend for many business owners. I'm praying for some breaks in the clouds, myself. Lighten up, guys!


Whatever... if your business rely's on one weekend a year, you have bigger problems than a commet on this blog!
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1069. NO sailing this week surf - yesterday WAY too windy, was cancelled. And not even going to think about going out until the rain stops - I am getting too old to go hassle with slipping on decks when it's like this. If there was a race, I would do it but no pleasure sailign when it's nasty like this.

Going out and hitting the surf today? How's your boy?
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A little 500mb vorticity under Hispaniola
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1069. surfmom
Morning Melwerle - Grey day?...... clear out the garage - so when you got the weather you're out sailing!!!
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1063. They were talking on the news the other day that business is booming at tybee since we are having yucky weather. All the people that would be layin on the beach are shopping in all the little touristy stores (and buying sweatshirts!) and hanging out in the restaurants.
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Just to show you regional varibility of rainfall.

My station in Port Charlotte has received 6.95 inches of rainfall since the beginning of May. We are 40 miles to the SE and I have received 1.95 inches. Big difference.
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Quoting ChrisDcane:

What part of it though?

north west just including Jamaica and a little under Hispaniola
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1056. Huh? Insecure with their manhood? Agree totally with surfmom.
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Quoting ChrisDcane:

What part of it though?

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1063. surfmom
Tourists eat & shop --rain or not
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
shear continues to drop in the Caribbean

What part of it though?
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1061. surfmom
Sorry 1056 P-buoy..... I don't see those guys as insecure at all!!
We're not pleased to be on the water in boats or on the road with people who are intoxicated............. nothing to do with being insecure... a lot to do w/ have intelligence.................
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1059. IKE
Quoting PensacolaBuoy:

Since you and Ike seem to be insecure in your manhood on Memorial Day weekend... you must not be businessmen. This is the largest revenue weekend of the year for this area. In this economy, this will be a make-or-break weekend for many business owners. I'm praying for some breaks in the clouds, myself. Lighten up, guys!


???

I'm thinking less tourists...not what you're thinking. I am in business for myself and have been for 22 yrs.

Sorry...this weekend is a washout for the Florida panhandle.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
shear continues to drop in the Caribbean
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1057. surfmom
Waterholes are beginning to replenish SRQ/FL:

this was last week

5/20 - still needs to come up several feet, but it's better then it was
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The cap can release anytime now. SFL is trapped in a rain sandwich.
1054. IKE
From accuweather....

"Additional homes and roads will likely become flooded today as more rain inundates Florida. Rainfall totals from the slow-moving storm have already exceeded a foot in northeastern Florida.

Rain will stream into Florida and southern Georgia today as the storm churns over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The corridor from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach will once again endure the storm's heaviest rain. An additional 4 to 6 inches of rain is anticipated through this evening.

The storm's total rain has already exceeded a foot across parts of northeastern Florida. The Flagler County Fairgrounds in Bunnell measured nearly 2 feet of rain from Sunday to Wednesday afternoon.

With the ground severely saturated and rivers running high, additional serious flooding will ensue. Be prepared for more roads and homes to become inundated with flood waters. The threat will be greatest near rivers and in low-lying and poor drainage areas. Do not put your life at risk by driving through a flooded road.

Gusty winds will continue to blow across Florida and nearby states. The saturated ground will make it easier for the winds to bring down trees throughout northern Florida. The strongest wind gusts will be measured at the coast, where rough surf will continue.

The storm will spread its heaviest rain and thunderstorms over New Orleans, Mobile and Pensacola Friday into Saturday. Florida, however, will remain unsettled through the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The storm is currently non-tropical. While not expected, it is not out of the question that the storm could become subtropical and acquire a name over the Gulf of Mexico the next few days."
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
We're getting some decent rain up here too however, nothing like you guys have gotten. Glad to see the lawn coming back - just a bit gloomy though. Probably a good day for packing or getting the garage cleaned out so I can figure out what to take or throw out. The wind has stopped though which means our biting flies are back.
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1051. surfmom
Good Morning! With ALL DUE RESPECT AND CONSIDERATION to those who may be looking at serious flooding...... this comes from Micah Weaver this AM. Surf Report SWFL
Desk guess; waist to chest and clean at the best S facers. Though my margin-for-error could be big on this one so check the cams when it gets light out. A lot of S wind in the bottom of the gulf. The low is in a really good spot. Lots of E and NE wind up here, hopefully it has shot us some swell. This swell has been inside the buoys.
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1050. russh46
I don't think this rain will effect us to much. Last month the panhandle had lots of rain and it didn't even make the news. Here in Polk county the lakes and mining pits were very low, now they are filling up again and the fishing will take off!!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 95
1049. IKE
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


Actually Ike, might not be a bad thing, seeing how it is Memorial day weekend if you get my drift.


LOL...I hear ya.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting IKE:
Any vacationers planning to head to the NW FL. beaches for the weekend...you may want to cancel them.

Today...60% rain chance.
Tomorrow..70% rain chance.
Saturday..60% rain chance.
Sunday...60% rain chance.
Monday...50% rain chance.
Tuesday...50% rain chance.

Sorry..:(


Actually Ike, might not be a bad thing, seeing how it is Memorial day weekend if you get my drift.
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1047. IKE
Any vacationers planning to head to the NW FL. beaches for the weekend...you may want to cancel them.

Today...60% rain chance.
Tomorrow..70% rain chance.
Saturday..60% rain chance.
Sunday...60% rain chance.
Monday...50% rain chance.
Tuesday...50% rain chance.

Sorry..:(
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1046. IKE
Buoy 262 NM south of Panama City,FL. is very near the COC. Coordinates 25.97N and 85.59W. Winds have shifted to the south. Pressure is 1005 mb's....

"Wind Direction (WDIR): S ( 180 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 7.8 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 11.7 kts
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 5.9 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 8 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 6.2 sec
5-day plot - Mean Wave Direction Mean Wave Direction (MWD): NNE ( 28 deg true )
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.70 in
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): +0.00 in ( Steady )
5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 75.4 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 79.7 °F
5-day plot - Dew Point Dew Point (DEWP): 73.9 °F"
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Good Morning! To all the folks in Florida - as much as you need the rain, I'm beginning to feel sorry for you. Get out the water wings.
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lots of rain for southeast FL today as all the crap on on back side moves in and with daytime heating
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1042. IKE
GOM swirl...It's under about 20+ knots of shear right now. Has good vorticity. Starting to get some low-level convergence and upper-level divergence.

I've got cloudy skies outside and 69 degrees. Winds about 10 mph.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Florida Low Heads For Gulf Coast
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Quoting MahFL:
456, your second link is the same as the first one.


Sorry for the confusion, not the actually forecast but news about it and when it can be available.
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I can't find it. How do i update my little picture? Avaitar?
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1037. MahFL
456, your second link is the same as the first one.
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Goodmorning all, Been gonr all off season but this 15 (my rain guage)inches of rain in 4 days has brought me back a little early. Another drenching day here in fla.
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Florida Low Heads For Gulf Coast
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QS showing a surface low to the south west of florida



Link
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2786
1033. aquak9
g'morning ya'll...MahFl, I hear ya. We're swamped on the coast of jax as well.

Points south, even worse.
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1032. MahFL
Morning all. A nightmare drive into work this am in extremely heavy rain, from North Clay Co to Duval Co. in FL. I also heard 3 people died when a tree fell on thier car.
Also my rain guage was acting up, replaced the bateries and hope it records again. had about 11 inches so far, same as we got from Fay.
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Quoting Keys99:
Looks like another very wet day on tap for North/Central Florida.


Wish some of that rain would move into Tallahassee. Been cloudy and windy here but not a ton of rain yet.
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Most lightning in a storm I've seen in a while last night. Got over 1 inch of rain. Had a 33 mph wind gust also.

Some one looks a little naked- Link
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1029. Keys99
Looks like another very wet day on tap for North/Central Florida.
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1028. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
another cyclone still possible for West Bengal or Bangladesh region.. starting this weekend.
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1027. EMT907
Sea ice in the Arctic below average, but not greatly so

Weren't we supposed to believe that the North Pole was going to melt completely last summer? What happened to that hysteria?
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1026. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Unfortunately, no, it wasn't. It is my fear that with the next hurricane, NOLA will not be so lucky, and will be practically destroyed.

You have to remember that both Katrina and Gustav did not deliver the punch that they could have.


Gustav had potential to be FAR more devastating than Katrina. If it wasn't for Cuba or EWRCs, Gustav would have been a full blown Category 5. Ike had more potential than Gustav because of its sheer size, if Ike's winds increased in the gulf as the pressure rapidly increased, Ike would have been a Category 4 at landfall and it would have been far more devastating.
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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