Today’s weather “wild card” will impact South Florida thunderstorms

An extensive layer of Saharan dust is wafting toward South Florida with wisps already hitting the Bahamas, forecasters said this morning.

The National Weather Service in Miami said the leading edge of the dust plume should reach South Florida today, drying out levels of the atmosphere at about 5,000 feet and affecting afternoon showers.

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The dry Saharan air layer can be seen clearly heading toward Florida in this highlighted water vapor image.
The dry Saharan air layer can be seen clearly heading toward Florida in this highlighted water vapor image.

The coverage of storms today will depend on how much Saharan air makes it into the area. With enough surface moisture present, meteorologists said there will be some locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds up to 40 mph.

Read: Why it’s eerily quiet in the Atlantic after busy start to hurricane season

“The threat for strong storms today will not be as high as recent days,” Miami forecasters wrote in a morning discussion. “The wild card will be how much dry air intrudes during the afternoon which may enhance dry air entrainment in updrafts for some stronger gusy winds in the 40 to 55 mph range.”

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The biggest concern with today’s storms is lightning with the strongest rains expected in the interior and west coast of the state.

High temperatures in Palm Beach County are expected to reach 91, which is about normal for this time of year. The heat index, however, could hit 105 near Lake Okeechobee.

Sunday was the first day in 30 days where the high did not hit 90 or above. Sunday’s high reached only 87 degrees in West Palm Beach, which is 3 degrees below normal.

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Tuesday is expected to be even drier as the Saharan dust makes it further into the Peninsula.

With plenty of sunshine Tuesday, temperatures are expected to be warmer, ranging in the low 90s on the coast to mid-90s inland.

Heat advisories are possible Tuesday with 105-plus heat index temps across the interior and Gulf coast.

The heavy Saharan dust is being blamed for the lack of tropical activity in the Atlantic basin this hurricane season. But, AccuWeather hurricane expert said there may be a slight chance of something spinning up off the coast of Africa late this week.

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The National Hurricane Center said in its most recent forecast that tropical development is not expected during the next five days.

Kottlowski said the chance of a storm is a long shot.

“Any system that tries to get going over the western Atlantic late in the month and into early August will likely struggle with a vast amount of dry air and disruptive winds,” he said.

 

 

Lightning deaths mount, what one man was doing that may have killed him

Two more people were killed by lightning Wednesday, bringing this year’s total to 16.

An Arizona teenager was killed while hiking Humphreys Peak in the northern part of the state. A 23-year-old man died after being struck Tuesday while huddling under a tree on an Arvida, Colo. golf course.

Trees are not good places to seek shelter. Just watch this video to see why.

Wednesday’s deaths follow a brutal volley of lightning strikes swept through the South last week killing five people and sending a sobering reminder that summer thunderstorms can be deadly, especially in Florida.

On Tuesday, two teenagers on Sand Key in Clearwater were injured when a bolt hit nearby, leaving one face down in the sand with no pulse and the other with no memory of what happened.

Vacationing nurse Cassandra Thomas performed CPR on 15-year-old Cameron Poimboeuf until paramedics arrived, said Clearwater Police and Fire Department spokesman Rob Shaw.

Read: Top 5 myths of lightning strikes

“She saw what happened from her balcony and them laying on the sand,” Shaw said. “She had to run down 16 floors because the elevator wasn’t working at the time.”

On Wednesday, Poimboeuf was in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital, while the other boy was scheduled to be released from the hospital, Shaw said.

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“Lightning is a huge concern this time of year,” said Charlie Paxton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “That first clap of thunder is the warning, but sometimes we have to foresee those skies darkening and the possibility of lightning and go inside before the first bolt.”

Lightning strikes as motorists travel southbound on I95 near the 45th Street exit in West Palm Beach, June 29, 2015. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
Lightning strikes as motorists travel southbound on I95 near the 45th Street exit in West Palm Beach, June 29, 2015. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

The five people killed last week included two in Louisiana, and one each in Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina. Their ages range from 19 to 70, and while two were taking shelter under a tree – an unsafe place to be during a storm – one was just walking to his car, while another had stopped to put on rain gear while riding his motorcycle.

In total, 16 people have now died nationwide from lightning strikes this year. The two most recent deaths occurred in Arizona and Colorado. In Arizona, a 17-year-old was killed while hiking Humphreys Peak in Coconino County. A 23-year-old was struck on Tuesday and later died from his injuries. He was huddling under a tree on a golf course in Arvada, Colo.

Four of the deaths were in Florida, including two Palm Beach County residents. Bechelet Joseph, of Boynton Beach, was killed in April. Lake Worth resident Farooq Mohammad died in March.

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“We appreciate anything you can do to make people more aware of lightning,” said John Jensenius, a lightning specialist with the National Weather Service after the fifth person was struck down Saturday in North Carolina.

Florida’s summertime thunderstorms can conjure hundreds of lightning flashes in their brief lives as sea breezes from both coasts stir up the atmosphere.

That’s what happened Tuesday. Paxton said a strong easterly sea breeze moved across the state on a collision with the west coast’s sea breeze. Florida is unique nationwide because the sea breeze invades the peninsula from both coasts.

“When the two collide, things intensify,” Paxton said.

Shaw said the boys injured Tuesday, who are both from North Carolina, were walking on the beach when it started raining at about 4:30 p.m.. They ran for cover, and then the lightning hit.

“It’s a danger those who live here know about and respect. You can practically set your watch by the afternoon storms,” Shaw said. “If you are from out of state, you may not be aware of what they can do.”

Florida ranks tops in the nation for the highest number of days per year with thunderstorms, ranging from 80 along the coast to 100 in a more central region west of Lake Okeechobee.

Last year, 27 people were killed by lightning nationwide. Florida had the highest tally with five deaths.

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Three consecutive heat records broken in West Palm Beach

South Florida’s July nights have remained unusually sultry, with Sunday dipping to only 84 degrees.

The temperature was not only a full eight degrees above normal, but also marked the third record-high minimum in three days, beating 82 degrees set in 2010.

Q&A: What happens to the body during extreme heat. 

And with this morning also hitting just 84 degrees, it’s possible a fourth record-breaking day will be christened by the National Weather Service in Miami at midnight, blowing by another 82-degree low set on this day in 2010.

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Normal overnight temperatures for mid-July are 76 degrees, but they’ve been hovering closer to 80 since July 1.

“We’ve been setting records at West Palm Beach for a good chunk of the month,” said Larry Kelley, a meteorologist with the NWS in Miami. “West Palm Beach has set or tied eight records so far this month. It would be nine if this morning is a record.”

July 5 through July 8 was a four-day stretch of overnight heat records. July 12 tied the record low for that day of 82 degrees set in 2003.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Today’s high in West Palm Beach is expected to reach 92, which is two degrees above what’s normal for this time of year.

Sunday’s high of 93 degrees marked the 24th day where daytime highs were 90 degrees or higher. It was the 18th day where temperatures were higher than what’s normal for this time of year.

But, the area is a long way off from the record number of consecutive 90-plus days.

Kelley said in 1951, West Palm Beach suffered through 71 days straight where temperatures were 90 or higher.

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“It’s obvious with the records being set that it’s a warm month,” Kelley said. “We’re under this high pressure system and we’re getting lots of sun during the day.”

Part of why the heat is staying put overnight is the lack of widespread afternoon showers. A dry layer in the upper atmosphere has prevented the typical rain that helps cool things off before sunset.

The sea surface temperatures are also up to 86-degrees off the coast of Palm Beach County, meaning the easterly breeze is blowing in off warm waters and offering less of a cool down.

The dry, warm temperatures are likely to remain in place through Wednesday or Thursday when rain chances increase to 70 percent.

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Record-breaking Tropical Storm Danielle dissipates overnight

Tropical Storm Danielle dissipated overnight after making landfall at about 8 p.m. north of Tuxpan, Mexico.

The last public advisory on Danielle was issued at 5 a.m. when the storm, the earliest fourth-named storm on record, had maximum sustained winds of 25 mph.

National Hurricane Center forecasters continue to be concerned about flooding as mud slides with possibly up to 16 inches falling in some mountainous regions of eastern Mexico.

Update 10:34 a.m.: Tropical Storm Danielle’s winds have strengthened to 45 mph, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is about 105 miles north of Veracruz, Mexico and heading west at 7 mph.

Little change in wind speed is expected before landfall later today. The storm should quickly dissipate over land.

Previous story: Tropical Storm Danielle has formed off the coast of Mexico, making it the earliest fourth-named storm in history.

Danielle beats the previous record held by Debby, which formed on June 23, 2012.

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The National Hurricane Center says Danielle’s winds have strengthened to 40 mph as it nears Veracruz, Mexico, and could increase in speed before landfall. The storm’s minimum central pressure is 1008 mb.

While Danielle isn’t expected to last long after hitting the coast, it is following a trend this hurricane season of early storms.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Tropical Storm Colin was the earliest third-named storm on record, forming up June 5 before hitting Florida’s panhandle as a messy system that brought high storm surge and flooding rains.

As of 8 a.m., hurricane center forecasters said Danielle has tropical storm force winds extending out 40 miles from center and that rains are already hitting Mexico. While not expected to impact the U.S., it could send waves into Texas that will increase rip current risks.

The biggest concern with Danielle in Mexico is rainfall of up to 15 inches in higher terrain areas that could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

Hurricane Alex set the stage this year with its January debut as only the second January-born Atlantic hurricane on record. 

The incredibly rare storm gained hurricane status hundreds of miles south of the Azore.

National Hurricane Center forecasters called Alex’s evolution “remarkable,” noting that since 1851, just one previous hurricane has formed in January — an unnamed and short-lived 1938 storm.

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South Florida weather: 90 degrees with a chance of hail

South Florida will be slightly warmer than normal, hitting up to 90 degrees in coastal Palm Beach County with just a 20 percent chance of rain.

But even with that blazing heat, hail is being forecast with the strongest thunderstorms this afternoon, mostly in the interior parts of the region.

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How’s that?

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Pablo Santos, the meteorologist in charge of the Miami office of the National Weather Service, said frigid temperatures high in the atmosphere are what’s upping the possibility of hail.

“Any thunderstorm in the summer, thousands of feet inside of it, have ice particles,” Santos said. “On days when the mid-level atmosphere gets colder, the vertical motions in thunderstorms are stronger and that allows them to produce bigger ice particles that have a better chance of reaching the ground.”

The difference in temperatures at the surface and high in the atmosphere controls the strength of updrafts in thunderstorms, to some degree.

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When updrafts are strong, they can suspend the ice particles longer in the sub-freezing temperatures, giving them a chance to increase in size.

That means they have a better shot of reaching the ground as hailstones rather than water.

Incredible shelf cloud in West Palm Beach. Kimberly Miller
Incredible shelf cloud in West Palm Beach.

“Today is one of those days where the conditions are just a little more favorable for that to happen,” Santos said. “Its a slim chance and nothing would be high impact. It’s not out of the norm to have summer thunderstorms producing small hail.”

Otherwise, the forecast for South Florida is warm and drier along the coast with light winds out of the northeast at five to seven mph this afternoon.

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By mid-week, showers get a better chance of forming. Wednesday through Saturday includes about a 50 percent chance of rain occurring in the afternoon hours.

Hail in Lake Worth. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Thomas Cordy
Hail in Lake Worth. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Thomas Cordy

 

Tropical storm warnings extended through North Carolina

Update 4:55 p.m.:  Tropical Storm Colin is looking less like a tropical storm with the worst of its thunderstorms far removed from the center of the cyclone.

While a U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunter measured top surface winds of 46 mph, the center is keeping the official intensity at 50 mph because the plane did not sample the entire band of thunderstorms. The storm is now moving north northeast at 23 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1002 mb.

The forecast cone for Colin was moved some to the north, but forecasters stressed that the worst of the storms are no where near the center of the storm.

Tropical storm warnings are now in effect through most of North Carolina.

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Update 2 p.m.: There have been no changes in Tropical Storm Colin’s wind speed or direction, per the 2 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Tropical Storm Colin‘s wind speed or direction, per the 2 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is expected to make landfall later today with 50 mph winds in the Big Bend area of Florida.

But impacts on the west coast are already being felt.

Update 1:30 p.m.  A tropical storm warning has been extended to Charleston, S.C. as Colin pushes into Florida.

Forecasters expect the storm to move quickly through the state and hug the east coast for a while before moving out into the Atlantic.

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NHC Hurricane specialist John Cangialosi said the warnings may be extended further up the coast depending on Colin’s path.

“It’s going to be moving pretty quickly,” he said. “We’re not expecting much strengthening but it could speed up.”

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Update 11 a.m.: The National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update calls for Tropical Storm Colin to make a Florida landfall this afternoon in the Big Bend area as it speeds up to 16 mph.

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Maximum sustained winds remain at 50 mph and not much strengthening is expected in the next couple of days.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency. The declaration covers 34 counties along the Gulf Coast and Panhandle.

Scott said that while Colin is not a powerful tropical storm, its threat of rain could be a problem. He invoked Palm Beach County’s experience with Tropical Storm Isaac in 2012.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Tropical Storm Isaac packed little punch, yet dumped as much as 18 inches of rain, leaving western communities under several feet of water for days.

“With Isaac, we saw all that rain in Palm Beach,” Scott said. “Everybody has got to watch this and watch to see what these bands do around our state.”

Rain from Colin is already affecting the west coast of the state with up to 8 inches possible in areas of west and north Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical storm-force winds extend out up to 230 miles to the southeast of Colin’s center.

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But forecasters note that Colin is an unwieldy storm that doesn’t resemble a classical tropical cyclone. The poorly formed center of the storm has several small swirls inside a larger gyre.

Because Colin’s worst thunderstorms are not at its center, forecasters warn not to focus on the track, which has been nudged further north since earlier advisories.

“Heavy rainfall, strong winds, and coastal flooding will begin affecting portions of the Florida peninsula this afternoon well in advance of the center’s nearing the coast,” NHC specialist Daniel Brown wrote in the 11 a.m. update.

The center is not issuing its new storm surge products because those are only used when there is a hurricane watch or warning in effect.

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Update 10:15 a.m. The National Weather Service in Miami issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook warning of possible gusty winds and isolated tornadoes as Tropical Storm Colin continues its path north.

Southeast winds are pulling up warm tropical air, which could increase thunderstorm chances and locally heavy rain.

Wind gusts as high as 40 mph are possible with the thunderstorms, but it’s the southwest coast that is likely to see the biggest impact with seas up to 13 feet today, subsiding to seven feet by Tuesday morning.

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Previous story: Tropical Storm Colin strengthened overnight to 50 mph winds and is moving more quickly to the north northeast at 14 mph.

As of 4 a.m.
As of 4 a.m.

The cyclone is poorly organized as of the National Hurricane Center’s 4 a.m. update, but tropical storm warnings remain in effect for areas of  Florida between Indian Pass to Englewood and on the east coast from Sebastian Inlet to Altamaha Sound.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for north of Altamaha Sound to South Santee River.

There were no changes as of the 8 a.m. tropical outlook, but forecasters noted that tropical-storm-force winds extend out up to 185 miles.

Read The Palm Beach Post’s 2016 Hurricane Guide for tips on preparation. 

Colin will have to contend with a strong wind shear as it moves north in the Gulf and center forecasters do not expect significant strengthening before it makes landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region in the next 24 hours.

Still, strong winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding are likely well east of Colin’s center and National Weather Service forecasters in Miami warned this morning that any shift in track toward the east could mean more rains and storms to South Florida.

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“The heaviest rain will be southwest Florida,” said Arlena Moses, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “For us here on the east coast, the amounts have come down a little for the  next 48 hours and we may be looking at amounts around an inch.”

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Colin is about 360 miles west southwest of Tampa and about 345 miles south southwest of Apalachicola with a minimum central pressure of 1004 mb.

The 5-day track has nudged more north since the 10 p.m. advisory.

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Palm Beach County is still expected to get heavy rain in connection to Colin, but the Storm Prediction Center has taken South Florida out of its elevated “slight” risk category for severe weather. Palm Beach County remains in its marginal level, meaning there is a chance for isolated severe thunderstorms with small hail, winds up to 60 mph and a low tornado risk.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

There is a 10 to 20 percent probability that Palm Beach County could see some tropical storm-force winds, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Storm Prediction Center puts South Florida in marginal risk for severe weather today.

U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunters measured surface winds from one intense area of Colin at 69 mph, but hurricane center forecasters said it is unclear how representative they are as to the storm as a whole.

As of late Sunday, the National Weather Service was more concerned about prolonged rains throughout this week as opposed to heavy, flooding rains today.

Miami forecasters said the threat of heavy rains and potential flooding for Palm Beach County will exist through late in the week.

The bigger concern for the southeast coast of Florida is Wednesday through Saturday. After Colin moves into the Atlantic, a frontal boundary is expected to stall out across Central and South Florida Wednesday through Friday.

The seven-day rain totals have all of Palm Beach County receiving an average of three to four inches with more falling sporadically in local areas.

A coastal flood advisory is in effect for Collier County through Tuesday morning with concerns about high tides Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning exacerbating the affects from Tropical Storm Colin.

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Are you a hurricane expert? As season begins, test your knowledge

June 1 was the official beginning of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season but with some named storms already come and gone, it could be argued Mother Nature got a little bit of a head start.

Hurricane Alex formed in January. The next storm will be named Bonnie.
Hurricane Alex formed in January.

So are you a hurricane expert?

Read: Special tips and news for Palm Beach County residents on 2016 hurricane season. 

Test you knowledge with this simple quiz: (answer key at bottom)

1. What was the last hurricane to hit Florida and what category was it when it made landfall?

2. What kind of storm was Sandy when it hit the northeast in October 2012?

3. What causes the most deaths during and after a hurricane?

4. How many hurricane evacuation zones does Palm Beach County have?

5. What three storm names were removed from the rotating list of names after the 2015 hurricane season?

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6. Why are forecasters expecting a normal to slightly above normal hurricane season this year?

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7. How much drinking water should you have in your preparation kit?

8. What hurricane in the Atlantic and Pacific holds the title of most intense?

9. What was the most deadly hurricane in U.S. history?

10. What category was 2005’s Hurricane Katrina at landfall?

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Answers:

1. Hurricane Wilma was a Category  3 when it made landfall on the west coast of Florida Oct. 24, 2005.

The last one, Category 3 or higher, to hit the U.S. coast was Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
The last one, Category 3 or higher, to hit the U.S. coast was Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

2. Sandy, after  reaching Category 3 strength, weakened to a post-tropical low before making landfall northeast of Atlantic City on Oct. 29, 2012.

(Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post) -- Bayville, New Jersey -- James Connelly, 70, standing where his deck use to be along side his home and his pool and boat in the background, surveys the damage after riding out Superstorm Sandy in his home at 287 Sandlewood Drive, Bayville, New Jersey on Friday. James rode out the storm in his home trying to save his boat and other belongings. His deck and pool was pulled from the ground ending up along side his home. James' boat was also thrown against his home. His wife Yvonne left the home to be with friends. The Connelly's also have a home in Jupiter, Fla. for the past 28 years.
(Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post) — Bayville, New Jersey — James Connelly, 70, standing where his deck use to be along side his home and his pool and boat in the background, surveys the damage after riding out Superstorm Sandy in his home in Bayville, New Jersey on Friday.  The Connelly’s also have a home in Jupiter, Fla. for the past 28 years.

3. Storm surge, rain and surf, not wind, cause the most deaths during and after a hurricane. About 80 percent of deaths directly attributable to Atlantic tropical cyclones between 1963 and 2012 were water related.

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4. Palm Beach County has five evacuation zones.

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5. Joaquin, Patricia and Erika.

A home on Long Island destroyed by Hurricane Joaquin. Photo courtesy Pathfinders
A home on Long Island in the Bahamas destroyed by 2015’s Hurricane Joaquin. Photo courtesy Pathfinders

6. El Nino, which helps knock down Atlantic hurricanes, is on the way out, while La Nina, which is more storm-friendly has a 75 percent chance of emerging by fall.

7. You should have a gallon of drinking water per person, per day for one week.

8. Hurricane Patricia ended Hurricane Wilma’s reign as the most intense hurricane on record in October. Patricia, which reached wind speeds of more than 200 mph in the Pacific before hitting a rural area of Mexico, had a central pressure of 872 millibars. Wilma’s pressure was 882 millibars.

Hurricane Patricia's winds reached 215 mph, the strongest on record.
Hurricane Patricia’s winds reached 215 mph, the strongest on record.

9. The 1900 Great Galveston Hurricane killed 8,000 people.  Florida’s Okeechobee Hurricane in 1928 is ranked second, killing up to 3,000 people when a storm surge broke through a weak dike around Lake Okeechobee. (This is corrected from an earlier version that said the Okeechobee storm was the top killer)

Property in Belle Glade, on charlotte ave., lies in ruins after 1928 hurricane
Property in Belle Glade on Charlotte Avenue lies in ruins after 1928 hurricane

10. Hurricane Katrina had weakened to a Category 3 storm with peak winds of 125 mph at landfall.

Before Hurricane Katrina
Before Hurricane Katrina
After Hurricane Katrina
After Hurricane Katrina

The catastrophic storms that broke Florida’s previous hurricane droughts

Florida is enjoying more than 10 years untouched by hurricane-force winds — an unprecedented era of climatological calm that has long surpassed previous storm-free stretches.

Hurricane Elena
Hurricane Elena

As of today, the start of the 2016 tropical cyclone season, the last hurricane to touch the Sunshine State was 3,873 days ago when hurricane Wilma bullied ashore near Cape Romano in October 2005.

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Hurricane experts mostly agree this will be a near-to-above average season as La Niña chances increase, but whether one of the storms will break Florida’s epic hurricane drought is unknown.

What is known is that previous drought-busters were doozies.

Florida’s prior record-long stretch of no hurricane days was six years — 2,191 days — beginning in 1979.

Editorial: ‘Hurricane amnesia’ biggest threat for residents.

Hurricane Elena ended that streak in August 1985, drifting close enough to Florida’s Gulf Coast for 92 mph winds to be felt in Pensacola and sending 10 feet of storm surge into Apalachicola, according to National Hurricane Center records.

In third place for the most extended break between storms was 1,778 days beginning in 1987.

The storm that ended that reprieve is infamous in the annals of hurricane history.

Find out what that storm was in the rest of the story here. 

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First tropical system of season may be brewing

The official start of the 2016 hurricane season is June 1, but the atmosphere is brewing up a little preview that may form into a tropical system by Memorial Day.

Meteorologists are watching forecast models that show an area of low pressure forming near the Bahamas that has the potential to become the season’s first tropical depression with a path toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

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Andy Mussoline, senior meteorologist with the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather, said the system is a signal that weather patterns are shifting, making things more favorable in the Atlantic for hurricanes.

Will a tropical cyclone be named after you this year? 

The official start date is June 1.

“We think any development that would occur later this week will be slow with a tropical depression likely the beginning,” Mussoline said. “We have warm water, low wind shear. Something may show up as early as Thursday.”

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While a few days ahead of schedule, early tropical development has some precedents.

Tropical Storm Ana, May 2015. Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
Tropical Storm Ana, May 2015. Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Hurricanes have formed in every month but February.

Last year, Tropical Storm Ana opened the 2015 hurricane season with a May 9 debut.

This year, Hurricane Alex formed Jan. 14, making it only the second January-born Atlantic hurricane on record.

Other hurricanes refusing to adhere to man’s calendar include Alice, which formed Dec. 31, 1954, but managed to live through the New Year before dissipating Jan. 4. Another tropical storm dubbed Ana formed April 20 in 2003, while Tropical Storm Alberto was named May 19, 2012. Alberto was followed just days later by Tropical Storm Beryl, which formed May 26.

While January’s Hurricane Alex was more of a hold-over from the 2015 storm season, its formation date on the calendar made it a 2016 storm.

That means if the system being watched by forecasters develops, it would be named Bonnie.

But some forecasters aren’t ready to fire up the season just yet.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami has not identified the low pressure system that may develop as one to watch for potential tropical characteristics, and Jeff Masters, co-founder and director of meteorology for Weather Underground, confirmed an area of low pressure is expected to form but said the forecast is more muddled from there.

“The models have widely differing ideas on how much wind shear might be present, so it is too early to say if this system is a legitimate threat to develop into a tropical depression,” Masters said Monday.

Tropical cyclones are unique in that they have warmer temperatures at their centers — so called “warm cores” — that are able to sustain the strength of the storm over long distances.

But they need warm ocean waters and low wind shear to prosper — ingredients AccuWeather forecasters say are there.

Ocean temperatures are about 80 degrees with light winds that are expected to remain that way into next week.

Whether a tropical system forms, showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase from Florida to the Carolinas later this week and through Memorial Day with increasingly dangerous surf conditions.

“We think any development will be slow,” Mussoline said. “But we have warm water, low wind shear and high atmospheric moisture, which, combined, can mean tropical formation.”

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Incredible images of Thursday’s storms in Palm Beach County

The storms that descended on northern Palm Beach County Thursday came with torrential rains and stunning images of gust fronts, shelf clouds and darkened undulating skies.

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Looking north on the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach