The overall weather pattern across southwest Florida has remained cool and dry throughout the month. In fact, yesterday was the first day during March in which the daily average temperature was above average in the Naples area!
Even the rainfall (Fig. 1) yesterday and overnight was fairly light (well-below half an inch) in most places (Fig. 2). Page Field in Fort Myers, for example, netted only two-tenths of an inch. Naples Airport reported just under half an inch. Only at locations south of Lake Okeechobee were totals on the order of an inch or more.
These rainfall amounts can, at best, only put a damper of the dry conditions affecting the region.
Early this Tuesday morning, nearly all of the precipitation was located well south of Alligator Alley and moving from west to east (Fig. 3).
The upper-level weather system responsible for the rainfall was separate and distinct from a cold front that was marching across the southern tier of tier of states (Fig. 4). Even this morning, while a small-scale high-pressure system dominates the weather across Florida, that cold front is just showing up in the far western panhandle region (Fig. 5). According to National Weather Service forecasts (and based on the upper level wind pattern across the region), it will take until late Wednesday afternoon for the front to clear our area (Fig. 6). Until then, southwest Florida runs the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms, especially during daylight hours.
Then, look for dry and slightly cooler than average weather, for a day or so, before temperatures warm and humidity returns. Over the upcoming weekend, a significant upper-level storm system is expected to push across the southeast U.S. (Fig. 7). This system (north of Hawaii this morning) could bring heavy thunderstorms to parts of the Florida peninsula before heading out into the Atlantic. In its wake, an unseasonably chilly Canadian air mass will drive southward covering much of the eastern three-fourths of the Nation next week. Only southwestern California should be spared the brunt of this chill, thanks to downslope, warming, Santa Ana winds.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil