It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s storming cats and dogs. It must be… late October? BOO! Halloween week at Walt Disney World is extra-spooky this year, with plenty of dark and stormy nights to come.
Last week we had one fabulous day of cool weather — well, one and a half when you count the evening before it. Temperatures dropped into the upper 60s overnight, and we had a fresh, pretty fall day with a high in the low 80s.
Then, the summer-like weather returned, and it’s been with us ever since.
Truly odd for a year when the rainy season ended a solid six weeks early, but we are in the midst of a run of hot days, stormy afternoons, and lingering showers which stick around well into the night. Temperature records have been falling — on Friday, a record warm minimum temperature was set at Orlando International Airport. The low temperature that day? A lovely 75 degrees. It’s a full two degrees higher than the previous record warm minimum.
The heavy downpours and scattered showers continued right through Saturday, and this pattern is predicted to continue through the upcoming week. A few weeks ago, long-range models were hopeful about a strong cold front with actual COLD temperatures around Halloween, but that thinking has since been abandoned. It’s warm for the foreseeable future.
This week in Walt Disney World Weather
A deep ridge of high pressure is stalled off the east coast of Florida, and that’s keeping that steady onshore flow of Atlantic moisture in place, sending us humid air and frequent showers. On Sunday night, a cold front will stall over north Florida, and the interaction with that ridge will continue to pull tropical moisture up from the Caribbean. We’ll stay hot and humid with this weather combo. The one advantage? Lightning will be an isolated occurrence. We’re looking at mostly rain showers, not storms.
The ongoing tropical weather pattern will probably not be disrupted by a predicted cold front late in the week, as it doesn’t look like the system will be strong enough to make it all the way to Central Florida. The high pressure ridge that is sitting off the Florida coast is going to sit stubbornly, forcing troughs moving along the jet stream to just go around it, and leaving us with a constant influx of moist, Caribbean air.
Temperatures will run well above average all week, with highs in the upper 80s and lows in the low to mid 70s overnight. Expect most showers and the occasional thunderstorm to occur in the afternoon, although showers are possible all day. The best chance for rain will be Sunday through Wednesday. Thursday onward shows a slight drying trend, with calmer winds.
Tropical Weather Update
While this weekend we saw some enhanced rainfall from the short-lived Tropical Storm Olga, the bulk of that weather system was carried north by a cold front. There are several robust tropical waves in the central Atlantic and Caribbean Sea right now. Also, far from North America, Tropical Storm Pablo is tracking northeast across the Atlantic near the Azores and is going to figure in European weather forecasts, but not the U.S.
No new tropical storm development is expected over the next five days. Of course, we heard that last week, too. Then we got Tropical Storm Olga. Where did that come from?
Last week the National Weather Service very comfortably let us know there would be no tropical cyclone development “over the next five days,” and then hello, a quick spin-up in the Gulf of Mexico turned into a big rain/tornado event for the Gulf states, plus some additional tropical moisture for our already damp state.
Olga transitioned into a “post-tropical” storm almost immediately meaning that it lost its tropical characteristics — a warm center of circulation in this case — by merging with a cold front sweeping through Texas and Louisiana at the time.
Late October Tropics
The rapid spin-up and intensification of a Gulf of Mexico storm are pretty typical for late hurricane season, when we have passed the prime time for Cape Verde storms which traverse across the Atlantic. In late October of 2005, Walt Disney World was among the areas affected by Hurricane Wilma, still the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Wilma formed near Jamaica, wandered through the Caribbean and the Yucatan Peninsula, then intensified rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico as it zipped northeast towards Florida.
Hurricane Wilma actually closed the theme parks, which a lot of people tend to forget when they’re citing all the events which have closed Disney World parks. The parks and resort areas remained closed until afternoon on October 24, 2005 — and then Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Downtown Disney opened for the afternoon and evening.
And if you were here, you might remember that a ferociously strong cold front followed Wilma, and that evening was all gusty winds, dropping temperatures, and long lines at World of Disney as cold guests tried to buy sweatshirts and hoodies. Yes… I was there! #IsurvivedWilmaAtWOD
October at Walt Disney World… basically, anything can happen. We’re still waiting for our first solid cold front, and we’re still not ready to wave goodbye to tropical storms and hurricanes. For the next week, at least, you can expect a little extra taste of summer in your weather forecast.