(Image credits: NOAA/ CPC)
THE UPDATED MARCH FORECAST IS OUT: The forecast, released by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center Thursday, calls for equal chances of above- or below-normal temperatures in Central and South Florida in March, but below normal temps in the panhandle and North Florida.
Above normal rainfall is predicted throughout all of Florida, including the panhandle.
Taking a closer look, Thursday runs of the GFS suggest that a strong cold front will knock temperatures back to end the month, with lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s next weekend across the peninsula. Ditto for the first weekend of March, as lows sink into the single digits in the Upper Midwest.
In fact, long-range models show a cool first half of March across the country, from California to New England.
In any case, normal highs and lows around Florida start ticking up impressively in March. On March 1, normal highs and lows in Miami are 79 and 71; and 82 and 74 on March 31. Orlando: 76 and 54 to 80 and 58; and Tampa, 74 and 56 to 78 and 60.
COOL WEEKEND: Forecast highs and lows on Saturday include 71 and 66 in Miami; 67 and 53 in Orlando; and 70 and 51 in Tampa. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph in some areas, the National Weather Service said, so it looks like a rather blustery weekend.
A warm-up begins on Monday.
RECORD WATCH: Orlando tied a record high Wednesday with 88, matching the mark set in 1962. It was 87 in Marathon, which also tied a record high for February 19 set just last year.
Record warm lows were set or tied in Orlando (67); Miami (75, beating the old record of 74 set in 1929); Fort Lauderdale (75); West Palm Beach (75); Naples (73); Key West (78); Daytona Beach (67); Sanford (68); and Leesburg (69).
DROUGHT UPDATE: Severe Drought (D2) has taken hold in the central Panhandle, mostly Franklin and Liberty counties. The Tallahassee area is under Moderate Drought (D1), according to the report released Thursday. Northwest Florida is Abnormally Dry as is the Tampa area.