More dry weather is on the horizon for December, NOAA says. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)
November was so dry around Florida — from the panhandle all the way down to Miami — that rainfall observers have been giving up on reporting conditions in their area.
“Very dry conditions have prevailed in much of the state this month,” the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network said in a Wednesday email to participants. “When this happens, we see a decrease in the number of daily observations being made and reported.
“I would like to take this opportunity to implore you to enter reports of zero rainfall. Especially during times of drought, it is just as important to know where, when, and for long it has not rained as it is to know of where and when it has rained. Your consistent daily reports, zero or non-zero, go a long way toward fulfilling these needs.”
Only an inch of rain fell in West Palm Beach in November, making it the driest month of 2016, and the driest November since 2012, when 0.75 of an inch fell.
Other November totals included 0.94 of an inch in Miami; 1.04 in Fort Lauderdale; and .90 of an inch in Pompano Beach. No measurable rain was recorded in Naples during the month of November.
Daytona Beach only managed to squeeze out a tenth of an inch; Orlando, 0.06 of an inch; and Vero Beach, 0.68 of an inch. Tampa reported 0.01 of an inch and Fort Myers only had a trace of rain. Gainesville and Jacksonville both posted 0.02 of an inch.
Wednesday also marked the end of the meteorological autumn, and West Palm Beach posted a September-November precipitation deficit of 4.82 inches, despite its brush with Hurricane Matthew in October.
If you enjoyed November, you’ll probably like December. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued its December forecast Wednesday calling for above normal temperatures throughout most of the Florida peninsula and below normal rainfall.
That’s despite forecasts for rain Thursday and Friday as a cold front struggles to push through the area. It should stall in the Florida Straits and then come back up as a warm front the middle of next week, according to the National Weather Service.
So, after a brief return to near-normal temperatures this weekend, highs are expected to drift back up into the low 80s.
And speaking of unusually fall temperatures; Wednesday’s low at Palm Beach International Airport, 75 degrees, tied a record warm low set in 2006, the National Weather Service reported.
DECEMBER OUTLOOK: Normal highs fall from the upper 70s to the mid-70s by the month’s end, with average lows falling into the upper 50s. That’s about as cool as average lows get in South Florida, before they start edging up again in mid- to late-January.
Precipitation averages around 3.5 inches, although more than twice that amount fell last December as the El Niño winter took hold.
The winter solstice occurs on Wednesday, Dec. 21, but daylight will begin to lengthen in the evenings starting next Thursday, Dec. 8. The sun has been setting at 5:27 p.m., but will tick up to 5:28 p.m. on that day.
By New Year’s Eve, the sun is setting a full 10 minutes later at 5:38 p.m. and by Jan. 29, sunset is at 6 p.m.