Why it feels like 102 degrees in West Palm Beach

National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said the amount of moisture in the air is unusual today, even for humidity-laden South Florida in June.

A deep tropical plume extending into the western Pacific has upped the available moisture in the air into the 90th percentile for this time of year, pushing dew points into the mid-70s.

Dew points are a measure of water vapor in the air. When dew points hit 100, it usually means its raining.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

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Meteorologists warned Friday of heat indexes – feels like temperatures – hitting up to 103 degrees in some areas of South Florida. At 12:30 p.m. Weather Underground had West Palm Beach reading a heat index of 102 degrees.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

“There is definitely plenty of  moisture to work with today,” forecasters wrote in their morning discussion.

The heat index takes into account the true temperature and the relative humidity, which is the amount of moisture in the air compared to the maximum amount the air can hold before saturation.

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It feels hotter when it’s humid because the body’s cooling mechanism — sweat — doesn’t evaporate as quickly as when it’s drier.

Florida is the most humid state in the country, according to the Florida Climate Center at Florida State University. The stickiness is because of the warm waters of the Gulf and Atlantic, plus having a near tropical and tropical climate.

Can beach sand burn your feet? 

But Tropical Storm Colin can also be partly blamed for the humidity today. While it didn’t bring much bluster to South Florida earlier this week, it’s tropical moisture is lingering.

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AccuWeather is warning of drenching thunderstorms today with rainfall that could cause flooding.

“The region is receiving more downpours in the wake of Colin, compared to when the system passed across the northern part of the peninsula Monday,” AccuWeather wrote.

Miami meteorologists are also concerned about the possibility of waterspouts.

One was spotted over Boca Raton during Thursday’s storms.

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Tropical Storm Colin is kaput

Tropical Storm Colin has been declared a post tropical cyclone but is still sending gusty winds and rains to the Outer Banks.

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National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm has become so elongated and ill defined that it can no longer be considered a tropical cyclone.

Still, strong winds of up to 60 mph are still being measured on the storm’s western edge, which is carrying most of the deep thunderstorms.

Rains are also trailing over Central Florida from Colin’s leftovers, but the system is speeding out to sea at 36 mph.

National Weather Service forecasters in Miami are expecting showers and thunderstorms to develop this afternoon because of a blanket of deep tropical moisture draped over South Florida.

The storms shouldn’t be severe, but could bring heavy rain and wind gusts up to 50 mph.

Rain chances are 60 percent today and tonight. They increase to 70 percent on Wednesday.

Tropical storm warnings have been discontinued along the North Carolina coast south of Cape Lookout, but is still in effect from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet.

A storm is considered tropical if it has the following three characteristics: a warm core, a closed circulation and organized thunderstorm activity.

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Previous story: After dumping more than six inches of rain in pockets throughout Florida on Monday, Tropical Storm Colin finally made landfall after midnight near Dekle Beach in Taylor County, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Hurricane Center is being less specific, saying the center moved into the Big Bend region of Florida around midnight. Because all of the wind and rain was well to the east of the center, there were likely few impacts at landfall.

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The sprawling lopsided storm has since moved off the coast of Georgia and into the Atlantic.

As of 5 a.m., the cyclone still had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, and was about 90 miles south southwest of Charleston, S.C. moving northeast at a speedy 31 mph.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Altamaha Sound, Georgia to Oregon Inlet, N.C.

Read: Tropical Storm Colin harasses Florida with rain and wind. 

While Colin could strengthen some in the next 24 hours, it is expected to lose its tropical cyclone characteristics by tonight.

Tropical storm force winds extend out up to 230 miles, mostly to the southeast where the strongest thunderstorms have been located. Central pressure is estimated at 1002 mb.

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While wind gusts as high as 63 mph were recorded in Jacksonville, meteorologists in that National Weather Service office have not confirmed a tornado. Forecasters will be out today investigating the damage.

More rain across Central Florida is expected from Colin today, but Miami National Weather Service forecasters said the Colin’s trailing storms stretch back into Cuba and the northwest Caribbean.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

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Gusty winds of up to 40 mph are expected in South Florida today.

Afternoon rain is also forecast to be more widespread than Monday.

But forecasters said this morning that the heavy downpours they expected to see from Colin’s tail all week are no longer so certain.

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“However, all solutions still point to an overall unsettled pattern with scattered to numerous showers and storms each day,” they wrote in this morning’s forecast discussion.

Five-day rain totals could reach four inches in North Palm Beach County with the potential of street flooding in areas with poor drainage and where showers concentrate for long periods.

Pockets of Florida got more than six inches of rain from Colin, while areas of Palm Beach County remained mostly dry.

 

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Florida millennials less concerned about hurricanes than everyone else

A new Mason-Dixon poll found that a vast majority of Floridians feel that their luck is running out when it comes to hurricanes.

About 67 percent of Floridians polled said they feel it is at least somewhat likely that a hurricane will hit this season.

Last year, only 34 percent felt that way.

But millennials, people age 18-34, are less concerned about storms with 41 percent saying it is at least somewhat likely that a storm will occur this year.

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The poll, which quizzed 625 registered Florida voters, was taken between May 31 and June 2 before Tropical Storm Colin.

When asked how likely people thought it was that a hurricane would make landfall in Florida this season, just 6 percent of millennials said it was “very likely.” That increased to 24 percent in people between 50 and 63 years old.

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Hurricane Joaquin on Sept. 30, 2016 at 11:45 a.m. Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
Hurricane Joaquin on Sept. 30, 2016 at 11:45 a.m. Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Tornadoes possible in Palm Beach County, special forecast warns

Update 4:57 p.m. A significant weather advisory has been issued for inland and coastal Palm Beach County.

The advisory is in effect until 5:45 p.m.

National Weather Service forecasters are watching a line of strong thunderstorms eight  miles east of Lion Country Safari moving northeast.

The storms are capable of up to 55 mph winds. At 4:52 p.m., a gust of 53 mph was measured at a Belle Glade fire station, according to the NWS.

Areas affected include West Palm Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Belle Glade, Palm Beach, Pahokee, Tequesta, Juno Beach, Royal Palm Beach and North Palm Beach.

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Update 4:45 p.m.: The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said parts of Central and South Florida have the potential to experience tornadoes this afternoon.

A special forecast was issued warning of the severe weather threat, which includes Palm Beach County.

Thunderstorms formed at the front of Tropical Storm Colin are expected to maintain strength because of South Florida’s high temperatures and very moist air.

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Previous story: The National Weather Service has issued a significant weather advisory for western Palm Beach County.

Miami forecasters said they are tracking a line of thunderstorms that could produce funnel clouds tracking northwest toward Lake Okeechobee.

These storms are part of Tropical Storm Colin.

Areas affected include Belle Glade, Clewiston, Pahokee, South Bay, Labelle and Canal Point.

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Photos from west coast show Tropical Storm Colin’s impacts

Tropical Storm Colin is already hitting Florida’s west coast.

Tampa International Airport has seen at least 16 delayed flights and at least four cancellations so far today, according to the airport website. In addition, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge was closed as of 11:15 a.m., according to The Bradenton Herald as winds were gusting up to 52 mph at the top of the bridge.

State of Emergency declared for Colin, here’s why

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency this morning with Tropical Storm Colin expected to make a landfall near the Big Bend area of the state this afternoon.

The declaration is an administrative move that allows emergency officials to reallocate resources, money and staff in a more efficient manner to deal with the emergency.

It basically helps cut through bureaucracy that might otherwise get in the way of dealing quickly with a storm.

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At the Governor’s Hurricane Conference last month, the phrase “state of emergency” drew some discussion as whether it is overly alarmist.

Last year, before tropical storm watches or warnings were even issued for Florida during Tropical Storm Erika, Scott declared a state of emergency.

Erika fizzled over Hispaniola before gaining hurricane status.

“The phrase state of emergency piques people’s interest and we need to do a better job on the front end explaining it, what it means,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management spokesman Aaron Gallagher at the conference. “A state of emergency empowers emergency officials to be able to move in a more expeditious manner and marshal resources in a coordinated effort.”

Mike Buresh, chief meteorologist at WJAX-TV in Jacksonville, said during the conference that a state of emergency can easily be misinterpreted.

“When the state of emergency was issued, it might as well been a hurricane warning,” Buresh said about Erika.  “I don’t think it was a bad move, but boy, the interpretation was mind-boggling.”

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray, who attended the conference, agreed.

“At CNN, if you hear ‘state of emergency,’ that’s not going to be at the end of the forecast. That’s, boom, right in front,” she said.

While Erika never reached Florida, it proved deadly elsewhere. In Dominica, 30 people died and 574 people were left homeless, according to a National Hurricane Center report. One person in Haiti was killed in a mudslide.

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.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

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.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

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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.”

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

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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