Florida’s ‘record shattering day’ sees temps hit 90; more heat expected

ECFL records

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

There were more record warm temperatures around Florida on Monday than you can shake a palm frond at. In fact, almost every major city on the state’s East Coast, from Key West up to Jacksonville, posted either a record high temperature or a record warm minimum — or both.

The unprecedented heat extended to interior cities like Orlando and Gainesville, too.

In some cases the temperatures were the warmest ever recorded in February.

A few low 90s appeared in South Florida, including Immokalee in Collier County, which hit 90. Brighton, on the west side of Lake Okeechobee, had the nation’s high Monday with 91.

In all, 22 temperature records were set or tied around the peninsula. A cold front moved into the state Tuesday, bringing some slightly cooler air to North Florida, but Central and South Florida are forecast to continue their near-record or record-setting ways over the next couple of days.

The front is forecast to move back to the north Wednesday as a warm front, and the extended forecast through early next week doesn’t show any break in the heat. Even the West Coast may see some record busting temperatures, forecasters said.

Here’s the record roundup:

  • Gainesville reached 89, shattering the previous record high of 85 set in 1962. It was also the warmest temperature ever recorded in February, beating the old mark of 88 set on February 26, 1971. Gainesville also set a record warm minimum temperature with 67, beating the old mark of 66 set in 1975.
  • The high in Jacksonville was 86, busting a 63-year-old record high of 85 set in 1956.
  • Vero Beach made it to 89, breaking a record set in 2008 of 88. The 89 degree reading tied the warmest temperature ever recorded for the month of February. Vero Beach also set a new record warm minimum with 72, shattering the old record of 69 set in 2008.
  • Fort Pierce matched Vero Beach with 89, 2 degrees warmer than the old record of 87 set in 2008. The low was 72, beating the old record warm minimum of 70 set in 2008.
  • Down the coast, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach all set new record warm lows Monday with 75, 76 and 75, respectively. Miami’s previous record warm low, 73, had been on the books since 1961.
  • Naples‘ low was 73, beating the previous record warm minimum of 71 set in 1995.
  • In the Keys, Marathon’s high of 88 beat the old record of 87 set in 2008, and tied the record for warmest February temperature. the low, an incredible 79 degrees, broke the record for the date, 76 — set just a year ago. It tied the record for the month of February — which was set just a week ago on February 12!
  • Key West tied a record high with 84 and set a record warm low with 77.

Keys temp records

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)


Temperature records set, tied or challenged around the state

Monday forecast SFL

HAVE A NICE WHATEVER: Here’s the forecast for Presidents’ Day … or, as the National Weather Service calls it every year, Washington’s Birthday. Well, it turns out that the day actually is officially called Washington’s Birthday by the federal government, according to the website infoplease.com. “Many Americans believe that this holiday is now called ‘Presidents’ Day,’ in honor of both Presidents Washington and Lincoln, whose birthdays are Feb. 22 and Feb. 12, respectively,” the site notes. The celebration of Washington’s birthday goes back to the days when Washington was still in office, although it wasn’t named a holiday officially until 1885. Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act in 1968, which made Washington’s Birthday the third Monday of February. “Some reformers had wanted to change the name of the holiday as well, to Presidents’ Day, in honor of both Lincoln and Washington, but that proposal was rejected by Congress.” (Image credit: NWS-Miami)


Several high temperature records were set or tied around the Florida peninsula Sunday, while other areas came within a few degrees of tying records.

The high in Gainesville was 86, which beat the old record high of 85 set 91 years ago in 1928.

It was 86 in Sanford, which tied the record high set in 1949, and in the Keys Marathon hit 87, which busted the previous record of 84 set last in 2008.

This is the sixth warm temperature record set or tied this month in Marathon, although it needs to be noted that temperature records in Marathon only go back to 1950.

The high in Orlando was 85, which was 3 degrees off the record high of 88 set in 1944.

It was 85 in Naples, 2 degrees off the record high of 87 set in 1975.

Florida had the nation’s high again Sunday with 88 at Immokalee, Plant City and Winter Haven. The low was 30 below at 30 at Escourt Station, Maine, which is at the northern most point in the state on the Canadian border.

UV index hits ‘very high’ range in South Florida, pollen levels on the rise


The UV index is climbing to dangerous levels in Florida as the sun rises ever higher in the sky. (Image credit: NOAA)

Heck of a weekend for the beach, right? Lots of people are thinking the same thing, which prompted the National Weather Service Sunday to issue a warning about sunburn.

“Don’t forget your sunscreen,” forecasters said. The UV index, which runs from low (0-2) to moderate to high, very high and extreme, is very high in South Florida this weekend. The forecast for Miami was for a UV index of 9; 8 in Tampa.

It’s at a 7 in Jacksonville, which puts it in the high range.

Here’s the way the riskiest categories are described by the NWS:

HIGH 6-7: “Protection against sun damage is needed. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, use sunscreen SPF 30+ and wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants when practical. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.”

VERY HIGH 8-10: “Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade. Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.”

EXTREME: 11-PLUS: “Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade. Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.”

Here’s the other environmental risk as we head toward spring in Florida: The allergy season is already in full swing. Pollen levels were soaring this weekend in Orlando and down the coast into Fort Lauderdale, according to Pollen.com. Orlando was at a 10.4 on Saturday rising to 10.7 on Sunday.

Orlando was at the top of the list of worst cities this weekend for allergy sufferers. Other bad locations were San Antonio, New Orleans, Laredo and Austin.

Pollen levels are near their seasonal peak in East-Central Florida into northern areas of South Florida, and are medium-high in Miami-Dade County.

Florida warm-up continues; researchers weigh hurricane intensification trends

SFL forecast highs

A TASTE OF SPRING: Florida’s long-term forecast can be summed up in one word: Nice! Highs will be  in the 80s everywhere from North-Central Florida on down the peninsula with temperatures edging up into the mid-80s by mid-week in interior areas of South Florida. Ditto for the Tampa area down to Fort Myers. On top of that, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center came out with a revised four-week outlook on Friday calling for above normal temperatures to continue into March over the Florida peninsula. The CPC had been forecasting below average temps for the first half of the month. It will be interesting to see NOAA’s new March forecast, which will be issued on Thursday. Maybe Punxsutawney Phil was right! (Image credits: NOAA/ NWS/ CPC)

WCFL forecast

CFL highs




ALARM BELLS ON HURRICANE INTENSITY: More Atlantic hurricanes are undergoing rapid intensification due to climate change, a new study says. NOAA researchers looked at storms that formed between 1982 and 2009 and found a significant increase in the number of hurricanes that underwent rapid intensification, defined as greater than a 35 mph increase over a 24 hour period.

“The greatest change was seen for the strongest 5 percent of storms, whose 24-hour intensification rates increased by 3 – 4 knots per decade,” said Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters, who reported on the study in a blog post on Wednesday.

He said a separate 2018 study “predicted a dramatic increase in the global incidence of rapid intensification due to global warming, and a 20 percent increase in the number of major hurricanes globally. For the Atlantic, the model projected an increase from three major hurricanes per year in the climate of the late 20th century, to five major hurricanes per year in the climate of the late 21st century.”

The last few years are filled with examples of rapidly intensifying hurricanes. Last year’s Hurricane Michael’s winds increased by 45 mph in the 24 hours before it walloped the Florida panhandle with winds of 155 mph.

A year earlier, examples of storms that intensified rapidly included Harvey and Maria.

Some models are also predicting an increase in the number of Category 5 hurricanes with winds of at least 190 mph by the end of this century.


After intensifying rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael reached peak strength with 155 mph winds before making landfall in the Florida Panhandle on October 10. (Image credit: NASA)

A look at February’s toasty temps; and a historic Valentine’s Day chill

Coldest Florida temps

MOTHER OF ALL ARCTIC OUTBREAKS: Florida has been warm this month, but a cold snap packed a true winter wallop over a century ago during the “Great Arctic Outbreak” of 1899, which occurred on Valentine’s Day. Temperatures plummeted below freezing over the most of the peninsula, with snow as far south as Central Florida. Tallahassee hit an incredible 2 degrees below zero — the coldest temperature ever recorded in Florida. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)


Florida is apparently headed into one of the warmest weeks of the winter after a first half of February that was already significantly above average from Tallahassee to Key West.

While January ended blustery and cool, it looks like February may go into the record books as unusually warm. NOAA will issue its spring forecast next Thursday.

Interior areas of South and Central Florida are forecast to warm into the mid-80s next week as high pressure over the peninsula keeps cold front to the north. Monday’s holiday forecast high in Immokalee, for example, is 87. Orlando’s forecast high on Wednesday is 85.

For the first half of February (through Thursday), temperatures in Florida were running as much as 8.6 degrees above normal. That was the temperature anomaly in Gainesville, which posted two record highs during the first half of the month, a pair of 86-degree readings.

Here are February first-half anomalies for the rest of the state:

Brooksville, plus-7.5 degrees; Tallahassee, plus-7.0; Sarasota, plus-6.6; Jacksonville, plus-6.5; Tampa, plus-6; Naples, plus-5.6; Fort Myers, plus-5.2; Orlando, Melbourne and Daytona Beach, plus 5.1; Key West, plus-4.6; West Palm Beach, plus-4.2; Miami, plus-3.0 and Fort Lauderdale, plus 2.8.

Marathon checked in with a first-half temperature anomaly of plus-6 degrees with four high temperature records. Marathon has had only one day this month in which it failed to reach at least 80 degrees, and that was February 4, when the high was 79.

Temperatures throughout the state are forecast to be well above normal for the remaining two weeks of February. Meteorological spring begins March 1 and astronomical spring begins March 20.


Forecast temperature anomalies through February 28. (Image credits: NOAA/ CPC)

Florida Keys hammered with heavy rain, weekend warm-up in sight

IT’S FINALLY OFFICIAL: A weak El Niño formed last month in the Pacific, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday. The above average water temperatures that indicate an El Niño tend to have an impact on the winter in North America, and the phenomenon generally leads to stormy weather during Florida’s winter.

That may not be the case this year.

El Niño conditions can also suppress tropical storm development in the Atlantic, but forecasters said chances of El Niño lasting beyond spring was 50 percent or less.

“Due to the expected weak strength, widespread or significant global impacts are not anticipated,” the CPC said in its first El Niño Advisory. “However, the impacts often associated with El Niño may occur in some locations during the next few

NOAA’s spring outlook — March through May — will be updated next Thursday February 21.


FL Keys rainfall

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)

More than 2 inches of rain pounded parts of South Florida and the Keys on Wednesday, and with some cool temperatures to boot, there weren’t many selfie moments for the tourist crowd.

A lot of Florida cities didn’t make it to 70 degrees, especially on the West Coast, where Tampa topped out at 64 and Punta Gorda made it to 68. The best Brooksville could do was 62 degrees.

Gainesville was 65 — 21 degrees colder than Tuesday’s record high of 86 degrees. The city had 0.16 of an inch of rain.

The Keys were an exception. The high in Marathon was 80, giving Florida the nation’s high temperature for the sixth day in a row. Not only that, but Marathon reported the heaviest rain in the state — 2.45 inches, a record for the date. That obliterated the previous record for the date of 0.80 inches in 1983.

The high was 78 in Key West, where 0.84 of an inch of rain fell.

Marathon also picked up the most rain in the state — 2.45 inches.

Officially, Fort Lauderdale measured 1.27 inches of rain on Wednesday and Homestead reported an unofficial 1.89 inches. Miami checked in with 0.76 of an inch, Naples 0.71 and West Palm Beach, 0.40.

In Central Florida, Orlando received 0.68 of an inch; Melbourne 1.29 inches; Vero Beach, 0.89 and Fort Pierce, 0.58.

West Coast: Tampa, 0.32; Lakeland, 0.48; Sarasota, 0.11; and Fort Myers, 1.16.

Now comes the big late winter warm-up, with temperatures hitting 80 around most of the state on Friday and the mid-80s by early next week, according to the National Weather Service.


DROUGHT CONDITIONS UNCHANGED: The U.S. Drought Monitor continued to designate coastal South Florida and East-Central Florida as Abnormally Dry with a slice of Moderate Drought (D1) running from Brevard County south into Martin County.

Dryness and drought only exist in southeastern Florida. Several tenths of an inch fell on northern sections of the dry area, and little or none fell on central and southern portions,” NOAA’s Richard Tinker wrote on Thursday. “No substantial changes in conditions and impacts were noted, so the Drought Monitor depiction remained the same as last week.”

Note, however, that although the drought report is released on Thursday, it only covers conditions through Tuesday.

Melbourne posts record high with 88, warmest in nation; temps to rebound after cold front

CFL rainfall

RAINFALL REPORT: More than 3 inches of rain was reported in Central Florida Wednesday as a cold front rolled across the Florida peninsula. The 3-plus inch total was reported in Brevard County while the National Weather Service in Melbourne reported an official 2.22 inches. Across the state, Sanibel Island reported 1.84 inches, according to CoCoRaHS. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Florida temperatures are on a roller coaster ride this week, dipping down into the upper 40s in Central Florida by Thursday morning only to rebound back into the 80s by the weekend.

The quick cold snap was preceded by record heat on Tuesday as Melbourne posted a high of 88, smashing the old record for the date of 85 set just one year ago. That was also the high for the nation — the fifth day in a row that a Florida city had the nation’s high.

Jacksonville set a record high with 84, beating the old record of 83 set in 1965; and Gainesville had a high of 86, beating the old record of 84 set in 1950. It was the second time in the past five days that Gainesville reached 86, a temperature the city doesn’t see on average until March 26.

Down the coast, Fort Pierce tied a record high with 87, matching the mark set in 1994.

In the Keys, Marathon tied a record high with 86. The record was previously set in 1986.

Two record warm minimum temperatures were posted around the state as well:

  • Fort Lauderdale’s low on Tuesday was 74, which beat the old record warm minimum of 73 set on February 12 a year ago.
  • Tuesday’s low in Key West was a balmy 77 degrees, tying the record warm low set a year ago.
  • Orlando and Daytona Beach each missed tying record lows by 1 degree.

After the Wednesday-Thursday cool-down, temperatures should be back near 80 by Friday, and another cold front that approaches the state later in the weekend is expected to be deflected by high pressure over the peninsula.

Of course it’s still winter — meteorological spring starts March 1 and astronomical spring begins on Wednesday, March 20 — but the second half of February can bring some summer-type temperatures around Florida.

Thursday is the earliest 90-degree temperature recorded in Fort Lauderdale (February 14, 1948); in Miami it’s March 2, 2003 and in West Palm Beach it’s February 10 (1949). The first 90-degree day occurred in Naples on March 8, 1974.

In Orlando the first 90 degree high occurred on February 15, 1935; February 24 in Melbourne (92 degrees, set in 1962). Tampa’s first 90-degree day didn’t occur until March 16, 1945.