© 2022 | WUWF Public Media
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
850 474-2787
NPR for Florida's Great Northwest
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

NWFL Under A Heatwave — Of Sorts

Alan Diaz
Franco Ferrari, of Italy, lies on an air beach lounge on the sand as he enjoys a day at the beach, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, in the South Pointe area of Miami Beach, Fla. National Weather Service Meteorologist David Sharp says the temperature in the Orlando area should hit about 94 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday and Saturday. But the actual "feels like" temperature will be more in the range of 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the weekend. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Portions of the Southeast are being scorched by unseasonable heat over the next few days – including Northwest Florida and south Alabama.

Two weeks ago, lower temperatures and windy conditions in the Panhandle felt more like October than May – and now Mother Nature is bypassing spring to offer a preview of midsummer, with daytime highs at or above the 90 degree mark.

“There are signs that the heatwave might subside some this weekend, the [Memorial Day] holiday weekend heading into early next week,” said Jeff Huffman with F-PREN – the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. “Mostly because we will finally see – I think – the beginnings of our rainy season.”

Huffman contends parts of the Southeast could stay hot right through the end of the workweek.

“It’s going to be a gradual process; I don’t see a weather system even coming in to dramatically, abruptly, change the weather,” said Huffman. “But temperatures will come back down closer to normal this weekend, and afternoon showers and thunderstorms will become a little more numerous. I don’t think it’s going to be a wash-up by any stretch of the imagination, but those pop-ups are going to start to occur, I think Saturday or Sunday.”

Predictions are that more than 70 daily heat records could be set this week as a high-pressure system dominates the eastern half of the country. One of the main culprits for the early hot weather, says Huffman, can be found in the Pacific Ocean.

“We have a La Nina pattern in the Pacific, which tends to correlate to amplification of the Jet Stream,” Huffman said. “Which leads to extreme weather in different parts of the country. That’s what’s led to this prolonged period of dry weather. And in most cases in Florida, that’s delayed the onset of the rainy season. I think conditions will return closer to normal next week.”

The effects of La Nina vary from region to region, says Huffman.

“While we have been enduring a bit of a heat wave with abnormally dry conditions, our friends just to the west in Texas and Louisiana have seen record amounts of rainfall the last two weeks.”

While not a full-blown heat wave – no triple-digit readings are expected – Huffman says one saving grace of late has been the lower humidity. But, the prolonged heat can still prove to be a danger to certain residents, such as seniors and those with chronic ailments.

“But as we know, as the summer weeks approach, the heat and the humidity are both going to be a problem,” said FPREN’s Jeff Huffman. Just remember to stay hydrated if you have to work outside; maybe it’s a good time to get the air conditioners checked, get them serviced. Of course, this is not that unusual of weather for Florida, but it has been a little bit taxing, especially those of us who don’t want the summer heat to come on just yet [but] it’s certainly here.”

Florida — especially our neck of the woods — could be getting a reprieve from the brunt of the heat wave. Some parts of Georgia and the Carolinas could hit the century mark, according to the National Weather Service.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.