The unofficial close to summer is upon us, which naturally means children going back to school and one last dash for a beach or other vacation. The one good thing so far this summer season, very little tropical activity. I say that slightly tongue in cheek. As devastating as they can be, we actually need those tropical systems to help provide us with the precipitation we typically need throughout the year. Fortunately, we are around two inches above normal for the Gainesville area and one inch above for Jacksonville. This numbers could turn around quickly if we get into a drought pattern, so maintaining a surplus is certainly important. However, looking at Labor Day weekend, we should stay away from any tropical activity in our area. High pressure will be the dominant weather pattern which should bring partly cloudy skies and, as is usually the case for summer in Florida, that chance for afternoon thunderstorms. For this weekend, temperatures will stay near normal, which is low 90s for the high and low 70s for the low. According to model data, no organized systems are set to move into the North Florida area until the middle of next week.
Another issue we are having to watch is some river flooding. In particular, the Santa Fe River is under a flood warning in Columbia, Gilchrist and Suwanee counties, as well as the Satilla River in Brantley County. Over towards Tallahassee, the Aucilla River is causing problems in Jefferson, Madison and Taylor counties. The majority of these issues are due to upstream input from the copious amount of rain the Southeast has received over the last couple of months. Other than the usual afternoon storms, this region looks much quieter than in recent weeks, which should help limit the additional rainfall amounts to the rivers. The Santa Fe River is still expected to rise and not crest until the beginning of September, which will put it a couple of feet above flood stage.
Lastly and not least, with the high pressure system sticking around through the weekend, there is the risk of some rip currents along the beaches. They shouldn't be terribly strong, but may be hazardous to inexperienced swimmers. If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you reach an area that you can make it in. Be mindful of your ability and take note of how deep you go.