Big spring warm-up on tap as ‘Severe Drought’ grips parts of Florida

THURSDAY RAINFALL TOTALS: Miami, 1.17 inches; Kendall, 2.11; Marathon, 0.11; Fort Lauderdale, 0.45; Pompano Beach, 0.45; West Palm Beach, 0.45.

East-Central: Fort Pierce, 0.54; Vero Beach, 0.70; Melbourne, 0.07; Daytona Beach, 0.20.

West Coast: Naples, 0.01; Fort Myers, trace; Tampa, 0.0;

RECORD WATCH: Fort Myers set a record high Thursday with 90 degrees, beating the old mark of 88 in 2007. Melbourne tied a record high Wednesday with 90, matching a mark set in 1955.

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ORIGINAL POST: Although a cold front was plowing across the Florida peninsula on Thursday — and was forecast to settle into the Straits on Friday — there’s apparently little or no cold air actually associated with it and temperatures through the next week are expected to warm into the above-normal range.

Hot sunshine this time of the year, the equivalent of the strength of the sun in September, tends to make short work of cooler overnight lows.

Wednesday morning’s low in West Palm Beach was a chilly 55 degrees, the ninth day in a row of sub-60-degree lows. But under clear skies, the afternoon temperature shot up to 83.

You could make a case that Wednesday’s low was the last hurrah for the cold weather season, since all of the major forecasting organizations from the National Weather Service to AccuWeather have highs climbing into the low- to mid-80s by the weekend while bottoming out in the mid- to upper-60s.

Precipitation chances were as high as 60 percent for some areas of South Florida on Thursday, and NWS forecasters were optimistically calling for up to three-quarters of an inch of rain.

“Overall rainfall amounts are expected to generally be light, but a few areas could see a nice soaking rainfall of around a half an inch, helping the ongoing drought situation,” forecasters said in their morning analysis from Miami.

Florida drought
Parts of South-Central Florida are now in Severe Drought. (Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor)

Drought conditions have gotten worse through the Florida peninsula, the U.S. Drought Monitor said in its outlook released Thursday. Areas to the north and west of Lake Okeechobee are now in Severe Drought, analysts said, while Moderate Drought has expanded up the East Coast into the Cocoa Beach area and west toward parts of Metro Orlando.

Another slice of Moderate Drought has developed from near the Big Bend area on the Gulf Coast northeast to St. Augustine.

Most of coastal South Florida remains Abnormally Dry, with actual drought confined to northeastern Palm Beach and Broward counties.

March rainfall deficits range from 0.11 of an inch in Miami to 1.62 inches in Fort Lauderdale, 1.47 inches in Naples and 2.29 inches in West Palm Beach.

Deficits in the Keys range from around a half-inch to an inch-and-a-half.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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