As a weak low-pressure passed across north Florida and moved out into the Atlantic, drier air moved into southwest Florida on Friday (Sept. 27, 2013). Dew points (a measure of the absolute humidity of the air) dropped into the lower 70’s from readings in the mid and upper 70’s on Thursday (Sept. 26, 2013). In fact, at one observation time on Thursday, Naples Municipal Airport (call letters APF) reported a dew point of 81 degrees and an associated relative humidity of 94 percent.
Even though temperatures were about the same on Thursday and Friday, it definitely felt nicer outdoors on Friday. That’s because dew point (and humidity), as well as temperature, drives how our bodies perceive the air around us. Dew points near 60 are “comfortable” to most people; dew points near 70 suggest more discomfort; a dew point near 80 is downright oppressive, for most.
Through a cursory examination of weather observations at Naples Airport, the summer of 2013 has been more humid (in an absolute sense) than 2012. Related to this, of course, have been the copious rains that have deluged our area this year.
If you enjoyed the nicer weather yesterday, then keep it implanted in your memory banks. Dew points have already begun their slow climb. During the next few days, dew points will again remain in the 70’s and more clouds and showery weather will return to Southwest Florida.
Yesterday, for example, Volusia County (to the north of the Kennedy Space Center in northeast Florida) logged between one and nearly two and a half inches of rain with strong northeasterly winds. A few light showers spotted the landscape just to the north of Collier last evening.
This morning, showers in the eastern Gulf of Mexico were some one hundred miles further to the north than where they were yesterday morning (Fig. 1). These mark the boundary between relatively drier air currently across Florida and deeper tropical moisture to the south. There were also some showers this morning just offshore from Miami-Dade County.
This re-established humid weather pattern will persist for the remainder of the week, albeit with much lesser precipitation intensity than we’ve experienced recently. Shower and thunderstorm activity will resume a more expected pattern both in terms of location and timing. Everything will hinge on where the west coast sea breeze sets up and how strong its convergence zone becomes.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil