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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(The 80 IS weird tho)
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I am kind of suprised that cape coral hasnt seen a drop of rain today.
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823. beell
Quoting StormFreakyisher:
Wierd I have 60% of rain tomorrow and then 80% on Friday in boca.Why?Isn't the system moving west away from us.


Ya'll may have to wait for that slot of dry air S and E of the center to pass you by-from SE to NW and maybe some subsidence along the Edit-periphery of the mid/upper low.
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Drakoen and Patrap, great images! It'll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow as the sun heats up, especially around what appears to be the C.O.C.
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StormFreakyish? I was reading Melbourne's forecast discussion and they were talking about return to summertime seabreeze activity by then. Might could be why?
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Wierd I have 60% of rain tomorrow and then 80% on Friday in boca.Why?Isn't the system moving west away from us.
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816. beell
Shortwave over Montana on this 18Z 500mb chart. Valid 00Z 5/21. This one will soften the ridge N of the gulf low and allow it to come ashore.



On wv, it looks to be a little farther south (southern Idaho) than shown in the model.
Link
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NexSat,GOM
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
NEXRAD Radar
Tampa, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
Hey all....
Lot's of rain and lots of wind over lots of area.
Looks more like the PacNW over FLA.
Their persistant too.

How often you see a extratropical system down your way.
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dang it cane..i was gonna say that
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Had to, LOL. Rather vigorous circulation been clinging there all day. One developed centered on Lake O as well.

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Lake Okeechobee water level as of May 20, 2009

10.60 ft.

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
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The Safety Invest

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
Quoting BajaALemt:
Has anyone seen or heard from Flood?????


He was on a few weeks ago
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
Good to hear. No complaints here, another year on the doc's blog lol.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
Has anyone seen or heard from Flood?????
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Good, thanks!!! You? Busy here, but looking forward to another season on Doc's blog (I think)....LOL!
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Quoting hahaguy:


Ya it's very large


This mammoth will also be detrimental to its intensification.
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HAHAHA!!! it has an eye
Good to see ya to Baja.

How ya been?
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Link
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Ummmm why did i just look out of my window and saw black clouds and purple clouds????? and nope....I haven't been drinking LOL
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GOM IR Loop
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Hawkeye! LOL! Good to see you!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Anyone else help to notice the massive size of the Low? Its the size of Ike.


Ya it's very large
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
Yah...large area of circulation for sure
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It is a Impressive Piece of Energy for such a early System

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Anyone else help to notice the massive size of the Low? Its the size of Ike.
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Good evening everyone,

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Thanks all!!!
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I was thinking that earlier today, Biloxi...if this were a little later in the season, we might be looking at a horse of a different color
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Breezy conditions with Gale Force offshore.



Interesting as we have HIGH river Here as well.
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Heya Pat!

The gradient looks like it'll lighten up a little over our way tomorrow then tighten back up in a couple of days...yuck!
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I am glad it only May and not the end of August/September!! With that track and swirl, things here on the coast could be alot more intense!
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Quikscat
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
If you watch the HPC's surface analysis for any length of time you'll see plenty of hi's and lows working their way across the country (they work their way around the globe). It's kind of interesting to watch.

Link This is a link from their page to the Unified Surface Analysis...as you can see, there's always plenty of them.
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Forecast as of 4:08 PM CDT on May 20, 2009
Synopsis Pascagoula To Sw Pass Mississippi River-
Synopsis Sw Pass Mississippi River To Atchafalaya River-
Synopsis


A surface low in the eastern Gulf of Mexico will move southwest then northwest across the eastern and central Gulf through Friday. This will cause northeast and east winds to gradually increase tonight with gale conditions expected to develop and continue through Thursday.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
Link
cool hurricane game
GM...Gale Warning until 7 PM Thursday for the following zones:
coastal waters from Pascagoula MS to the Southwest Pass of
the Mississippi River from 20 to 60 nm...coastal waters
from Pascagoula MS to the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi
River out 20 nm...coastal waters from the Southwest Pass of
the Mississippi River to lower Atchafalaya River la from 20
to 60 nm...and coastal waters from the Southwest Pass of
the Mississippi River to lower Atchafalaya River la out 20
nm.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
Quoting BajaALemt:
I think this gives a fairly good visual of what you're talking about Drak.



Yes it does. Nice link
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Quoting BajaALemt:
I think this gives a fairly good visual of what you're talking about Drak.



Question, is it unusual to have that many low's in the Western US as shown in the graphic? I don't recall seeing that many before.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
Those winds here in Saint Petersburg.
Also another torrential band is moving through.
Brief burst of 40 mph winds with this one. Not as high as the 50-60 mph earlier...though the earlier one had little rain here.

Also, banding is getting better defined around the low
http://radar.weather.gov/radar.php?rid=TBW&product=NCR&overlay=11101111&loop=yes
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I think this gives a fairly good visual of what you're talking about Drak.

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777. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
National Hurricane Center: Miami, Fl

Tropical Cyclone Outlooks (0000z 21MAY)
========================================

An area of disturbed weather is located about 600 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico. The associated thunderstorm activity is not well organized and development of this system, if any is expected to be slow to occur as it most slowly west-northwest.

Tropical Cyclone Formation Potential
=======================================
There is a low chance of this disturbance to form into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43657
50-60 mph winds I mentioned earlier snapped the neighbor's 5 foot tree in half...and lots of branches down throughout the yard...like a full blown tropical storm of moderate strength.
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Quoting Ossqss:


I would bet they are saying the same thing :)


ROFLMAO, you might be right....
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About JeffMasters

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