Welcome to autumn in Central Florida! We don’t have falling leaves, but we do have falling humidity, breezy days, and cooler nights. Plus: is this the end of rainy season? It looks that way…
The last week of summer at Walt Disney World brought some definite transitional weather. We went into the weekend half-expecting a tropical storm, but the depression that became Hurricane Humberto just threw some windy days and passing storms our way before heading out to sea. It was hot and dry as Humberto drew away, taking its moisture with it. Then, something crazy happened.
We had a mini-cold front!
With dry air dropping our humidity into the 50% range (that’s desert-like by Florida standards) and strong onshore breezes from the Atlantic, we were still experiencing some rain showers but in between, fantastic cool temperatures in the—let me check my notes—high 80s. Why does 87 degrees sound so deliciously chilly in Central Florida? You might think we’re crazy, but it was such a break after the hundred-degree heat index of just the day before, locals were breaking out their spirit jerseys.
The evenings are even better. With the decided drop in humidity and the lengthening nights, overnight temps that were previously hovering around 80 degrees have suddenly dropped down to the low 70s or even high 60s. Now that’s worth taking the hoodie out of the closet!
This Week’s Weather at Walt Disney World
Hello fall, goodbye rainy season. Humberto slurped up the remaining efforts of the rainy season. You might recall that if the storm had not developed and had just drifted across Florida as a tropical wave as earlier forecasted, the rainy season would have reignited for a few more weeks. Without that influx of tropical moisture, and the subsidence left behind by the departing cyclone, the wet cycle has simply stalled out.
If this is truly the end of the rainy season, it’s ducked out a few weeks ahead of schedule. This does mean the sun will be strong for the rest of the week. We’re still looking at daily temperatures around 90 degrees, give or take a few degrees each day. We should keep an onshore flow from the Atlantic which helps the sea breeze reach us and cool us a little each day. Lows will dip into the 70s each night. With a very dry airmass in place over Florida, the humidity will continue to remain below our summer’s usual muggy 65-75% range. It’s just going to feel better out there, even if the sun is quite hot.
So if you’re thinking of pool time, hitting the water parks, or staying out late for a wander around the parks and resorts: this is such a good week for all of those pursuits! No lightning, no thunder, no tropical downpours, no soaring humidity: just sunshine and a breeze.
The tropical Atlantic and Caribbean are still pretty busy. Although there are no immediate threats to Florida, there are several areas of interest which might bear watching closer to the end of the week, and into the last week of September. In the Atlantic, just north of Puerto Rico, you’ll see Tropical Storm Jerry. This storm is going to recurve to the east and may affect Bermuda on its way across the open ocean, but is not a threat to Florida.
There’s an area of disturbed weather just east of the Windward Islands which is expected to develop into a tropical depression in the early part of the week. It will bring some heavy rain and strong winds to the Caribbean islands this week and might be something to watch for the southeastern United States next week. Hurricane hunter aircraft have already been dispatched to find out what’s going on in this disturbance’s core. They did not find a well-defined center of circulation, but conditions are still favorable for development. The National Hurricane Center gives this cluster of storms a 50% chance of development in the next 48 hours and 60% in the next five days.
Much, much farther away, there’s a tropical wave just off the coast of Africa. Conditions are ripe for development around this wave, so it is expected to develop during the upcoming week while it’s still out over open sea, moving west towards the Caribbean. This disturbance has a 50% chance of development in the next 48 hours and 90% in the next five days.
October in Central Florida
Wondering what you have to look forward to in October? This is the first season with the chance of significant drops in temperature. Most days will have highs in the upper 80s to 90 degrees, with a breeze and light humidity. A cold front can bring heavy rain for a few hours followed by a gusty, cold day with temperatures as low as the 50s.
Orlando’s record high for October is 98 degrees; the record low is 38 degrees. So you can really see how dramatic a cold front can be!
Last year’s highest temperature was 92, and it was recorded mid-month. The lowest temperature was 51, and it was recorded at the end of the month.
At the airport, there were just five days with thunderstorms reported in October 2018 — but there were twelve days with light rain.
Packing for a trip to Florida in October is an exercise in patience: wait until the last minute for the best weather forecast. (Otherwise, you’re going to need to pack everything from sweaters to shorts.) Chances are anyone from a northern climate will be fine in shorts and a light jacket, but you’re going to see Floridians bundled up in everything we’ve got if the temperature dips below 60 degrees!