This Week in Walt Disney World Weather — July 26, 2020

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Welcome to another midsummer week in Central Florida! We just had a yo-yo week, as rain accompanied the slow transit of a tropical wave across the peninsula and then stuck around for its development into a hurricane over the Gulf. After a few days of drying out once Hurricane Hanna moved over Texas, things are about to get back to normal… half-sunny, half-stormy, and all hot! And, is there more tropical weather on the horizon? It’s that time of year…

This week, a low-level boundary ridge is going to swing through the peninsula, helping moisture build and giving that sea breeze plenty to play with as it moves inland each day. Later in the week, the Atlantic ridge sets up over Lake Okeechobee, giving us a southwest flow which means hot mornings and the chance of increased storms over the interior of Central Florida.

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Rain moved through early and kept things sticky all day as future Hurricane Hanna crossed South Florida. Photo: Christina Harrison

This Week’s Weather at Walt Disney World

For the rest of Sunday, expect a healthy coverage of thunderstorms in the area, with boundary collisions between adjacent storms building new areas of heavy rain and lightning through the evening. Storms could stick around until late night.

On Monday, some clouds could accompany the transition of this low pressure boundary, possibly bringing some morning rain. If the clouds stick around through midday, this could inhibit the build of afternoon storms. However, a burst of energy is expected in the evening. Storms that develop should track northeast along the boundary. Late clearing will leave us with a low around 74.

Tuesday, the winds will still be out of the southwest, giving us about a fifty percent chance of afternoon storms which push towards the east coast in the evening. High will be around 93, low 75.

Wednesday through Friday, the Atlantic ridge hangs out in South Florida through Friday, and the late week forecast appears to be similar for each day with mid 90s for highs and high 70s for lows, and about a 50% chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms each day. Some models suggest higher rain chances late in the week and some suggest lower rain chances later in the week, so we’re going down the middle on this one.

For next weekend, it will be a question of whether the Atlantic ridge holds on with its drying action, or if a trough develops off the southeast coast, pulling in deeper moisture. Whether we see extra sunshine or extra storms, expect highs in the mid 90s, typical for late July in Central Florida.

Tropical Weather Outlook

Hurricane Hanna was last week’s surprise. That tropical wave that was just starting to make its way into South Florida last weekend wasn’t on anyone’s charts as a potential tropical cyclone, but here we are on Sunday and she’s still a tropical storm! It just goes to show you what the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico can do now that we’re deep into summertime temperatures.

Will we have any surprises this week? Right now, there’s just one tropical wave worthy of attention, according to the National Hurricane Center. This is way out in the Atlantic right now, about a thousand miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. Remember the Cape Verde Islands — that’s the region off the coast of Africa which typically produces strong storms in August and September.

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This tropical wave has a strong chance of development by Thursday. Courtesy NHC/NOAA

This system has a strong chance of development, with a chance of forming into a tropical depression placed at 60 percent through Tuesday, and 90 percent through Thursday. By Thursday, it should be near the Lesser Antilles, although it’s still too soon to say whether it will affect the Windward or Leeward Islands.

Will this system curve towards the southeastern United States? Long-range model data this morning would indicate yes… but here’s the thing: you shouldn’t worry about long-range model data! Forecast models looking more than three days into the future are highly volatile, and only get less accurate when land masses enter the picture. It will be at best late in the week before we see if ensembles — the collection of many forecasts — line up with reasonable agreement for the three- to five-day forecast anywhere near the U.S.

As we enter the busiest months of the hurricane season, it’s important to remember to wait and not get tied up in long-range forecasts. Preparation doesn’t call for panic, and we’re given a fantastic amount of time to check our travel arrangements, our pantries, and our battery supplies before a storm threatens.

Natalie Reinert

One of those Florida locals who can usually tell you if it's going to rain by the sun angle and the feel of the air, I'm an avid weather fan and a certified weather spotter for the National Weather Service's SkyWarn program. I tweet about Central Florida weather at @WeatheratWDW. As I work for Walt Disney World, please note all of my views are my own, and do not represent the views of The Walt Disney Company. All information shared in my posts comes from publicly available sources.

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