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Over the past few days, a lot of people have been asking, “Where’s the sun?” “Why is it so grey and gloomy?” and “When did I move to Seattle?”
Everyone is noticing that the weather pattern we currently have in Southwest Florida is not very typical of the summer rainy season, where there is sunshine in the morning, puffy clouds at midday and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening.
There is a meteorological explanation for why there is such wacky weather in Southwest Florida.
There has been a “trough” over Florida much of this week, including Wednesday. In meteorology, a trough is a lowering of the height of the atmosphere, which makes the atmosphere more unstable, allowing for lots of clouds, showers and thunderstorms to form.
Look at the picture at the top of the page, in the red circled area over Florida. Look for “588.” That number (and the line it sits on) is the height of the atmosphere at the mid-levels, measured in decameters.
In this case, the height of the atmosphere over Florida is 588 decameters. When you see the “588 line” move north, the atmosphere rises and stabilizes. When it moves south, the atmosphere lowers and destabilizes.
Usually in the summer, our mid-level atmospheric heights run in the low to sometimes mid 590s. Couple the fairly unstable atmosphere with an onshore, or westerly wind at ground level, you have the ingredients in the pot to cook up a fairly rainy pattern, with rain possible at just about any point during the day.
The graphic on the left side of the page is the forecast height of the atmosphere for Friday afternoon.
Look for the “588 line,” circled in red once again. Notice how it has moved north. That means our atmosphere will stabilize a bit heading into the weekend.
This will translate into lower rain chances, more sunshine and hotter afternoon high temperatures. Plus, at the ground our wind will try to turn back to its normal easterly direction.
It’s not going to have too much success at being a strong easterly wind, but it’ll be there enough that we should not see morning rain showers on Friday, Saturday and maybe even Sunday.
We’ll see some sunshine instead.
There will be the normal widely scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms those days. With more sun & less rain, we’ll have no problem getting into the mid 90s by the upcoming weekend.
By early next week, we get the trough to dig back into Florida, so we’ll be back to getting some rain in the morning and afternoon, but nothing like Wednesday was.