For the sake of record-keeping, December 1 through February 28 is known as meteorological winter. After all, March is usually when the pattern starts to change into more spring-like weather. So far this March, has started off on the chilly side across much of the country.
So, we’re going to take a look back at the last few months…
Despite having some very cold episodes, especially in January, overall during the three month period we saw temperatures that were warmer than normal. The average temperature for winter was 54.7° (1.7° above normal). I hinted at this in an earlier post, but December and February were warmer than normal and January was colder. The warm outweighed the cold. In fact, December was the SIXTH WARMEST on record for Tallahassee with an average temp of 59.0° (an incredible 5.8° above normal). The highest temperature officially recorded at Tallahassee Regional Airport was 84° on December 7, which set a record for the day and made it the all-time highest temperature for the month of (any) December. Remember when the fountains froze a month later? That was technically our only hard freeze this year. The low on January 7 was 22°. By the way, the high temperature that day only reached 35°, making it the coldest daytime high since February 4, 1996. How many days had low temperatures at or below freezing this winter? 22–a few less than normal.
Rainfall this winter was just about right on par. We received 12.94″ of rain, which is just 0.15″ below normal. The highest rainfall total officially in a 24 hour period was 1.87″ on December 14-15.
Here’s a nice graphical representation of what the southern part of the country experienced temperature and precipitation-wise compared to normal…
Meteorological Winter Summary across South Central U.S.
Finally, how could we forget our rare winter event to close out the month of January? We had a cold rain on January 28 and throughout the day on the January 29 we had a mixture of freezing rain and ice pellets (sleet). The airport officially reported a trace of ice pellets. There was some snow reported near Bainbridge, Georgia, but more notably ice was reported all the way to the coast. The event ended up closing area schools as well as bridges, overpasses, and a large stretch of I-10.
With all the spring-like temperatures we experienced this week, it’s now destabilizing the atmosphere a bit ahead of our next cold front. A nasty squall line has been producing all sorts of strong storms and severe weather from Louisiana to Kentucky. This line will push east, but should be much weaker by the time it moves through the Tallahassee area.
Highlighted below are projected arrival times for the strongest line of storms. I’m considering this to be fairly experimental as I’ve never posted such a specific timeline.
Forecast made: 2-20 at 11 PM
Please be aware that rain, in most cases, will start before the indicated times, and linger a bit afterward. For my sake, these times suggest when based on current radar trends, the main/organized line of storms will be moving through. Isolated storms are possible before hand, too, with the southerly wind flow.
The strongest storms will produce gusty winds, frequent lightning, and perhaps hail in addition to the heavy rain. An isolated tornado is possible, but not probable.
Cooler, and more notably drier, Friday night into Saturday. Before the front lifts back over our area Sunday and Monday leaving things a bit unsettled.
We’re now in the middle of February, and temperatures overall this month have been running a few degrees above normal. Meteorological (not astronomical) winter closes out at the end of the month for the sake of record keeping and it’ll more than likely end up being warmer than average despite several cold snaps, especially in January. I’ll write a post in early March recapping our winter weather, which believe me, we had some cold days.
The point of tonight’s post, however, is that spring will essentially have sprung by week’s end. We had several chilly nights last week. One more is on the way.
By the time Monday afternoon comes around, the warming trend will officially be underway. Monday’s high will be 74°. For the remainder of the week, highs will be in the mid to upper 70′s – even flirting with 80° in many cases.
5-Day Temperature Trend (forecast made: 2/16/14)
Little to no rainfall will be around most of this week (disturbances stay to our north and west). You will notice some increasing low level moisture Tuesday and Wednesday perhaps producing late night/early morning fog. Otherwise, partly to mostly sunny skies will be the rule. Humidity really goes up by Friday and into next weekend; that is when we have our next significant rain chances.
Unfortunately, a quick rise in temperatures this week and virtually no rain until Friday means the pollen count will be increasing across North Florida and South Georgia.
Allergy sufferers beware…pollen is in the air this week! (forecast made: 2/16/14)
That’s not to say we won’t have another cold front or two. In fact, long range global forecast models are hinting at another chill during the last few days of February or first few days of March. It’s too early to pin the magnitude of the chill, if at all, but I doubt lows will be much below freezing. Nonetheless, enjoy the springy weather this week. It’ll be a great week to have lunch outside Monday through Thursday as long as your sinuses are in good shape!
The first few days back to class are always a little hectic. Unfortunately, Mother Nature isn’t going to make it any easier and she’s going to throw us a snowball (Okay, maybe not…but she might as well!). Either way, it’s going to be extremely cold around here starting Monday and continuing through Wednesday Morning. Hopefully you take the next few warm hours to check your tire pressure, car battery, and car fluids…
It’s all part of a strong Arctic front that is likely to bring us the coldest temperatures we’ve seen in more than a decade! It all starts early Monday…
Occasional showers will move through Sunday night into early Monday morning ahead of the aforementioned strong cold front. Our high temperature for the day, 64°, will occur shortly after Midnight around 1 or 2 AM. Temperatures will essentially tumble from that point…
By Dawn, it will start to get chilly and winds will be increasing from the north and northwest. Instead of going up throughout the morning, temperatures will go down. At 7 AM, temperatures will start dipping into the upper 40′s. By 11 AM Monday, we’ll be around 38°.
Clouds will play a role in tomorrow’s temperatures as to whether or not we have a brief “warming” in the afternoon. As of now, I expect skies to be fairly overcast through the Noon hour with maybe even some light drizzle. Don’t even get any wintry ideas in your head
We should see at least a little sun in the afternoon. Thus, at our normally warmest part of the day, we might climb into the low 40′s briefly. How does 42° sound around mid-afternoon? That might be generous…
I mentioned the winds…and they will be blustery at times generally blowing between 10 and 20 mph. So that means it’s going to feel EVEN COLDER than it actually is. Expect wind chills (feels like temperatures) to not be much above 35° throughout the day.
Many of you have plans to watch the National Championship with friends. Be sure and bundle up. The game starts at 8:30 pm. As many of you head out, temperatures will just begin to flirt with the freezing mark and will be down into the 20′s by 10 or 11 pm.
A hard freeze will occur Monday night and Tuesday Morning. We’ll likely stay below freezing for 15-20 hours (from 9 pm Monday to Noon Tuesday). Lows Tuesday morning will be in the upper teens…going with 19° for now…but wind chills will be much lower and may even be in the upper single digits!
You’ll need to dress warmly all day Tuesday. Even though the sun will be out in full force, it is essentially at it’s lowest angle of the year, so highs will get a few degrees above freezing at best. Wind chills may not climb above 30°. The National Weather Service says this will likely be the coldest day we’ve seen since 1996. Just incredible…
The bottom line is you need to be prepared. Winter weather safety is something we hardly ever have to think about in North Florida! It’s nothing life-threatening per se like they’re seeing further north, but certainly we’re not used to this.
If you live in a structure with exposed pipes (rare- most common in mobile homes) then you should cover them so that they don’t burst. Pets and plants need to be brought inside. Tender vegetation will die. Don’t forget to protect yourself, too. Dress in at least a few layers and wear a hat over the head to hold in as much body heat as you can. Check on the young and elderly.
Tuesday night/Wednesday morning lows will be in the low 20′s and we’ll warm up to 53° in the afternoon and by Thursday and Friday, you’ll almost forget about our cold snap…
Comment if you have any questions. You can also find me on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/TylerAllenderWX) or tweet me @TylerAllender.
I have been happily filling in at SNN Local News in Sarasota, FL this week for the holidays, so I’m out of my Tallahassee realm. For the sake of this blog, I will be focusing on the Suncoast of Florida instead of the Big Bend region…
You can say goodbye to the chill that we’ve had over the last few days. The last three mornings featured lows in the 40′s thanks to a northeasterly flow.
We are transitioning this afternoon into warmer period. Winds have veered out of the east now and Thursday’s highs will reach 80° in inland areas.
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday everyone will be in the 80′s for highs as winds will shift out of the south and southeast. This is courtesy of a high pressure system moving off the Carolina coastline into the Western Atlantic. Because we are in between systems (the high pressure and the low pressure), we are not only going to be warm but also breezy!
Here is the weather setup for Friday & the weekend.
Record highs are even possible along the Suncoast despite it being the first weekend of Winter. Right now my forecast calls for a close brush; we’re expected to be within a couple degrees of the record highs slated for this weekend.
The Suncoast will approach record high temperatures this weekend.
We also can’t rule out record high low temperatures (sounds funny, but in other words…some of the warmest morning lows on record are expected for December 21, 22 and 23 – approaching 70°).
This is all ahead of our next storm system that will be approaching us from the west this weekend. If you’re traveling out of state this weekend, be aware of likely travel delays. Strong to severe storms, soaking rains, ice, and snow are all possible to the north of Florida.
First Winter weekend…and travel headaches are expected
While there may be a stray shower between Friday and Sunday, slightly better chances of rain exist early next week. It appears it will cool off on Christmas Eve Afternoon into Christmas Day with fairly seasonable conditions…just in time to feel a little more like Christmas than this upcoming weekend. Needless to say, you can see the roller coaster temperature ride we’ll be on for the next week in my 7 day forecast.
Your 7 Day Forecast as of Thursday…
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a blessed Holiday season!
1. You’re shaking and shivering when it’s in the 50′s. Meanwhile, folks up north think that’s shorts and t-shirt weather.
I must say…there’s something that’s different about the air here. I suppose because of the bit of extra humidity due to our more tropical breezes, but 50° sometimes feels cooler to me than when I go further north and it’s 30°. It’s all relative I guess…
2. After a long hot summer, 85° is suddenly cool to you.
Honestly, it’s amazing that a few degrees can make such a difference. That first weak cold front of the season can be enough to make the weather a little bit more bearable than it otherwise would be.
A forecast made in mid October.
3. You take a ski trip, and your North Face jacket is the heaviest coat you own.
Sweaters and jackets are hard to come by for Native Floridians. Tallahassee is about as cold as it gets in the state. In a year, we’ll typically have roughly 20-30 days with temperatures at or below Freezing, which is extremely cold compared to the peninsula portion of the state. In 2012, we had 19 and in 2011 we had 27). Even so, because of our inland location, the land heats up faster during the day and we’ll usually warm up pretty substantially during the day as long as we have sunshine.
4. You spend an entire summer in the air conditioning, at the beach, or in the pool.
It’s just too hot to spend a lot of time outdoors; you sweat as soon you get to your driveway. Water is my best friend during the summer months. Forget winter hibernation…
Dreaded heat like this (July 2012) is when I stay inside.
5. What…seasons exist?
In Florida you’re used to it being hot and then slightly less hot. Plus, our “cold” snaps last for a few days, at best. We’ll get a little variety up here in Tallahassee, but it’s nothing compared to the rest of the country.
7 day forecast from earlier this year.
6. You have a hurricane day instead of a snow day.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much when the power is out. In the span of 13 months, I went through 3 hurricanes in South Florida (Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma) and I lost track of the days the power was out. At least a week for all of them. One of the storms I had no power for two weeks. I think back and wonder what did I do? No Internet. iPhones weren’t even a think yet. Sheesh!
I seeked out Tropical Storm Beryl in May 2012 with some friends by traveling to Jacksonville Beach
7. A torrential downpour is over your house for 10 or 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, your friend a couple miles away didn’t see a drop. Heck, it might be raining on one side of the street and not the other.
Torrential rains I encountered in South Florida.
8. You can kiss the 24/7 humidity good bye!
The humidity is can be so thick around here I’d argue that it’s literally the air that you can wear.
Dew Points (the best direct measure of moisture at the surface) are often in the 60′s and 70′s. The higher the number, the more oppressive it feels.
Yeah, it was nasty…
9. You can go to the beach on Thanksgiving or Christmas (almost all year round), especially the further south you are.
I’m pretty sure there’s not many other places you can do that. I guess we can be thankful for the warmth for this reason. It’s better than shoveling snow…
Okay, this might not have been at Christmas-time, but you get the point…
10. Lastly, whenever you have the chance you mention that one time it snowed in Florida.
The time everyone talks about is January 19, 1977 when even Miami had snow! How unusual…There have been a few times since then when there have been some flakes flying in Florida, including Christmas Day 2010 here in Tallahassee.
The front page of the Miami Herald on January 19, 1977.
We started off the week with sunny skies, as seen below, due to the leftovers of the chilly, dry airmass that we saw last week. Morning lows were still quite cool on Monday, October 28, but with all that sun, we warmed up into the low 80′s.
Sunny skies captured earlier this week at the Mike Long Track at FSU.
By Wednesday, we saw a few more clouds in the sky. They were the harmless, cirrus clouds though that still gave us plenty of sunlight. Oftentimes, these clouds are said to be signs of change. In this case they were, as the clouds were on the extreme edge of the approaching cold front, which I’ll discuss a little later in this post.
Even on Wednesday, skies were mostly clear with just a few high, wispy cirrus clouds passing through.
On Halloween (Thursday) skies were speckled with a bit more cloud cover (a mix of high/low clouds). At times, like when I took the picture below, it was hazy because of the increasing moisture at the surface and higher up in the atmosphere. When I took this picture, you couldn’t even make out distinct clouds as it was just a layer of haze.
Things began to change on Halloween…hazy sunshine with more clouds could be seen at FSU.
Just a follow up from my last blog post with updated weather content first discussed a couple weeks ago…October has now ended. We had a bout of chilly, more Fall-like weather for roughly a week (in between blog posts). That made the deficits for the month less significant compared to a previous post discussing the statistics so far, but October 2013 still stands out as being warmer than average in Tallahassee. The average low temperature for the month was 59.9°, which is 2.6 degrees above normal. If you average both the highs and the lows for each day of the month, the average temperature was 71.6°, which is 2.1 degrees above normal. Halloween’s weather was no different compared to the rest of the month as a whole. The graphic below, which I made on Wednesday night, shows the low and high temperatures on Halloween since 2009 compared to the “forecast” I made for Halloween (the actual temperatures observed for this year were 61° and 83°, so both my forecast high and low for this year were one degree underestimated). Either way, you can note that each year temperatures can vary quite a bit; we’ve had some warm Halloweens and some cool Halloweens recently. Halloween is usually when we’re beginning to transition to cooler temperatures on a more consistent basis.
A look at how this Halloween compared to the previous four years temperature-wise.
We also ended up with 1.03 inches of rain during the month of October, which is 2.20 inches in the “hole.” We’ll make up for that lack of rain a little bit, albeit in a new month, during the first day or two of November. A very soupy air mass is present ahead of the next cold front, which is due to arrive Saturday, November 2. Brief periods of heavy rain and even some embedded thunderstorms are expected between 5 pm Friday, November 1 and 2 am Saturday, November 2 here in Tallahassee with the aforementioned frontal system. It won’t necessarily be raining during that whole time frame, but most neighborhoods should average at least one-half inch with locally higher amounts. The heaviest rain will likely be in the middle of that time frame. There’s an isolated risk for a strong storm or two (mainly containing gusty winds), but I think the best odds for a strong storm will be to the west of town.
With that said, here’s a look at what the GFS and HRRR model depict as far as rain at 0z (8 PM Friday) as of Friday morning’s model run. The GFS is perhaps a little slower to progress the rain than the HRRR.
GFS and HRRR model output suggesting what the radar may look like at 8 PM Friday.
The exact timing is going to vary slightly from this most likely depending on if the system speeds up and slows down. Therefore, the timing of when the rains will end will vary too. Generally, the rain will clear out of Tallahassee well before dawn, and should be over/to the east of the Suwanee River by sunrise. This is great news for FSU as we have the huge game day festivities Saturday, including the ESPN GameDay show itself, which starts at 9 AM. Go Noles! See you next week.
Yesterday (October 24) marks eight years since Hurricane Wilma barreled through South Florida. It was a strange storm for many reasons, but especially given the fact that cold air blew in on the back side of the storm. This got me reminiscing about other hurricanes and tropical storms that I went through. Namely: Hurricane Frances, Jeanne, and Tropical Storm Fay during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.
With that said, please take a look at my YouTube playlist that I compiled showing impacts of the storm in the area where I lived in South Florida.
Normally, this time of the year we start to notice the daily summer rains being replaced by more days filled with sunshine and even experience some legitimately cooler temperatures. Sweaters and jackets start to come out of the closet (especially the more sensitive south Floridians who are not used to the more seasonal variety in Tallahassee).
The former has been true so far this October. Despite some gloomy-looking days, the soggy summer rains that we had have been replaced by more days filled with sunshine; we’ve only had one day with measurable rain thus far (through October 17).
So far this month, we’ve seen 0.81″ of rain, which is more than one inch drier than normal up to this point in the month. We’ve certainly seen drier Octobers, however.
The Southeast Regional Climate Center is a great source for reading relevant, long-term weather stories and for looking back at climatological data. Based on this month’s data in Tallahassee (the official station is at the Tallahassee Regional Airport on the south side of town) indicates that temperatures have been much warmer than normal this month. So far, our average high (when you average all the days together) this month has been 85.8°, which is nearly three degrees above average. We had a high of 91° on October 4 and a high of 90° on October 5. I’ve lived in Tallahassee since 2010, and since then, we haven’t topped 90° in October until this year. Meanwhile, our average low (when you average all the days together) this month has been 64.9°, which is almost five degrees above average. That’s what stands out the most! We haven’t seen really any chilly mornings yet. We bottomed out at 57° a few times, but that’s it. Over the last few years, by this point in the month we’ve seen temperatures dip closer to 50° and we’ve even seen lows in the lower 40s by this time. This year’s early season cold fronts clearly haven’t been as potent due to the jet stream being positioned further north. FYI: The jet stream is a fast moving column of air in the upper atmosphere that pushes weather systems, including (cold) air masses, across the country.
In summary, here’s a snapshot of the temperatures officially recorded at Tallahassee so far this month courtesy of Wunderground:
This hot stuff will change pretty quickly over the next couple weeks according to climatology and current long range models. First, over the next four or five days we have to get through a bit of gloomy weather. Periods of clouds with occasional scattered showers to kick off the weekend can be expected thanks to a stubborn cold front. The showers shouldn’t amount to much and they aren’t worth cancelling your plans, because most of the day you should be able to avoid them. I expect there will be hardly any rain around on Sunday as the front finally pushes through. In fact, the GFS model that ran Friday morning hardly shows any rain in town all weekend.
Our best chances of (heavier) rain through the period is on Monday and Tuesday ahead of the next cold front, which should ultimately be a bigger game changer when it comes to giving us that feeling of Fall. Here’s what the GFS model suggests late Monday into Tuesday…clearly some higher rain coverage.
I won’t get into the specifics on temperatures since we’re still about 6 days out from the cool down after Monday and Tuesday’s rain exits, but it seems like our temperatures will drop quite a bit and it may even feel chilly late next week (starting around October 24). I’m crossing my fingers for lows in the 40s!
What do you think? Are you ready for cooler temperatures?
First, this post isn’t the general, inside-scoop of an everyday forecast in Tallahassee as stated a couple weeks ago. Instead, it’s about Tropical Storm Karen in the Gulf. With that said, I want you to realize that this blog is not exactly current and this post was written on Thursday Night and Friday Morning. You should rely on real-time updates from: the National Hurricane Center in order to take necessary precautions.
It all started earlier this week when a disturbance in the Western Caribbean first began to catch an eye from forecasters like myself. Many times these disturbances can be sort of the bait fish for us as we’re lured into analyzing computer models where we then compute the odds of the storm developing into a tropical entity (tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane). Hurricane season lasts for six months and in the Atlantic Basin it runs from June 1 through November 30. This year, we’ve had several weak tropical storms and only two hurricanes. The reason being is dry, Saharan dust and strong wind shear (fast moving winds high up in the atmosphere) have choked a majority of the storms from organizing into anything much tropically speaking. Even Karen, is being impacted by these two features, which are hampering its development.
Let’s talk about some of the forecasting challenges with Karen. First and foremost, the single hardest thing to predict about a tropical system is its intensity. Even it’s expected track is a little easier. So many factors, including the aforementioned dry and wind shear, come into play on both macro and micro scales causing the intensity forecast to be highly uncertain. From the get-go, the consensus on Karen was that this storm would only be a tropical storm (maybe a minimal hurricane). On Wednesday morning’s initiation of models, they perhaps underestimated Karen’s intensity a little bit, but I’ve seen far worse.
By Thursday night, here was the intensity forecast given by the same group of models. Keep in mind, that the timeline (forecast hour) has advanced 36 hours. The bottom line is that while they’re have been a few outliers, overall this storm’s intensity has been pretty close to what was expected. I think it’ll play a few tricks once it near land.
As for the forecast track, this can be fairly uncertain, too, especially when looking beyond three days into the future. Heck, sometimes it’s hard to get today’s forecast correct! Karen has had its eyes set on the northern Gulf Coast since the beginning. Once a storm is heading toward the Gulf, it really can’t turn around; it can only completely dissipate, which is fairly rare given the warm water temperatures, or move toward land. Models have been pointing toward a landfall anywhere from Louisiana to Florida. Again I’ve seen worse, but I’ve also seen better; there hasn’t been much improvement in confidence in Karen’s forecast as we’ve gone forward in time.
Here are the model tracks from Tuesday Morning at 8 AM before Karen was officially a tropical storm. Yes, there was a cluster near Pensacola/Mobile but a couple further west and a couple further east.
Here are the model tracks from Thursday night at 8 PM–12 hours after Karen became a tropical storm. This is not a significant change, but there was more agreement that it would make landfall further from Tallahassee.
Still, this is a fairly large system with tropical storm force winds extending 140 miles from the center. So even if the storm makes a landfall near Pensacola, which is 200 miles away from Tallahassee, the tropical storm force winds would be no more than 50 miles away from Tallahassee. The wind field may even get closer than that if Karen moves far enough east after landfall.
Additionally, meteorologists also single out a few global numerical models, including the American-run GFS (Global Forecast System). It’s one of the best! Ignore the meteorology mumbo jumbo and focus your attention on the Gulf Coast “blob” indicating Karen. Here’s what it showed Wednesday at 8 AM (valid for Sunday at 2 PM)
versus Thursday at 8 PM (valid for Monday at 2 AM) — notice the eastward shift and the timing has been pushed back several hours.
The European Model shows an even weaker system, further west, not doing as much. It mostly shows juts some rain with the Wednesday 8 AM model run (valid Sunday at 8 PM).
What about Thursday at 8 PM (valid for Monday at 2 AM) you ask? A little stronger and perhaps making two landfalls one in Louisiana and one near Pensacola.
Needless to say, there’s some uncertainty about the whereabouts of Karen and just how she’ll make an impact. This is where our role as (human) forecasters come into play. We have to think about what scenario makes the most sense given the current pattern and our experience. I personally am leaning toward a weak storm that will hardly impact Tallahassee other than a little rain and wind, but it is still worth watching.