Sunny, dry week ahead for Thanksgiving in South Florida

A high pressure system will dominate South Florida this week bringing sunny skies and dry weather for Thanksgiving and beyond.

A cold front that pushed through the state on Sunday sent temperatures plummeting into the 40s and 50s early this morning.

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Sunrise over Palm Beach on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016.

The low at Palm Beach International Airport hit 51 degrees this, a full 14 degrees below what’s normal for this time of year. But it was Ortona, in Glades County, that saw the coldest temperature in areas covered by the Miami office of the National Weather Service.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Arlena Moses, a meteorologist in Miami, said Ortona recorded a low of 38 degrees.

“It will be a little warmer tonight but still pretty cool compared to normal,” Moses said. “Palm Beach County could get lows in the 50s and possibly in the 40s in the interior, and could even drop below 60 on the coast.”

The normal high at PBIA for this time of year is 79 degrees, with a normal overnight low of 65.

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Today should warm to the mid-70s and gradually warming daytime highs will continue through the week with Thanksgiving Day nearing 80 degrees with partly sunny skies.

“Looks like it’s going to be good weather for the holiday week,” Moses said.

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The National Hurricane Center is expecting a tropical depression in the southwest Caribbean to become Hurricane Otto toward the end of the week into the weekend, but the system will not affect the U.S.

Anyone with plans in Costa Rica or Nicaragua, however, may want to pay attention to hurricane center forecasts.

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Florida climate scientists ask Trump for sit-down on global warming

As 2016 steams toward a close that will likely mark it as the hottest on record, and fish swim in South Florida streets during king tides, climate scientists from the Sunshine State are desperate to get President-elect Donald Trump’s attention.

A group of university professors wrote a letter to the Trump campaign two weeks before Election Day, noting Florida’s vulnerability to rising seas and appealing to his business acumen — the impacts of climate change are a direct threat to Florida’s tourism-based economy, they said.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Trump’s own iconic Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach is threatened by encroaching waters. The current projection is for seas around South Florida to rise between 2.3 and 4.7 feet by 2100. If the worse-case scenario holds true, nearly half of Mar-a-Lago’s 20-acre site would be underwater in 84 years, with the brackish Intracoastal Waterway invading from the west.

Lake Trail north of Bradley Park ives up to its name as flooding at high tide caused water to top the seawall Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Lannis Waters / Daily News)
Lake Trail north of Bradley Park ives up to its name as flooding at high tide caused water to top the seawall Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Lannis Waters / Daily News)

The blush-colored mansion itself, built in 1927 by Marjorie Merriweather Post, doesn’t succumb until 6 feet of sea level rise occurs, according to a NOAA tool that visualizes sea-m-level rise.

“He’s a businessman and he makes money, and I think he can recognize the business impacts and opportunities here,” said David Hastings, a professor of marine science and chemistry at Eckerd College in Tampa Bay. “You don’t need a Ph.D. in climate change to understand its importance in Florida, where we are ground zero for impacts. The sea level is rising.”

Hastings is one of 25 university researchers and professors who signed a simple, one-page letter requesting a sit-down with the future president to discuss the damaging effects of global warming on Florida’s beaches, coral reefs, drinking water, aging infrastructure and coastal communities.

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It’s a tactic that worked with Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. Hastings and four other top climate scientists from the University of Miami and Florida State University requested, and were granted, a meeting with Scott hoping to impress upon him that human-induced climate change is real and a business threat.

“Zika, disappearing beaches, and dangerous weather can frighten away tourists that keep Florida’s economy churning,” the scientists wrote to Trump on Oct. 26.

The tone of the letter is dire, because Trump — billionaire businessman, reality-TV show host, and successful presidential politician — has mostly dismissed man’s contribution to climate change and mocked global warming on Twitter.

To read more about the concerns of Florida’s climate scientists see the rest of the story here. 

Marine Way in Delray Beach, Nov. 25, 2015 during full moon high tide.
Marine Way in Delray Beach, Nov. 25, 2015 during full moon high tide.

November hurricane expected this week as tropical depression deepens

A tropical depression that formed overnight is expected to reach hurricane strength over the next 72 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The depression was officially declared at the 4 a.m. advisory after an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft found that the system had a well-defined low-level circulation.

Check The Palm Beach Post’s hurricane tracking map. 

The system, which is in the southwest Caribbean Sea and will be named Otto if it forms, will not affect the U.S. But anyone going to Costa Rica for the Thanksgiving holiday may find themselves under a hurricane warning in the next few days.

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As of 4 a.m., the depression was about 300 miles east of Bluefields, Nicaragua with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It has been meandering in the same general area for the past 12 hours, and little motion is expected today or early Tuesday.

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The longer it stays in one place, the more difficult it is for it to form as it will be bringing up cooler water, which can hinder development. But moderate wind shear that is hitting the system now, is expected to weaken in the next three days and Hurricane Otto is forecast to form before landfall.

Forecasters expect it to become a tropical storm later today or tonight.

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Major American corporations reaffirm commitment to Paris Climate Agreement

About 300 corporations, including major industry leaders such as General Mills and the Kellogg Company, released a statement Wednesday reaffirming their commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.

The statement, addressed to President-elect Donald Trump, President Obama and Congress, comes as world leaders meet in Marrakech, Morocco during the U.N. climate conference.

Watery seating along Lake Trail next to the Flagler Museum at high tide Tuesday, November 15, 2016. So-called "sunny day" flooding is expected to get worse as the globe warms. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Watery seating along Lake Trail next to the Flagler Museum at high tide Tuesday, November 15, 2016. So-called “sunny day” flooding is expected to get worse as the globe warms. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Trump has threatened to pull out of the agreement, in which 200 countries agreed to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

On the Trump transition team website, the “energy policy” section does not mention the Paris agreement, but does say; “Rather than continuing the current path to undermine and block America’s fossil fuel producers, the Trump Administration will encourage the production of these resources by opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands and waters.”

A spokesman for General Mills confirmed the statement this morning.

“As we did when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, we are reaffirming our commitment to this historic agreement and encourage world leaders to continue driving global collaboration on this important initiative.”

Colin Polsky, director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies, said he hopes Trump’s actual climate change actions are more nuanced than the campaign rhetoric, and that he listens to what some of America’s largest corporations say about global warming.

The 300 businesses that joined in Wednesday’s statement include Hilton, IKEA North American Services, Levi Strauss & Co., and the Kellogg Company.

In September 2015, six major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, signed a statement acknowledging that greenhouse gases are contributing to global warming and asking for policies to mitigate climate-related risks.

“I’m keeping on with our work, but I just don’t know what tomorrow will bring with the new administration,” Polsky said. “In south Florida in particular we are really facing these issues in real time.”

Cold front brings chilly weekend temps to South Florida

Sunrise off Palm Beach this morning, Nov. 17, 2016.A cold front forecast to move through Florida on Saturday night means high temperatures in the low 70s on Sunday and Monday, and overnights dipping into the low 60s and even 50s in southeast Florida.

Palm Beach International is expected to reach just 73 degrees on Sunday, which is six degrees below normal for this time of year. An overnight low of 60 on Sunday is five degrees below normal.

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Forecast for Palm Beach International Airport

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Miami said the front is expected to be dry with little rain. Mostly sunny skies are expected through at least Monday.

Friday will also be mostly sunny with a high temperature near normal at 79 degrees with a low of 69.

“This leads to a pleasant end to the week with partly cloudy skies and dry conditions,” forecasters wrote. “Sunday and Monday look cooler than normal with highs only in the low to mid-70s early next week and overnight lows potentially dropping into the upper 40s for the interior and Gulf coast and mid to upper-50s along the east coast.”

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A coastal flood advisory remains in place for southeast Florida with minor flooding expected during high tides. Today’s high tides at the Lake Worth pier are at 10 a.m.  and 10:14 p.m.

The flooding tides are a hangover from November’s full moon, which was the closest the moon has been to Earth since 1948.

Forecasters in Miami said the flood advisory will remain in effect through at least tonight’s high tides and could be extended through Friday.

A moderate risk of rip currents is expected through the weekend with northeast winds as a high pressure system builds over the area. That high pressure will remain through at least Tuesday, promising clear skies with low rain chances.

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Revolutionary weather satellite ready to launch Saturday

The revolutionary GOES-R weather satellite is scheduled to launch Saturday at 5:42 p.m. from Cape Canaveral.

GOES-R is expected to be a game-changer in weather forecasting, improving warning times during severe weather events, such as tornadoes, and helping better anticipate rapid intensification in hurricanes.

An Atlas V 541 rocket will take the satellite into space.

A view from high up inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A crane lifts the payload fairing containing NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) for mating to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V Centaur upper stage. The fairing-encapsulated GOES-R spacecraft was mated with the launch vehicle on November 9, 2016.
A view from high up inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A crane lifts the payload fairing containing NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) for mating to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V Centaur upper stage. The fairing-encapsulated GOES-R spacecraft was mated with the launch vehicle on November 9, 2016.

NOAA has not sent a new weather satellite to space in nearly seven years. It announced the launch date Wednesday, eager to start receiving images and information from the souped-up equipment.

The launch can be watched live on NASA TV. 

“The satellites up now have a lifespan and they are reaching the end of that lifespan,” said Kevin Cooley, director of the office of planning and programming for service delivery at the National Weather Service. “This will be like going from black and white TV to big screen high-resolution.”

NOAA's new GOES-R weather satellite has faced multiple launch delays.
NOAA’s new GOES-R weather satellite has faced multiple launch delays.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art camera, the satellite can scan the Earth five times faster and with four times the resolution of current satellites.

It also has a Geostationary Lightning Mapper — the first of its kind in orbit — that will help determine whether a thunderstorm is deepening by looking at not just cloud-to-ground lightning, but cloud-to-cloud lightning.

Read more about the GOES-R satellite and how it will improve forecasts here. 

Currently, forecasters use lightning data provided by ground-based instruments that only detects cloud-to-ground lightning.

GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, and the GOES-R is the latest in a series of GOES satellites that were first launched in 1975. A budget of $10.3 billion includes the entire development and lifespan operation of GOES-R and three other satellites through 2036.

Would-be Otto idles in Caribbean but tropical system still expected to form

The National Hurricane Center is still giving a disturbance in the Caribbean an 80 percent chance of development over the next five days as it idles south of Jamaica.

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The system, if it becomes a tropical cyclone, would be named Otto.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Even if it forms up, the system isn’t expected to be a danger to the U.S. Most models show it staying stationary or moving west.

Read: November storms rare, but surprises happen. 

The Caribbean is likely the most favorable area over the Atlantic basin for development over the next seven to 10 days, according to AccuWeather.

“Strong wind shear that has been present over the Caribbean in recent weeks is diminishing and waters are sufficiently warm to sustain a tropical system,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

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AccuWeather meteorologists said they don’t expect the system to become a strong hurricane, although at least one model had it building to a major storm, but that it could become a strong tropical storm or hurricane.

“Beyond early next week, the tropical system may be forced southward later in the month,” Kottlowski said.

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Miss the supermoon? So did these folks, but they didn’t let that discourage them

South Florida’s chance to see the closest moon since 1948 was obscured by a poorly timed cold front.

But we weren’t the only ones who missed the opportunity, which won’t come around again until 2034.

These folks didn’t let the absence of the real supermoon dampen their enthusiasm.

To see real photos of the supermoon, go here. 

https://twitter.com/iantindal/status/798505978371145728

Unusual late-season tropical depression “likely” to form this week, weekend

A large cluster of thunderstorms and cloudiness in the Caribbean Sea has been given an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next five days.

The disturbance is associated with a broad low pressure system located over the southwestern Caribbean Sea.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

National Hurricane Center forecasters said conditions are conducive for slow development during the next several days and that a tropical depression is likely to form later this week. It was given a 10 percent chance of development over the next two days.

If the system becomes a tropical storm, it would be Otto.

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While just two hurricanes have made landfall in Florida in November, four tropical cyclones have hit the state, including 1998’s Mitch. Mitch destroyed South Florida crops, flooded Palm Beach County streets and battered the state’s eastern coastline.

Hurricane Kate muscled into the Panhandle in 1985 just four days before Thanksgiving.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

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The National Hurricane Center’s report on Kate notes that the atmosphere in mid-November 1985 was behaving more like late September and early October – peak times for the hurricane season. A persistent high-pressure system that rebuffed cold fronts and storm-killing wind shear was parked over the state.

By the time Kate reached the eastern Gulf of Mexico, a frontal trough moving in from the west picked it up, sending it into Florida.

Kate was responsible for five deaths and drove an estimated 100,000 from their homes ahead of the storm, according to a National Hurricane Center report. Apalachicola’s oyster beds were decimated.

“The thing I’ll say about tropical weather is you never say never,” said Weather Channel hurricane expert Carl Parker. “Even though it feels like it’s shutting down, just the fact that there is so much warmth in the oceans means it’s worth watching.”

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Cold front approaching South Florida, possible impacts on king tides

A cold front approaching South Florida is expected to bring showers and clouds beginning tonight through Tuesday and may bolster full moon tidal flooding depending on rainfall amounts and timing.

The front, which is expected to reach Palm Beach County around 8 p.m. tonight will mean cooler than average temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

A high temperature of just 75 degrees is forecast for Tuesday at Palm Beach International Airport, with Wednesday reaching to 77 degrees.

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The normal high for this time of year is 80 degrees.

Overnight lows at the coast will be in the low 60s overnight Tuesday and even cooler inland.

“It’s definitely going to be drier behind the front, and temperatures will come down Tuesday and Wednesday,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Caracozza. “Tuesday night will be the coolest.”

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The cold front is coinciding with November’s king tide event, which is causing coastal flooding up and down southeast Florida. The region is under a coastal flood advisory until 4 p.m. Wednesday and Caracozza said Tuesday and Wednesday’s tides could be the most extreme.

North Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach during the morning high tide on Nov. 14, 2016
North Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach during the morning high tide on Nov. 14, 2016

Caracozza said Monday morning’s high tide was about a foot higher than predicted.

High tide at the Lake Worth Pier is at 7:31 p.m. tonight. On Tuesday high tides are at 8:09 a.m. and 8:24 p.m.

The tides are higher this time of year but are also increased by the gravitational pull of the full moon. November’s moon became full this morning, but will rise tonight at 6:02 p.m. It is the closest the moon has been to Earth since 1948 and it won’t be this close again until 2034.

Iris Frohman, who lives on Marine Way in Delray Beach, said she is concerned the Intracoastal waterway will invade her home tonight. Marine Way is notorious for flooding during high tides.

“We have all our furniture up on blocks,” said Frohman, who also uses sandbags to try and block water from coming into the house. “Right now the tide just went down and I’m walking on all this debris, leaves and trash and water bottles.”

Sandbags guard a backyard on Marine Way in Delray Beach during October's king tides.
Sandbags guard a backyard on Marine Way in Delray Beach during October’s king tides.

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