More record challenging heat was recorded in South Florida during December. (Credit: NWS-Miami)
Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Naples all had their second-warmest December on record, the National Weather Service says, eclipsed only by last December’s surprising heat.
West Palm Beach had its fourth-warmest December, coming in behind 2015, 2013 and 1931.
In Fort Lauderdale and Miami, six of the top 10 warmest Decembers have occurred since 2000; five in Naples and four in West Palm Beach.
Precipitation levels were close to normal in South Florida. The 3.09 inches recorded in West Palm Beach was 0.09 of an inch above average for the month, the first month since May with a rainfall surplus and only the third month of 2016 with a precipitation surplus.
Miami and Fort Lauderdale also ended the month in positive precipitation territory but Naples came up more than an inch short.
In Central Florida, Daytona Beach reported a December rainfall deficit of 1.93 inches; Orlando came in just short of normal; but Melbourne was 1.93 inches below average but Vero Beach finished the month just 0.05 of an inch in the hole.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its January forecast Saturday calling for above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall in Florida.
But cooler weather does seem to be on the way nonetheless, with the first of several cold front due to breeze down the peninsula starting on Thursday. Lows, however, are expected to remain above normal through the weekend.
Normal high temperatures begin crawling up by mid-January as longer days begin taking hold. By Jan. 23, the normal high in Miami is back up to 77 and the normal low ticks up to 61 on Jan. 31.
Sunrise in West Palm Beach Sunday was 7:09 a.m. with sunset at 5:39 p.m. By Jan. 28, the sun will set at 6 p.m.
January is the only month of the year that has never had an official 90-degree high in South Florida. January temperatures have topped out as high as 88 in January.