Forecast highs were edging close to 80 Thursday in East-Central Florida. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne)
Florida temperatures have rebounded this week and are again significantly above normal, even though South Florida’s daytime highs in the mid-70s feel comfortable and are par for the course for the middle of January.
Once again, overnight lows are taking center stage. Wednesday morning’s low was 64 in Fort Lauderdale, 67 in Miami and a relatively sultry 68 at Palm Beach International Airport. That West Palm Beach low is 11 degrees above normal for the date, while Wednesday’s high of 76 was 2 degrees above average.
That put the overall Jan. 11 temperature at 7 degrees above average, the ninth day of the month with above normal temperatures.
Wednesday morning’s apparent low at PBIA was 69. Expect this run of balmy January nights to continue well into next week with winds remaining easterly, bringing in warm air from the Atlantic. Water temperatures off Palm Beach are still an impressive 75 degrees and 77 just south of Key Biscayne near Miami Beach.
The long string of warm overnight lows on Florida’s East Coast could be interrupted late next week as a cold front finally marches down the peninsula around Jan. 20, according to long-range forecast models. Although the National Weather Service notes that it’s too soon to assess the potential impact of the front, AccuWeather is predicting low temperatures in the normal range the last week of the month.
DROUGHT IMPROVEMENT: The U.S. Drought Monitor issued its latest analysis of conditions around Florida on Thursday, concluding that Moderate Drought improved in parts of the panhandle. In fact, some areas around Tallahassee are back to normal while Apalachicola on the Gulf Coast went from Moderate Drought to Abnormally Dry.
Most of the Florida peninsula, though, from around Gainesville to Jacksonville south to Collier and Palm Beach counties remains Abnormally Dry. Only a small slice of the southeastern peninsula is in the normal range, from Mainland Monroe County northeast into southeastern Broward County.
Current rainfall deficits: 0.96 of an inch in West Palm Beach; 0.92 of an inch in Miami; 0.75 of an inch in Fort Myers; 0.61 in Vero Beach; 0.53 of an inch in Tampa; 0.31 of an inch in Fort Lauderdale; 0.23 of an inch in Naples; and 0.22 of an inch in Orlando.
KEY WEST CHILL: Today is the 130th anniversary of the coldest temperature on record in Key West — 41 degrees on Jan. 12, 1886. That mark was matched, however, on Jan. 13, 1981. The culprit was a massive 1037 mb high pressure system that settled over the Mississippi River Valley and poured Arctic air over Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Temperature records in Key West date back to 1872. (Credit: NWS-Key West)