WEATHER BLOG: First Heatwave on the Horizon

Klystron 9 Upper Level Wind Flow graphic, May 17, 2019.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The science of meteorology has come a long way in the past 20 years. We can make much more accurate predictions, but let’s face it, in Florida’s summer pattern, it’s still very difficult to predict the small variations, such as which city will have the heaviest thunderstorms every day.

  • Strong high pressure is likely to develop later this month
  • High pressure is already keeping fronts away from Florida
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We can predict the general number of storms that we will get from day to day and sometimes an overall favorite area because of wind and moisture.

In the end, however, it’s still nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly where each individual storm will crop up. That is what we call “mesoscale” forecasts.

However, large-scale atmospheric characteristics are much easier to predict. This is the part of meteorology where we can really determine in advance what will happen in the future.

We can see large high pressures evolving or moving around the world and large-scale fluctuations in the jet stream. For example, we are able to predict hot and colder patterns on the horizon more than a week later.

This is also the reason why the general forecast for tropical storms has gotten so much better in the past 20 years.

With that in mind, we started noticing a trend about a week ago that was likely to hit strong high pressure in the southeastern US later this month. More and more of our long-term guidance is moving in that direction and it is now becoming a very likely event.

It has actually already started a bit. The past few days have been drier and warmer as high pressure has kept fronts away from Florida.

So what does that mean for our forecast? In general, this means that a hotter pattern is likely. It can also be a continuation of drier conditions with relatively low chances of rain.

But the chances of rain have more to do with local fluctuations in humidity. Based on what we see now, it looks like we will have warmer conditions in the Tampa Bay region from mid to late next week as we enter Memorial Day Weekend.

Many areas will be in the mid 90’s for highlights and some spots will even reach the upper 90’s. So get the pool ready, as you’ll likely be looking for a place to cool off soon.