Most of the U.S. is in for a warm start to spring, forecasters say. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)
February ended Tuesday with an average monthly high of 81 from Miami to West Palm Beach, with average lows from 61 to 66 — temperatures that you would normally see in early April.
Rainfall deficits ran from 1.39 inches in Fort Lauderdale to nearly an inch in Miami and Naples, to a little more than a quarter of an inch in West Palm Beach, which benefited from some unexpected showers that moved in off the coast late Monday night.
The average February high in Naples was 80.
Average high temperatures in Central Florida: Melbourne, 78; Vero Beach, 80; Daytona Beach, 76; and Orlando, 80. Tampa, 78; Sarasota, 77; Fort Myers, 83.
Fort Myers ended February with a high of 90 degrees on Tuesday, breaking a record for the date of 88 set in 2012. St. Petersburg tied a record high with 82.
Fort Lauderdale set a record warm low on the last day of the month — 75, beating the previous mark of 74 set in 1997.
Naples set a record high with 88 on Tuesday, beating the old record of 87 set in 1997.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for above normal March temperatures in Florida and much of the U.S. But long-range forecasters have backed off on calls for increased precipitation, with below normal Florida rainfall in the forecast for at least the first half of the month.
March rainfall usually jumps from February to March, with average precipitation of around 4.5 inches in South Florida. Normal highs edge up from 78-79 into the low 80s.
As the weather continues to heat up, longer days are ahead. Daylight Saving Time arrives a week from Sunday — March 12 — with sunset at 7:28 p.m. in Palm beach. Sunrise will be at 7:32 a.m.