February temperature shock: 70s in Chicago, near 80 in St. Louis

chicago-temps

Balmy temperature more appropriate for late April remain locked into place this week in Chicago, St. Louis and other Midwestern cities. (Credit: NWS-Chicago)

RECORD SOUTH FLORIDA HEAT: Sunday’s high in West Palm Beach, 88 degrees, broke the maximum temperature record for the date, 87, set in 2012.

It was also 88 in Fort Lauderdale and 86 at Miami International Airport, but 91 at Tamiami Executive Airport in Kendall. The Fort Lauderdale temperature was a degree shy of tying the mark of 89 set in 1926.

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ORIGINAL POST: Mid-February is usually a time for snow drifts and below zero wind chills in places like Chicago, Cleveland and New York. But not this year, as record highs continue across the northern tier of states and more above average temperatures are in sight.

Chicago was 70 on Saturday, which clobbered the old record high of 62 set in 1981. It was 68 in Rockford, Illinois, crushing the 1981 mark of 58 by an incredible 10 degrees.

Chicago is running more than 7 degrees above normal for the month, with an average high of 43 and an average low of 24.

Wednesday’s forecast high for St. Louis: 79, with projected lows in the 50s. It was 75 degrees on Saturday and 71 on Friday. The average high so far in February is 54 with an average low of 32, overall 8.3 degrees above average.

In the East, Thursday’s forecast high in Boston is 58; 65 in New York; 68 in Philadelphia; and 70 in Washington.

It’s already in the 90s in Texas — the nation’s high on Saturday was 94 in Laredo, according to the National Weather Service.

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thursday-forecast-map
Thursday’s forecast map shows the low in the Gulf of Mexico pushing toward Florida. (Credit: NOAA/ WPC)

STORM WATCH: Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Miami have cut precipitation chances to 40 percent Wednesday night and Thursday in South Florida as uncertainty continues over the path and strength of the low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico expected to develop on Tuesday.

The GFS has backed off the strength of the system although the European model continues to drive it through the Keys packing a respectable punch.

“Guidance has become slightly less consistent over the last couple of runs with the solution of this event,” NWS forecasters said Sunday. “This is particularly true with the latest GFS which has weakened the system considerably as it moves past Florida late on Wednesday through Thursday before it exits into the Atlantic on Friday.

“The 00z ECMWF, which has been consistent with this system for several days, continues to hold firm with the idea that a decently well-defined cutoff low will push between southern Florida and Cuba later this week. While the timing between both solutions is similar, the GFS points to a case where even thunderstorms may be an ambitious forecast.”

Rain would be welcome anywhere in the Florida peninsula, where Moderate Drought conditions were declared on Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is still showing about an inch of rain falling in Southeastern Florida through the end of the week, with much lighter amounts in Central Florida and dry conditions in North Florida.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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