West Palm Beach on track for hottest summer on record

West Palm Beach is on track to burn through its hottest summer on record with average temperatures running 2.7 degrees above normal and heat records falling like the very sweat from our brows.

After three consecutive days — and likely a fourth — of warm overnight temperatures making history, Florida Climatologist David Zierden said it’s possible summer 2016 will overtake record-holder 2011, which ended its June-through-August run with an average temp of 2.7 degrees above normal.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

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“Since we are running so much warmer than normal halfway through the summer and with the extended outlook calling for a good chance of continued warmer than normal temperatures, there is a good chance we will break the record,” Zierden said.

A flurry of tropical systems, however, could derail the temperature climb, he added.

But as of Monday, July has had eight days that broke or tied heat records for those dates and may have added a ninth when overnight lows dipped only to 84 degrees Monday morning. The record low for July 18 is 82 degrees set in 2010. June had five days that either tied or broke heat records.

“We’re under this high-pressure system and we’re getting lots of sun during the day,” said Larry Kelley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “We’ve been setting records at West Palm Beach for a good chunk of the month.”

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Florida’s not alone in feeling the heat. Forecasters are warning that triple-digit temperatures and high humidity will punish much of the central and southern U.S. this week.

The National Weather Service characterized the coming temperatures as “a dangerous heat wave” and “rare.” With dew-point levels in the 70s to near 80, the heat index, or “feels like” temperature, is expected to soar past 110 degrees in multiple cities.

“More people die each year from heat than cold waves, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes or floods,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

The vague definition says a heat wave is a period of “abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather” that typically lasts two or more days.

West Palm Beach’s 92-degree high Monday marked the 25th consecutive day of temperatures reaching 90 degrees or higher. It also marked the 26th day of abnormally warm temperatures, reaching back into June, which finished the month as the 6th warmest June on record.

“Temperatures reached or exceeded 90 degrees on 17 days, well above the normal June value of 12 days,” wrote NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Robert Molleda in his monthly weather report.

The normal high temperature for this time of year is 90 degrees, with a normal overnight low of 76 degrees.

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But the mounting days of 90-degrees or warmer in West Palm Beach isn’t anywhere near the record. In 1951, the National Weather Service recorded 71 consecutive days of 90-plus temperatures — a heat wave that finally broke on Sept. 27.

The second longest period of consecutive 90-plus days in West Palm Beach was 49 in 1956.

“West Palm Beach is setting records, it’s been warm, but we still have a ways to go,” said Kelley about beating the 71-day mark.

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July’s buck moon rises tonight, what else to look for in the darkened skies

Tonight will bring July’s moon to full, reaching its pinnacle at 6:57 p.m. when it is precisely 180 degrees opposite the sun.

July’s lunar splendor goes by many names, all having to do with the season and how it affects the Earth’s inhabitants.

A super moon rises over the Boynton Beach Inlet in Boynton Beach, Florida on September 8, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
A super moon rises over the Boynton Beach Inlet in Boynton Beach, Florida on September 8, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

The moniker “buck moon” stems from the fact that this is the time of year when buck deer begin to grow velvety antlers, according to EarthSky.org.

But July’s full moon is also known as the “thunder moon” and the “hay moon,” as this is the season of the thunderstorm and when farmers are racing to put hay in their barns around the storms.

Many full moon names were given by Native American tribes who lived in the northeast U.S. In November, the full beaver moon rises, and then there’s the worm moon and the wolf moon.

“By the time the moon rises over the eastern horizon, we in North America will be looking at a moon that’s slightly past full phase. It’ll be a full-looking waning gibbous moon,” EarthSky notes. “No matter. From almost everywhere worldwide, the moon will appear plenty full to the eye on the night of July 19-20.”

In South Florida, chances of rain tonight are about 30 percent, but it’s expected to be spotty and there should still be a good chance to get a peak at the moon.

While you’re looking up, don’t forget to stay alert for the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, which will be ongoing through the rest of the month.

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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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Elusive green flash captured in Florida, see one for yourself

More myth than reality, the elusive green flash that can supposedly be seen after the sun sets was captured by Florida resident Tim Trogdon.

The green flash, also called green rays, occur because of how the atmosphere causes the sunlight to separate into different colors as the sun goes down, according to Wikipedia. 

While there’s no special viewing technology needed to see the green flash, they are more likely to be visible in stable, clear air, the moment after the sun goes down.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Taylor Trogdon, a senior scientist with the National Hurricane Center, posted his father’s photo on Twitter. The picture was taken in Marco Island.

EarthSky.org says to see the green flash it’s best not to look at the sun until it is nearly entirely below the horizon.

“If you do, you will dazzle (or damage) your eyes and ruin your green flash chances for that day,” EarthSky notes.

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