Update: Tropical Storm Kate has now officially formed over the Bahamas, NOAA announced in its 9 a.m. update.
As any veteran Miamian will quickly remind you, November is still very much part of hurricane season. Still, by now South Florida is usually basking in regular 70-degree highs and calm seas. But not this year.
As a record-shattering heat wave cooks Florida for a second straight week, a tropical depression has formed over the central Bahamas today. The system is expected to grow into tropical storm strength by tomorrow as it rolls west, though so far meteorologists aren't expecting any Florida impact.
As of 7 a.m. today, Tropical Depression 12 had formed just south of Cat Island in the Bahamas with sustained winds around 35 mph as it ambled northwest around 15 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The central and northern Bahamas are under an official tropical storm warning as the strengthening storm continues heading west. By tomorrow evening, though, forecasters expect the storm to tilt north and out to sea, avoiding Florida's coastline.
As for that heat — you're not imagining that it's off-the-charts for this time of year. Last week, nine Florida cities — from Jacksonville to Key West — reported new heat records.
When it hit 92 degrees in Tampa last Wednesday, it set a record for the latest 90-plus degree day ever in records that date back to 1892. Key West's lows of 81 degrees last Monday and Tuesday were the hottest recorded in November in data that goes back to 1871. Gainesville's 91 degrees last Tuesday broke a Dust Bowl-era heat record.
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This heat wave may well be a freakish meteorological event, but it's happening amid a very clear — and very worrying — warming trend in the Sunshine State. As of September, Miami was on track for its hottest year ever dating back to 1908, when reliable records started being kept. November's sizzling temperatures are sure to keep that annual trend on track.
"In general, the globe has been warming over that period. We're no exception," Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School, said of the September record.