Florida was one of four states that had a record warm start to the year. (Credit: NOAA/ NCEI)
The first half of 2017 in Florida was the warmest such period on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reports. The U.S. overall had its second-warmest first half of the year from January through June.
Florida also had its second-wettest June on record, the agency said.
Record warmth also took hold in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. A large swath of states from the Desert Southwest through the Mississippi Valley and into the Appalachians had second- or third-warmest first-halfs on record.
These are overall average temperatures, taking into consideration the highs and the lows.
If you just look at high temperatures from January through June, all-time records were posted in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, while Florida had its second-warmest first half in terms of highs.
Ironically, Florida’s June temperatures brought the six-month average down slightly due to all the rain and cloudy weather.
July temperatures in South Florida are running 2-3 degrees above average in Miami and West Palm Beach, but just slightly above normal in Fort Lauderdale and Naples.
July temps are about a degree above normal in the Keys, 1-3 degrees above normal in East-Central Florida, 1-2 degrees in the Tampa area, 1-2 degrees in North Florida, and about a degree higher in the panhandle.
Florida’s East Coast has been above normal in large part due to the prevailing easterly winds this summer coming in off an unsually warm Atlantic. Melbourne challenged another record warm low Thursday with 80 degrees, tying a mark for the date set in 2006.
WEEKEND WEATHER WATCH: With this week’s tropical waves pushing out into the Gulf of Mexico, a relatively dry weekend is in store for Florida’s East Coast, according to the National Weather Service. Rain chances edge up early next week as winds swing around to the southwest. That should drive any showers that develop over the peninsula’s interior toward the East Coast metro areas.
TROPICS WATCH: No tropical development is forecast by the National Hurricane Center through at least the next five days. The forecast models show a quiet Atlantic over the next seven days, although the GFS and Canadian (CMC) suggest a weak system may approach the Bahamas the week of July 23.
The Climate Prediction Center issued its updated El Niño forecast Thursday, calling for the current neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific to last into the 2017-2018 winter.
“However, chances for El Niño remain elevated” — forecasters said. They put chances of at 35-45 percent. An El Niño — abnormally warm water in the tropical Pacific — would discourage tropical development in the Atlantic.
But even if these conditions would arrive later this year, it would likely be too late to affect the peak months of the hurricane season.