Aren’t sure how to describe the local weather to friends and relatives facing a steady stream of cold out of state? Depends on what time or what day they’re asking.
Last month, Palm Beach County was exceptionally warm, the fourth-warmest November on record, with average high temperatures of 83 degrees … except when it was pretty darn cold – 47 degrees on Thanksgiving Day, for example.
The county was rather dry — and “abnormally dry” near Lake Okeechobee. But on Sunday, 2.49 inches fell at the Palm Beach International Airport, breaking a record set in 1895.
It was enough to warrant urban flood warnings on the coast, but the downpour failed to reach much farther than 20-Mile Bend.
Thus, the coastal showers did little to influence water levels at the lake, which Monday hit 14.65 feet, slightly more than 2 inches below average for this time of year.
According to the National Weather Service’s review of November, gauging how wet it was in South Florida depended on where you cared to measure.
Miami-Dade and Broward counties saw one of the wettest Novembers on record, including 10 inches of rain in seven days from Kendall to Fort Lauderdale.
Yet parts of the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf Coast failed to reach average rainfall — not even 2 inches of rain for the entire month in spots, according to the weather service’s review of the month, issued Monday.
The weekend’s rains did put a slight dent in Palm Beach County’s fire-danger index, dropping it to 502 instead of 530 to 550 out of 800, said Capt. Albert Borroto, spokesman for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. But that isn’t considered a “significant” improvement, he said.
The combination of some very wet days on the coast with more parched periods inland resulted in a countywide rain total of 3.82 inches, not far from the 4.15 inch that is typical, according to the South Florida Water Management District.
“Recent rainfall helped east coast water levels stabilize in some areas from the rapid decline experienced in October,” Susan Sylvester, the district’s water control operations bureau chief, said in a prepared statement. “Water managers continue working to balance storage for the dry season with flood control during times of heavy rainfall.”
What was driving the spots of heavy rain?
“A series of weak and stalled fronts, along with a moist northeast-to-east wind off the warm Atlantic,” said Robert Molleda, the weather service’s warning coordination meteorologist.
But that burst Sunday was a bit of an oddity — not unheard of, but not common either, said Geoff Shaughnessy, a meteorologist with the water management district.
“You have to have everything in the atmosphere going right,” Shaughnessy said. It was fueled in part by the Gulf Stream, which provides both moist air to the east over the Atlantic and energy to interact with external factors, including the jet stream above.
“We have a hard time telling where they’re going to be. They’re pretty small and different from rains that run in front of a cold front,” Shaughnessy said of unusually localized systems like the one that hugged the coast Sunday.
Such rains are not expected in the next 10 days, though. Instead, the forecast calls for increasingly drier and warmer weather.
Tuesday morning will be the coldest, with temperatures forecast in the mid-50s and warming to the upper 70s. Wednesday morning is forecast to be several degrees warmer — in the low 60s. Afternoon temperatures are due to break the 80-degree mark in West Palm Beach and hover around that point into the weekend.
Palm Beach County marks 4th warmest November on record
* Average temperature for November: 76.4 degrees (3.6 degrees warmer than average)
* Typical average temperature for November: 72.8 degrees.
* Average high temperature: 83 degrees.
* Average low: 70 degrees.
* Hottest reading of month: 89 degrees on Nov. 2.
* Coolest reading: 47 degrees on Nov. 28.
Source: The National Weather Service in Miami