Hottest Days Lie Ahead

The Summer Solstice may have been on June 21, but typically that’s not our hottest day even though it’s the longest day and has the highest sun angle in the Northern Hemisphere. Usually there’s a lag of seasons. Think about the snow pack; snow still remains in some of the mountainous regions of our country in June. By August, the snow line is a top only the highest peaks. These simple examples highlight the delay of the brutal summer heat. However, here in Florida, we know hot just turns hotter as the summer months progress.

So far, as of this writing, our hottest temperature of the year was 98° and that ironically occurred last Saturday on the Summer Solstice. That could change this weekend or early next week as I’ll go into detail in a moment.

With that said, here’s an interesting map of when the hottest day of the year is based on a 30 year climatology around the country. I’d have to agree with the depiction that ours is around the second or third week of July, but you can see the regional differences likely due to certain a variety of weather patterns (such as the June heat in Arizona and New Mexico before the monsoon rains arrive in early July). Even the Florida Peninsula has a lot of local variation because…well…water has a big influence on temperature.

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Of course, some years are without a doubt hotter than others. For example, our 2014 high of 98° is already just as hot as all of 2013. Due to a rainy summer, the hottest day was before the Solstice on June 12, 2013.

THIS WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK:
It seems more and more likely that we’ll see a really hot stretch of weather. High pressure will be the dominant weather feature and given it’s position, a west to northwest flow will heat us up quickly and will keep the sea breeze pinned to the coast. Little storminess and lots of heat will be the story. If you are one of the lucky spots that sees the one or two storms, that might just save you from the worst heat. Don’t count on it though.

High pressure will be acting like a heat pump.

High pressure will be acting like a heat pump.

I feel confident in saying highs will be widespread in the mid to upper 90′s away from the beaches as models have been pointing at such heat for many days now. One model in particular, the American GFS, has been suggesting highs hitting or exceeding the century mark at least one of the days in the period for many days. What I don’t know is when your hottest day will be exactly, but it won’t make much of a difference. Again it depends on where you are and if you see rain. The other piece of the puzzle is how long the heat wave will last. We’ll have to see when the rain really moves in and it all is ultimately up to an area of low pressure off South Carolina (slight chance of development). Trends have been shifting to a longer spell of this weather, but as of now I’m thinking by Wednesday the pattern will flip.

Here's what the GFS model suggests for temperatures around the southeast on Sunday...

Here’s what the GFS model suggests for temperatures around the southeast on Sunday…

This is a cluster of models  showing highs flirting with 100° perhaps through the first few days of July...

This is a cluster of models showing highs flirting with 100° perhaps through the first few days of July…

Humidity will be existent this weekend, but real-feel temperatures (heat index values) will only be a few degrees above the actual air temperature. If the heat core does stick around on Tuesday and Wednesday it could feel more miserable due to an increase in moisture expected.

A record high is possible over the next few days, but Mother Nature will have to work hard. All of the record highs through July 1 in Tallahassee are in the 100′s. Apalachicola’s record highs are a little less extreme, but that makes sense due to a greater influence from the sea breeze.

5 Day Forecast as of Friday evening. Even if we don't hit 100°, it's still way too hot!

5 Day Forecast as of Friday evening. Even if we don’t hit 100°, it’s still way too hot!

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Early June Tropical Development?

Hurricane Season kicked off on Sunday. Typically, every other year a tropical storm forms in June.

For nearly two weeks I’ve been watching computer models, namely GFS, hinting at some tropical development in the southern Gulf of Mexico (Bay of Campeche). So far, there has been some very weak circulation, but nothing too impressive. Steering currents are weak there right now so the system is hardly moving. Take a look at the satellite presentation as of Thursday afternoon…

2 PM Thursday Afternoon Gulf of Mexico Satellite

2 PM Thursday Afternoon Gulf of Mexico Satellite

If any development were to occur it would be very slow because wind shear (upper level winds) is very strong and would keep the system from strengthening very much partly because of the early season activity in the eastern Pacific. By the way, long range climate forecasts suggest that the Atlantic hurricane season will be below average in terms of total storms. However, that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. Just one storm affecting a populated area can cause major headaches. The hurricane season is six long months.

Current hurricane model guidance is leaning toward a solution that would have this going toward the eastern coast of Mexico, which the European model has been hinting at with many of its runs. This would cause flooding rains for Mexico and Central America.

This system, dubbed Invest 90 by the National Hurricane Center, will meander and generally head northwest.

This system, dubbed Invest 90 by the National Hurricane Center, will meander and generally head northwest.

Meanwhile, the American GFS Model has been insisting on tropical development for a couple weeks now, but at the time of this post, it doesn’t show anything tropical for about another week and has the weak tropical entity heading toward south Florida (*subject to change*).

GFS Model Run from Thursday AM suggesting a disturbance perhaps impacting south Florida next week...

GFS Model Run from Thursday AM suggesting a disturbance perhaps impacting south Florida next week…

Stay tuned either way…for now, don’t worry! Take advantage of this time to stock up on your hurricane supplies. You have a couple more days left to enjoy the sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies.

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Unsettled Weekend

A large of trough of low pressure caused all sorts of severe weather the last couple days over the the Plains and Mississippi River Valley. That system will drag a cold front which will meander around our area this weekend into early next week. While widespread severe weather isn’t likely, a few storms may be, but more importantly it will be more on the unsettled side through the period.

Tonight: There will be a few showers that try to sneak into the area, but most should stay northwest of Tallahassee near the Tri-State area and the Chattahoochee River. Low: 65° Chance of rain: <20%

Saturday: Rain and some embedded lightning/thunder will begin around sunrise and last off and on throughout the day. High: 79° Chance of rain: 60%. Rainfall amounts should be less than 1/2 inch.

Sunday: The best chance of showers will be in the morning before the front lifts back to the north as a warm front, leaving us mostly dry the rest of the day. High: 80° Chance of rain: 30%

Monday: The trends for the last few days have shown the heaviest rain and strongest thunderstorm activity to be most likely on Monday. I'm sticking to that idea. Rain will be heavy at times, and some strong and/or severe storms are possible across the Big Bend and South Georgia. High: 78° Chance of rain: 70%

Tuesday: Rain should end by morning, but clouds linger throughout the day. Things turn cooler and this could be one of our last decent cool downs. High: 74°. Low Tuesday night: 48°

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Recap of December through February

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.

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.

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Locally Strong Storms Friday Morning

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

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.

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Spring-like Weather This Week

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)

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)

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!

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Rare Cold Visits North Florida

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 Smilie: ;)

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.

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Warm Start to Winter Solstice

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.

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.

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

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...

Your 7 Day Forecast as of Thursday…

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a blessed Holiday season!

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10 Perspectives on Weather That Make You a Known Floridian…

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…
50 degrees

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.

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.
north face

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.

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.

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

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.

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...

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...

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.

The front page of the Miami Herald on January 19, 1977.

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Rainy Start to November, Cooler Start to Next Week

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.

A picture of sunny skies.

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.

This is a picture of Wednesday's mostly clear skies.

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.

Skies began to fill with clouds on Halloween

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.

This is a graphic showing the fickle temperatures on Halloween.

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.

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.

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