The winter holidays are an ideal time for vacationers to head to warmer destinations in Florida, but some plans can be spoiled this year as the effects of El Niño ramp up.
While occasional dry days will prevail, rain events will be on the increase across Florida as the holidays approach and new year gets underway.
Vacationers envisioning spending days soaking up sunshine and lounging on the beach may find themselves making alternate plans for a least a portion of their vacation. The effects of a strong El Niño ramping up will be the culprit behind the turn to stormy weather.
El Niño occurs when ocean water temperatures rise above normal across the central and eastern Pacific, near the Equator.
An El Niño typically leads to more storms targeting Florida since the jet stream and resultant storm track dips southward across the state and pulls in tropical moisture.
Vacationers headed to Daytona Beach, Orlando or Tampa this coming week will fare better than those with plans around the holidays. High pressure will promote a mostly dry week with temperatures rising slightly above normal daily.
Beachgoers at the Atlantic beaches will face the threat of rough surf and rip currents early in the week.
"That is opposed to the Gulf Coast, where the wind flow will be offshore, promoting better beach and boating conditions," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel.
Showers will frequent the Miami area during the upcoming week as moisture from the Atlantic streams in, continuing the theme of wet weather that started the month.
Just five days in, this December is already Miami's second wettest December on record with more than 7 inches of rain as of midday Saturday. December is typically one of Miami's drier months with an average of 2.04 inches.
"In fact, Miami saw its fifth wettest December day on record (since 1911) on Friday," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Ben Noll.
The all-time wettest December record of 9.03 inches from December 1929 is in jeopardy due to the showers during the upcoming week and more rain events to follow as the holidays approach.
All of Florida will see an increase in storminess starting with the second full week of December (Dec. 14-20).
"Through Christmas, it appears that organized storms will aim for the Gulf Coast more than Florida," stated Noll. "Though, a few cold fronts can race over the state, bringing a day of rain, storms and higher winds."
Noll has worse news for vacationers with plans closer to New Year's Day than Christmas.
"As we head into the new year, it appears that Florida will have a better chance for a multi-day period of rain that encompasses much of the state, quite typical of the strongest El Niño events."
With each storm that targets Florida, AccuWeather meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for the severe weather that AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok warned would threaten Florida during this El Niño winter.