Now, the million-dollar question is: Are we expected to see relief any time soon? I have two answers for that. The short answer is... very little. Unless we see a deluge of rainfall within the balance of the rainy season, we are expected to remain in the drought for a considerable period of time.
Now for the slightly long answer... For the past two weeks, south Florida has been influenced by the large Bermuda high pressure system and a surface ridge to our north. This has kept most of the strong storm systems well to our north, particularly those that have caused severe weather across the Deep South and the eastern Ohio Valley. In addition, the Bermuda High has had a potent grip on our surface winds and aloft as well, with a persistent easterly flow. What this does is steer the convective mechanisms of south Florida, the sea breezes, more towards the interior and west coast areas such as Naples and Fort Myers (notice how they are not involved in any drought index; shown above).
But that is changing, at least according to what the models are saying...
The Global Forecasting System is calling for a change in the mid to upper-level winds of the atmosphere. The most recent North American Model (NAM) run agrees with the GFS and shows mid-level winds will be driven from the southwest for the better part of this week. In addition, this morning's rawinsonde data shows that there is a large amount of instability just after sunrise with a large amount of precipitable water in the atmosphere. These factors coupled together will help to deliver some much needed rainfall to the east coast metro areas. Below are some of the images depicting the patterns:
NAM run (00 to +60 hrs) at 500 mb
GFS run (00 to +60 hours) at 500 mb:
The National Weather Service is calling for a regional chance of precipitation this week from 40-70%, which means scattered to numerous thunderstorms are expected across the coverage area. We can only hope that even a small amount can help. We will have to find out more as we progress through the rest of the month.
Happy Wednesday everyone!
*All images obtained from the following locations:
Drought monitor: University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?FL)
Model outputs: College of DuPage (http://weather.cod.edu/forecast/)