ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — If you have been watching over the last few days, you may have heard us use the phrase “Reverse Summer Pattern” to describe our pattern this week.
Well, what does that mean?
It specifically refers to the timing of our daily showers and storms. In a “normal” pattern, we typically have some east component to our wind. Often both and the surface and aloft.
This is usually due to the position of a persistent summer high pressure area. Usually this covers much of the Atlantic and is in a position to our northeast that allows an east or southeast wind to be the prevailing wind flow. Under that pattern, here on the West Coast of Florida, we begin the day with sunshine. As things heat up, the sea breeze forms and moves inland just a few miles. With the normal east or southeast wind, and deep moisture in place, scattered showers begin in the morning on the east coast of the state and then move westward into our area. Those showers get enhanced by the late afternoon in our area after we have heated up and the sea breeze front acts to provide extra lift in the atmosphere.
So, what is going on this week?
High pressure has shifted to the south and a trough in the upper atmosphere is over the Eastern United States. This sets us up with a fairly well established west or southwest wind pattern. So, the result is opposite of the “normal’ pattern.
With the west wind, we get the showers in the Gulf in the morning to move onshore. Then they march steadily across the state and become enhanced on the East Coast with the East Coast Sea breeze. Sometimes, the east coast sea breeze front can move far enough inland that in Polk County, we can get some more intense storms with this pattern.
In this case this week, the upper pattern is blocked so the upper level feature keeping us in the west wind pattern is stuck. We won’t go back to a normal east wind pattern until things can move along. At this point, that looks like it won’t occur until early next week. So, enjoy the morning showers and your outdoor beach plans look good each day, for now, at the beach and on the water.