Will May showers rescue Florida from brutally hot, dry April?

May temps

A warm and dry start to May is in the forecast, but an approaching cold front toward the end of the week should bring some showers to most of the state. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne/ Key West)

May temps Keys

The rainy season can’t come soon enough for the Florida peninsula, where hot and dry weather was the April norm and dozens of wildfires burned throughout the state.

It was another month of above normal temperatures, the 14th month out of the last 15 with warmer than average weather in many locations. Only March broke the trend in West Palm Beach, as temperatures came in right at normal, and the string was interrupted in Miami by November 2016, which ended a third of a degree below average.

Last month, the average high in Miami was 84 and the average low was 72, 2.2 degrees above the city’s 30-year temperature average. In Fort Lauderdale, highs and lows averaged 83 and 72 (plus 1.2 degrees); in West Palm Beach, 83 and 70 (plus 2.3 degrees); and in Naples, 86 and 67 (plus 3.3 degrees).

In Central Florida, temperatures ranged from 3-6 degrees above average and in the Tampa area, 4-5 degrees above average. North Florida areas were 2-3 degrees above the April average.

See the National Weather Service’s April report on West-Central Florida here.

RAINFALL: Thanks to the April 23 low pressure system that scooted across the southern peninsula from the Gulf of Mexico, dropping 3.5 inches of rain in West Palm Beach, the city actually ended April with a tiny precipitation surplus of 0.08 of an inch. That was also made possible by a surprise shower that rolled in from the Atlantic on Sunday morning, dropping 0.13 of an inch.

With 4 inches in April, Fort Lauderdale claimed a monthly surplus of 1.11 inches. And in the Keys, Key West checked in with an April surplus of 1.88 inches and Marathon logged a third-of-an-inch surplus.

But most areas in South and Central Florida posted serious rainfall deficits in April, including Miami (0.98 of an inch); Naples (1.39 inches);

In East-Central Florida, Fort Pierce had a rainfall deficit (-0.43 of an inch); Melbourne (-1.90); and Daytona Beach (-0.96). Vero Beach, on the other hand, ended up with a slight surplus (0.17) thanks to heavy rain on April 6 and in North Florida, Gainesville’s monthly rainfall total was also slightly above average.

Orlando was socked with dry April weather big-time, with just a trace of precipitation on record for the month, a deficit of 2.68 inches.

In the west-central part of the state, Tampa had a rainfall deficit of 1.44 inches; Sarasota was 2.44 inches in the hole, and Lakeland came up 1.77 inches short.

Mid-May precip forecast

After some end-of-the-week rain around the Florida peninsula, a return to dry conditions is in the long-range forecast for mid-May. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)

RECORD WATCH: Temperature records continued to fall across the state over the weekend. Miami’s low of 79 on Sunday tied a record for the warmest low ever recorded in April. Naples set a record high of 95 on Saturday along with a warm minimum of 75.

Tampa set a record high Sunday with 95, busting the old mark of 93 set in 1975. Sarasota also hit 95, breaking the previous record of 93 set in 1970.

Record warm lows were set in Jacksonville and Gainesville.


Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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