Today's Paper

With hurricane season wrapping up, drier and cooler air is on the way — and it starts this weekend

If South Florida has seasonal changes, one of the few comes at Thanksgiving — the unofficial line of demarcation between high and low humidity, discomfort and paradise.

Winter, with its plentiful sunshine and highs in the mid-70s, is on our doorstep.


And it begins this weekend, when South Florida can expect good weather including a low risk of rain showers, calmer winds, and a lower risk of rip currents at the beach.

“It should be a pretty nice holiday outside of a brief shower,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Larry Kelly. “Rain chances are pretty low really through the weekend.”


And with just a few days left in hurricane season, there’s no concern about the disturbance in the Atlantic basin.

That’s an encouraging thought considering this year we had a record-setting 30 named storms, 13 hurricanes, and six major hurricanes.

A normal season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

“We are into the dry season now,” Kelly said. “It’s definitely drier, the humidity has begun to drop. We’ve had a couple of fronts push through the area to lower that humidity and bring those dew point temperatures down.

“So, while it was a later start to dry season than the official date [Oct. 16], it does look like we are finally moving into that drier trend for us here in South Florida.”

After the weekend, a cold front should arrive Monday, increasing rain chances to 50% or 60% and dropping temperatures to perhaps the lowest yet of the season. Highs may only make it to the low 70s and lows could fall into the 50s.

And as a bonus for our weather-related fortune, the winter forecast calls for warm, dry conditions, a welcome change from the active rainy season that concluded last month.

The exhausting hurricane season, which saw 12 named storms make landfall in the continental U.S., ends Monday. It’s a season that saw us go deeper into the Greek alphabet than ever — nine letters deep. The next named storm, if there is one, would be Kappa.

It’s also a season that saw the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracking storms almost a month before the season’s start.

South Florida's winter is imminent. Forecasts for Thanksgiving weather call for high temperatures in the low 80s with plenty of sunshine, and that trend only gets better in the coming weeks.
South Florida's winter is imminent. Forecasts for Thanksgiving weather call for high temperatures in the low 80s with plenty of sunshine, and that trend only gets better in the coming weeks. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Hurricane season, which is June 1-Nov. 30, wasted no time getting active with nine named storms from May through July. The first storm, Tropical Storm Arthur, was named May 6.

“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ramped up quickly and broke records across the board,” said acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs.

According to NOAA, we’ve had above-normal seasons for five consecutive years and 18 of the past 26 years.


NOAA attributes the increased activity to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO), which began in 1995, and is expected to last between 25 and 40 years. The warm phase of the AMO produces more frequent storms that last longer and are stronger than normal.

NOAA said Hurricane Sally, for example, brought the highest water levels to the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

As for the system in the Atlantic, there’s little to no danger for South Florida, and there’s little concern it could develop to the point where it becomes a named storm.

“Right now, there’s low chances on those,” Kelly said, later adding, “But obviously, never say never. It is 2020.

“We’ll see if the hurricane center does think they’ll be named, or if there’s another system out there that comes late. Like I said, just because hurricane season ends Nov. 30, we had systems before June 1 this year and it’s possible to have one later. But things are trending downward in the tropics, for sure.”