WFO Miami WCM Robert Molleda presents south Florida Dry Season outlook to reporters (Photo: Dennis Feltgen,NHC)
(Oct. 22, 2012) - Working in conjunction with the South Florida Water Management District, the National weather Service forecast office in Miami presented its 2012-2013 dry season outlook, Oct. 19.
"While the 2012 rainy season brought record rainfall to parts of south Florida, a weak El Niño event could increase the chances of severe weather and above-normal rainfall in the coming months," said Miami Warning Coordination Meteorologist Robert Molleda. "Right now, the potential effects of an upcoming El Niño are highly uncertain."
Looking back on the rainy season from May 1 through Oct. 15, Miami recorded 67.65 inches of rain, the second highest on record for that period. The Redland also came in at second highest with 63.79 inches; West Palm Beach third highest with 58.12 inches; and Fort Lauderdale had 55.11 inches for the ninth highest on record for the period.
Miami also recorded 96.50 inches since January 1, which was the highest amount on record for that period.
Forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center say a wavering El Niño, which was expected to have developed by now, makes this year's winter outlook less certain than previous years.
"This is one of the most challenging outlooks we've produced in recent years because El Niño decided not to show up as expected," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "In fact, it stalled out last month, leaving neutral conditions in place in the tropical Pacific."
For now, that leaves the south Florida outlook with expected near normal precipitation for the early winter followed by the possibility of a drier than normal late winter and spring of 2013 - if El Niño is total gone by February or March. That, in turn, could lead to the potential of an enhanced wildfire season in the spring.