By Dave Warren

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Often when you hear the term record low you think of a temperature. Perhaps a cold morning following one of those cold fronts we get here in South Florida anytime between December and February.

South Florida was near record lows this past weekend, but it wasn’t the temperature, the moisture in the atmosphere is at or near record lows for this time of year and will be there for the next few days.

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Twice a day the National Weather Service in Miami launches a weather balloon which sends back a variety of weather information. From that data a value called precipitable water is derived. Basically, it’s the depth of water in a column of air if it was all rain. The more moisture in the column, the higher the depth. This time of year, that average depth should be 1.50 inches. It has been as high as 2.31 inches and as low as 0.70”. With the most recent weather balloon launches and likely the next few that precipitable water value is around 0.80 inches. As far as we have recorded here in South Florida the atmosphere has never been much drier than it is right now.

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In addition to the dry air there has been a strong breeze. Low Relative humidity (thanks to the dry air) and the breeze has resulted in a high wildfire risk. The moisture is expected to remain low, but the breeze will not be as strong this week. South Florida is in the midst of wildfire season.

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The moisture is forecast to increase later this week, so a few showers start to work their way into the forecast starting Friday. With the light breeze these will likely develop along the sea breeze and push inland over the Everglades in the afternoon. The 7-day rainfall outlook remains very dry over an area that needs the rain. Not enough to help the wildfire and drought situation.

Dave Warren