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

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

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1025 - 975

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23Blog Index

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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'll say this system has a lot of spirals and spins. I'm getting dizzy looking at it. Lol. To me it looks like a strong upper level low has formed east of Florida and is pulling the surface low thats at 25-85 northeast towards it. And there are 2 surface lows in the gulf itself. Interesing blob to say the least.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1023. kingy
good morning all. 90 minutes sleep is all I need these days.

amazing centre formed for the unnamed storm, look at the wv loop

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/gmex/loop-wv.html
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
just got up (thunder knocked me out of bed) looked at the WV loop on WU and looks to me like another eye is forming east of st. augustine. Lotta spirals in this little system, seems crazy
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sarasotaman:
Am I the only one on here right now lol


No.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Am I the only one on here right now lol
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
terminator salvation is great :)
just got back from midnight showing.
i see a second low has formed more west in the gulf, will they compete for the most dominant?
Will Arnold be terminated as governor lol
It looks like this band of rain will be the drought buster for sarasota.
Quoting sarasotaman:
Wow look at this band of rain moving north on Tampa radar.
You are welcome TampaSpin, will be in Tampa in june.
Quoting sarasotaman:
TampaSpins blog now with Stormw is great take a look!


Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Right.

And as far as the potential El Nino goes, I think that a lot of people are forgetting one very critical thing, and that is that during quiet periods (which El Nino's have been known to produce), a majority of people, primarily except for those who are knowledgeable in the field of meteorology, get complacent.

And then, when the big one comes along during that same El Nino year, they are caught off guard, and the storm ends up being far worse than it otherwise would've been. Case in point, Andrew in 1992.

My point is that an El Nino does more harm than good, most of the time.


Yes,
And what a lot of people don't understand is that if nothing significant happens in the MDR in 1 season then most of the warm water gets simply stored and warms up quicker and warmer than the year before once the season starts thus increasing the likelihood of a powerful hurricane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SevereHurricane:


I agree,
They both could have been way worse,
And every year the Big One doesn't come the chance of it happening the next year increases.


Right.

And as far as the potential El Nino goes, I think that a lot of people are forgetting one very critical thing, and that is that during quiet periods (which El Nino's have been known to produce), a majority of people, primarily except for those who are knowledgeable in the field of meteorology, get complacent.

And then, when the big one comes along during that same El Nino year, they are caught off guard, and the storm ends up being far worse than it otherwise would've been. Case in point, Andrew in 1992.

My point is that an El Nino does more harm than good, most of the time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SevereHurricane:


I agree,
They both could have been way worse,
And every year the Big One doesn't come the chance of it happening the next year increases.


how does it increase?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.


I agree,
They both could have been way worse,
And every year the Big One doesn't come the chance of it happening the next year increases.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sitting here on the 18th floor directly on the beach in Miami Beach. Getting hit with a wet rainband. Gusts personal estimate (after being here for six years through it all) are 35mph. Sure seems like a tropical storm to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
terminator salvation is great :)
just got back from midnight showing.
i see a second low has formed more west in the gulf, will they compete for the most dominant?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
tampa radar shows a lot of rain moving slowly north.
TampaSpins blog now with Stormw is great take a look!
Quoting SevereHurricane:
Katrina was not the "Big One" but it was just the last warning from Mother Nature.


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Katrina was not the "Big One" but it was just the last warning from Mother Nature.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
And as far as Kim accurately predicting Katrina, it was predicted for decades prior to Katrina, that NOLA would suffer a destructive hurricane like Katrina that would flood the city.

With that same prediction unfolding year after year, of course somebody was going to get it right eventually. Nothing divine there, I'm afraid.

I really hate to bring religious discussions to a weather blog, but I have a strong interest (as well as extensive knowledge of) in theology.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


WTF?

Even if the season does turn out to be below average, that means NOTHING. It only takes ONE.


No Kidding Andrew was a great example of a below average season!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sarasotaman:
I am in agreement with a below average season. Kim Clement who is a profet of God who predicted katrina and said Gustov whould not be like Katrina says no majior hurricanes will hit th U.S. this year.


We are jinxed for sure now! LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sarasotaman:
I am in agreement with a below average season. Kim Clement who is a profet of God who predicted katrina and said Gustov whould not be like Katrina says no majior hurricanes will hit th U.S. this year.


WTF?

Even if the season does turn out to be below average, that means NOTHING. It only takes ONE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherStudent:


No majors this year then, TS?


If you go to my Tropical Prediction Analysis Tab on my Wed you will see my Forecast for each system and my yearly forecast and why..i also posted a 2009 Tropical Blog Outlook on April 30th and the reasoning Why!

TampaSpin Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The NHC didnt mention two surface lows in their last discussion. So I may be mistaken. Even tho its on the satellite. Anyway the one closest to Florida looks like it has convection firing up on its east side. To my admittedly untrained eye.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I am in agreement with a below average season. Kim Clement who is a profet of God who predicted katrina and said Gustov whould not be like Katrina says no majior hurricanes will hit th U.S. this year.
Quoting WeatherStudent:


No majors this year then, TS?


The only years since 1950 that haven't seen major hurricanes are 1968, 1972, 1986, and 1994. Even during 1982 and 1983, when we had the strongest El Nino observed, we saw a major hurricane in both years. Same with 1997.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
Sense El Nino is now looking like a possbility. I would expect an Average to slightly below average season Now!


Still calling for neutral.

However, it will ultimately be the timing of the El Nino that will make or break the season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looking at the satellite I clicked "fronts" and we now have twin 1007 surface lows. That surprised me until I remembered someone mentioned a low north of Cuba today. I assume thats it.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sense El Nino is now looking like a possbility. I would expect an Average to slightly below average season Now!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting moonlightcowboy:
TS, give us the skinny. Ana or not?


Sorry MLC i was a little slow i just updated my Blog if anyone would like to view....but, NO ANA that i see just alot of rain to continue with inland flooding a big concern.

TampaSpins Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Scott!!
Off to bed, Goodnight ev1
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1851
Well..the long range predictions are really farmers alnamac...I look at El Nino and La Nina and right now its about average..so I would go close to average.. On a guess.. 12/7/3
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
Quoting scottsvb:
Anything purley tropical wont develop until the subtropical jet (960Jet) moves north of 30N.... while its down around 20N... nothing will develop..

There will continue to be weak pressures from the eastern GOM thru the Bahamas all week.....weak areas of low pressure will form..but waters are in the mid-upper 70s in the bahamas and off eastern florida north of WPB... We have 2-3 weeks before anything in the carribean or the GOM will form tropically.


Scott, would like you to stick your neck out and give your take of the season. One of the local mets here in SETX said this year would be well below average and nothing for us to worry about...
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1851
Anything purley tropical wont develop until the subtropical jet (960Jet) moves north of 30N.... while its down around 20N... nothing will develop..

There will continue to be weak pressures from the eastern GOM thru the Bahamas all week.....weak areas of low pressure will form..but waters are in the mid-upper 70s in the bahamas and off eastern florida north of WPB... We have 2-3 weeks before anything in the carribean or the GOM will form tropically.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
Pretty much, I think

Latest GFS looks to have the usual feedback problems, especially toward the end of the run
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
this is for 90W and this cant be right could it???

its at 1.3N???


21/0230 UTC 1.3N 134.4E T1.0/1.0 90W -- West Pacific
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I guess the GOM low is dying since there is absolutely NO action on the blog tonight
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1851
funny stuff Quakeman
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1851
Quakeman,
Maybe they read Dr.Masters blog too much lol :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:


Has your entire baseball team asleep yet?

All but two are asleep! Yeah!
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 1519
Hey Sport!! Good to see ya!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hi MLC and Baja,

welcome back.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Pat tuned in late 809 and 854 post look like a viper interesting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Funny--I tweeted The Weather Channel @TWCi and told them I was still thinking the GOMEX low has the potential for subtropical transition, and asked what they thought (well whoever was managing the TWCi account at the time; TWC has several Twitter accounts). Here was their response:

"I may eat crow. But rlly think it will be treated as a non-tropical low thru-out its existence. Impacts remain same either way."

Ha, I never thought anyone at TWC would use the ol' crow terminology. Who from this blog has been talking to them?? Someone sneak them our crow recipe?? lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
...must be having a PB&J! ;)


I'm out. Have a good sleep, all!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1025 - 975

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.