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Soggy Weather May Usher in Caribbean Storm Season

Tropical Season Weather Updates Still Worth Monitoring

An early-autumn bout of very soggy weather has left the Lake Wales Ridge area with as much as nine inches of rain in some locations, raising lake levels and saturating marshes. Now long-range models are beginning to depict a weather pattern favorable to tropical storm development in the western Caribbean.

The wet weather has generally been welcomed across central Florida after a drier-than-normal year, and the various models are in agreement that the pattern will remain in place at least until the end of this week. The cooler temperatures that normally mark the seasonal start of autumn are elusive so far, and aren't expected to arrive before the second week of October at the earliest.

The July through September peak of the Hurricane season favors the development of storms near the Canary Islands near western Africa. At this point in the season the focus of forecasters shifts to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Storms are often spawned in those areas by the remains of early-season cold fronts lingering over the warm waters.

According to the Global Forecast System, or GFS, and the European Consensus Model Weather Forecast European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, or ECMWF, persistent low pressure is predicted over the western Caribbean, a prime area for the development of the depressions that sometimes grow into tropical storms and hurricanes.

The recent rains, and those still expected, are the result of a sharp dip in the jet stream and persistent low pressure in the upper atmosphere. Moist air drawn northward by those elements is also lifted, causing it to shed its burden of water. That same aggressive jet stream, though, may turn out to be our defender, as it is capable of shunting developing storms off to the east.


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