It has been quite a struggle to get much sunshine in the Sunshine State these days. You see the St. Augustine lighthouse on Saturday which almost had to be illuminated during the day since it got as dark as night at times in all of those storms that pounded the area. But finally it is not the only beacon of light in your new and improved forecast. The good news is there are brighter days ahead for the country's 10th tallest lighthouse and all Floridians courtesy of high pressure moving our way from the Gulf of Mexico. We in fact should say sizzling sunshine returns this week with plenty of 90s in the forecast beginning tomorrow. We are ready for a break in the weather. This weather pattern has taken its toll. Notice the damage at a convenience store near Brunswick, Georgia last week. While a tornado was not verified the damage does look like it was caused by downburst or straightline winds which can be just as bad as a tornado. This picture proves it!
I did have a great time this weekend and wanted to send a special shout out to WLFI TV-18's reporter and producer Julie Krizen who was in town for a wedding. It was great to see her and her boyfriend who is on the Purdue cheer team. We did Boiler Up! We hit all the shops in St. Augustine including the historic castle. Since Julie is a native Floridian from Sarasota she taught me a thing or two about coquina shells while we went for a walk on the beach. She did hold me accountable for us getting caught in the rain but that is okay. It was warm and humid outside so the rain actually felt good. Here is a picture above of Julie and I. Keep up the great work in Indiana Julie! I would not be surprised to see you on television back home here in Florida someday.
Now one good thing about all the rain we have had is that it has been keeping our temperatures in check. Even when we start drying out all the rain we have had will play a big role in our weather forecast. Normally with 5,000 foot temperatures up near 20 Celsius on the latest model runs that would be enough for me to call Mom and Dad in Mandarin and warn them about highs of 100 degrees. That forecast would have worked over the past couple of years, but not this year. It has been so soggy that a good portion of the sun's energy will go into evaporating all of that ground water that has built up across the area. Remember the earth is heated from the ground up and not the other way around. Since last Friday much of the First Coast has had between two and three inches of rain. Of course this is following the wettest May on record for most of our area. Since the middle of May we have had an astounding 15 to 20 inches across much of the First Coast. Think about it! Some areas have already had a summer's worth of rain since the middle of May. Now it will still get hot in this forecast, but it could have been a lot worse. Another thing saving us from the worst of the searing heat will be the strength of the ridge moving our way. We do not have the protoypical strong monster high pressure we see this time of year that normally builds in the Gulf of Mexico. Notice the bullseye for this heat-maker or center of the high pressure ridge stays back in Mexico.
If anything the high presure ridge will weaken as we head into the weekend as stormy weather to the North continues to suppress it well to the south. This tells me here at home not only will we have highs only in the lower to middle 90s but we will have to keep at least a few scattered thunderstorms in the forecast this week. But the good news is these will be the more typical splash and dash Florida showers and thunderstorms you are used to. They will not ruin your plans and should not last more than an hour. This will be a big change. This pattern shift is long overdue! You can see one of many rainbows spotted along CR-210 in St. Johns County this week. We will finally find our pot of golden sunshine back in the forecast this week.
Now the question is will it last? We have not seen a deluge like this in Florida since the last El Nino and we will talk more about this during the week here on the blog. El Nino conditions are still likely as we head into the July and August. This will have a big impact on our rainfall and numbers of tropical storms and hurricanes over the next several months. Based on the latest long-range maps, the polar jet stream will continue to stay well south of its normal position and more blocking is likely across Canada. This tends to keep things stormier than normal here in Florida as we have seen over the past few weeks. Here are the long-range outlooks for precipitation in this El Nino pattern across the country.
Even though it may be tough to see. I can decipher this map for you. Let me zoom in for you to just include the summer of 2009.