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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1125. Patrap
9:46 PM GMT on May 22, 2009

90L NexSat Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128632
1124. Littleninjagrl
8:54 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Hi Chicklit- I just read your post....I'm in Tampa and we just had a strong storm pass through. Lots of lightning and thunder. Got real dark real quick. Seems to be dying off now. Still have some lightning and thunder light rain.
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 843
1123. TampaSpin
2:10 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Morning everyone......StormW and I both updated a Blog Today if anyone would like to view and also i figured out a way to add the Computer Models Under the Tab "Tropical Weather Graphics" !

TampaSpins Link
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
1121. Chicklit
1:54 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting obsessedwweather:
This 'entity' is HUGE!!! What shall we call it??? Or has it been 'named' already???

If you're referring to the blobs lined up off the east coast of Florida, I believe the term is "wet weather pattern."
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11347
1120. SomeRandomTexan
1:53 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
that is quite a plume of convection of to the east of Florida... could it tap this and wrap it around its COC? probably not enough time but will see...

To all you central Floridians plz be safe and don't drive in flooded areas
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
1119. captainhunter
1:53 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Morning all. Our low is still struggling with the dry air to the south and west it appears. As much as I hate to see a washout for the holiday weekend, I'm praying for some rain here in PCB.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 430
1118. obsessedwweather
1:52 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
This 'entity' is HUGE!!! What shall we call it??? Or has it been 'named' already???
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 321
1117. nrtiwlnvragn
1:52 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
New Blog
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11211
1116. Chicklit
1:50 PM GMT on May 21, 2009

Animated loop makes it look like all that moisture to the south and east is being pumped into Central Florida. No, can't be!
Maybe into north Fla and Georgia?!
Link
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11347
1115. Nolehead
1:45 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
morning everyone, nice to see the regulars in here again for another year...viking i agree it sure looks to be heading our way...need the rain but i'll sure take the surf also!!!
Member Since: June 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1932
1114. Chicklit
1:43 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting MahFL:
The coc seems to be being blown NNE...towards...wait for it.....FLORIDA !...lol.

That's not funny.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11347
1113. MahFL
1:41 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
The coc seems to be being blown NNE...towards...wait for it.....FLORIDA !...lol.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3541
1112. Chicklit
1:38 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Thanks for that post Vortfix. People have been asking me if not a tropical storm what is the deluge called. "Wet weather pattern" I'll tell them...60 plus streets in Daytona now closed and it's still coming down. Wish it could've been more evenly distributed over the entire peninsula!
Daytona's sewage system now compromised. Processing 25 million gallons with increases expected. Normal flow is 11 million gallons/day.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11347
1111. Chicklit
1:35 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Welcome RescueAFR. We did need rain in East CF; however, not this much.
Link
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11347
1109. fireflymom
1:34 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Waiting to see where the swirly goes-La, Tx or back to Fla or Ala? Will be an interesting season to watch develop.
Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 588
1108. 69Viking
1:32 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Anybody else notice on that radar that IKE posted the low looks to be going more North than West? I'm not so sure it's going to make it as far West as they have been predicting. It's still pretty close to the West coast of Florida. This sucks not having any coordinates to track the COC!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3055
1107. scottsvb
1:30 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
ChrisDane sent ya some mail.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
1106. TheCaneWhisperer
1:28 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting IKE:



Now that's just a tease IKE, lol. OHH so close.
1105. RescueAFR
1:27 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Good Morning everyone...From South Fla..I followed this blog last year during the storm season. Look forward in blogging along this year. Lived in South Fla for over 49 years...retired USAF flight engieer /Blackhawk with a combat rescue unit out of Patrick AFB..

Enjoy the nice wet day...especially those in Fla..we sure needed it!
Steve
Member Since: September 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1104. IKE
1:23 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1103. TheCaneWhisperer
1:22 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting MahFL:
Oh I did not realise the low was that far west. I thought it was still forming under the convection SW of Tampa......interesting.



Yeah, not much farther to go before it turns north. I doubt that moisture fetch will ever make it to SFL, sigh. I guess 2 inches is good enough to start the wet season.
1102. weathersp
1:20 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Click Image for larger image
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
1101. Orcasystems
1:19 PM GMT on May 21, 2009

Blog Update

AOI #1

AOI #2



Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1100. Orcasystems
1:18 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting obsessedwweather:
Hey Everyone--

How do I upload a "general" picture for this blog....the picture by our blog name???


Good place to look for answers :)

And another one
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1099. nrtiwlnvragn
1:13 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting obsessedwweather:
Hey Everyone--

How do I upload a "general" picture for this blog....the picture by our blog name???


Up top select WunderPhotos --> My Photos --> right hand side Upload a portrait
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11211
1098. Orcasystems
1:08 PM GMT on May 21, 2009


The "Blob" is still hanging around.. getting everyone wet.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1097. IKE
1:06 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting 69Viking:


I was kind of hoping it was a super swirl and could keep going North and suck the GOM low with it on it's backside sending it off to the NE instead of it's predicted Westerly path! IKE has pretty much doomed us though, we need to teach him about positive thinking!


LOL...:(
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1096. obsessedwweather
1:05 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Hey Everyone--

How do I upload a "general" picture for this blog....the picture by our blog name???
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 321
1095. Ossqss
1:01 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Morinin

recent SST's

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
1094. TXGulfCoast
1:01 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
1092. Sorry about the roof leaks. Hopefully they will be easy to find and fix.
Member Since: April 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
1093. 69Viking
12:59 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


I see it Vike --- It would be interesting if it also got sucked down into the GOM


I was kind of hoping it was a super swirl and could keep going North and suck the GOM low with it on it's backside sending it off to the NE instead of it's predicted Westerly path! IKE has pretty much doomed us though, we need to teach him about positive thinking!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3055
1092. obsessedwweather
12:55 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Well, my worry came true. Went home last night from work and the roof is leaking in two or three places. We have been receiving lots of rain in Orange Park. And it appears as though we will keep getting dumped on today.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 321
1091. PanhandleChuck
12:49 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting 69Viking:
Anybody else see the swirl going into Georgia on this Water Vapor loop? I wonder what affect that will have on our GOM low.

Link


I see it Vike --- It would be interesting if it also got sucked down into the GOM
Member Since: May 13, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1414
1090. 69Viking
12:45 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Anybody else see the swirl going into Georgia on this Water Vapor loop? I wonder what affect that will have on our GOM low.

Link
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3055
1088. MahFL
12:40 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Tons more rain offshore at Daytona, heading my way.....
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3541
1087. MahFL
12:37 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Oh I did not realise the low was that far west. I thought it was still forming under the convection SW of Tampa......interesting.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3541
1085. IKE
12:31 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting reedzone:
Hey IKE, looks a bit better this morning, convection on radar looking more like spiral bands then a mess. Lets see what evolves today, it's currently in the warm 79-80 degree water temps with 10-30 knots of shear.. it'll be interesting.


I'll be watching.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1084. reedzone
12:27 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Hey IKE, looks a bit better this morning, convection on radar looking more like spiral bands then a mess. Lets see what evolves today, it's currently in the warm 79-80 degree water temps with 10-30 knots of shear.. it'll be interesting.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7396
1083. 69Viking
12:24 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


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


I get it, if only we could concentrate all that rain onto Pensacola Beach and leave the rest of the Panhandle clear for boating!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3055
1082. IKE
12:19 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Well......there it is.....a lop-sided spinning low in the GOM.....if the shear relaxes it might have a shot....wouldn't be shocked to see this labeled an invest by tomorrow morning....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1081. surfmom
12:13 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
apologies if I came off harsh P-buoy.....holidays are associated w/lots of Drink & Drive... --I'm usually happy when it rains 'cause it keeps those activities indoors and the drunks are less likely to be on the road or waterways....
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
1079. surfmom
12:10 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
Keeper...I can hardly believe I'm looking at these maps seeing what I'm seeing..........ALREADY!!!! AHHH CARUMBA
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
1078. surfmom
12:08 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
That low IS a trouble maker...--I know that.... but the surfer eye sees it is in the sweet spot as a wave maker..One man's sweet spot is another's disaster in the making
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
1077. IKE
12:06 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
All I was thinking of was less tourists which means less traffic on this outdated two-lane HWY. 331 I live off of.

I wouldn't head to the beach if it was raining off and on all weekend. Sorry if it affects businesses looking at tourist dollars. I was speaking for myself and vacationing in the rain..not.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1076. surfmom
12:02 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
I'm hoping to snitch out as soon as the young one is off to school... Dive son is great... although the weather has been slowing down the commercial dive work this week.... Gulf is too rough for them to be making repairs etc.
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
1075. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:00 PM GMT on May 21, 2009
latest shear and upper lower winds




Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54292

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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.