It’s been a ‘no winter’ winter, but stay tuned …

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(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The Boston Globe says: “There’s been no winter this winter.”

The city has had less than half its normal amount of snow so far this meteorological winter (December through February) and temperatures have been as warm as the 60s, even in January. Today’s forecast for Boston: sunny with a high of 63.

Temperatures have also been radically above-normal this winter across Florida.

But for much of the eastern U.S., including Florida, it looks like winter weather may be jammed in to the first week or so of March which, ironically, is the start of meteorological spring.

In our neck of the woods, temperatures are poised to fall off a cliff Wednesday night as a potent cold front rolls through, keeping winds out of the north for the weekend. Highs will be stuck in the 60s, even in South Florida, with lows in the 40s — low 40s in Central Florida; near freezing in parts of North Florida.

Temperatures around the state don’t really rebound until Tuesday, and after that temps return to more seasonal levels, which means around 80 in South Florida and upper 70s in Central Florida.

Some heavy snow is set to close out February in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes States. Even so, the winter of 2019-20 will probably go into the books as one of the top five warmest on record, according to meteorologists.

Forecasters see cool start to March; meteor smacks Dominican Republic

Forecast rainfall

The cold front that eventually makes it through South Florida on Wednesday and Thursday is expected to stall over North Florida as early as Monday, delivering some heavy rainfall to the area. (Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)

SUNDAY UPDATE: Another round of heavy rain showers hit Palm Beach County’s coast Saturday night, leading to the cancellation of the Houston Astros/ Washington Nationals first spring training game in West Palm Beach, a game that was billed as a World Series rematch for the teams.

The teams were scheduled to meet Sunday afternoon. Rain chances were forecast to diminish throughout the day. Saturday night’s game was canceled after two innings.

Although the rain wasn’t as heavy as Friday night’s round of showers, a CoCoRaHS observer in Boynton Beach, south of West Palm, reported 0.93 of an inch in his backyard bucket. Parts of West Palm Beach received more than half an inch.

Coastal Broward County picked up around a quarter of an inch, and a few hundredths of an inch fell on the Treasure Coast. There were also some light showers in the Upper Keys.

Temperatures rebound into the 80s through Wednesday, after which a potent cold front is forecast to drive overnight temperatures down into the 40s, even in parts of coastal South Florida, with highs only in the 60s through the early part of next weekend. That’s around 10-plus degrees below normal for this time of the year.

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Forecast for the first week of March. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

ORIGINAL POST: Go figure. Meteorological winter ends next Saturday, and December 1 – February 29 is almost certain to go into the books with well above normal temperatures for the season. But just as spring gets ready to launch, a shot of Arctic air is poised to give Florida a January-type chill.

“Confidence is building that a chillier pattern may emerge behind the front late in the week,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said in their Saturday morning forecast discussion.

Friday morning lows/ Friday afternoon forecast highs: Miami, 53 and 67; Orlando, 42 and 60; Tampa, 44 and 62; Jacksonville, 37 and 60.

Forecast for Sunday, March 1: Miami barely makes 70; Orlando stays in the 60s on Sunday and doesn’t make 72 until Monday; ditto for Tampa, which makes 73 on Monday, the second day of March. (Weather Underground forecasts)

Ultra-long-term, AccuWeather is calling for below normal temperatures through most of March. And, as mentioned yesterday, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal precipitation in Florida during March.

The new eight- to 14-day forecast issued by NOAA Friday calls for only two states to have below normal temperatures through the first week of March — Florida and Alaska.

The reaction of many Florida residents will be, well, enjoy the cool temps while you can because some serious heat can’t be too far away. But tourists and spring breakers who are beach-bound in March might be a little disappointed.

However, the pattern could change later in the month, as indicated by the CPC’s four-week forecast, which was also issued Friday. That contradicts the long-range AccuWeather forecast, calling for above normal temperatures in Florida from March 7-20.

RAINFALL REPORT: Most of the U.S. was dry Friday, the one exception being Florida’s East Coast and particularly, the southeast coast. The action was focused on coastal Palm Beach County, where 1.20 inches of rain was reported through 7 a.m. Saturday on Singer Island, according to CoCoRaHS.

An observer in the Boca Raton area reported 1.06 inches; and an observer in Deerfield Beach, Broward County, reported 1.16 inches.

Miami-Dade had just a few sprinkles, while observers on the Treasure Coast reported a few hundredths of an inch.

IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE: A “small” space rock crashed into the atmosphere above the Dominican Republic during the early morning hours on Friday, Spaceweather.com reported.

“The fireball was so bright, many cameras recorded the flash,” science writer Tony Phillips said. A webcam in the U.S. Virgin Islands captured the event.

“An all-sky camera operated by the Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe in Puerto Rico also saw it.”

Locals may be out looking for meteorites this weekend.

Key West ties 93-year-old high temperature record

Key West record

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)

Meteorological spring begins a week from Sunday, but spring-like temperatures are already in place across the Florida peninsula, with some 90-plus readings in inland parts of South Florida.

In Broward County, Weston hit 90 and an observer near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport reported a high of 92.

In the Keys, Key West tied a 93-year-old high temperature record Monday with 84. And in Central Florida, Leesburg tied a record warm minimum temperature with 65.

Toasty temps are set to continue until Friday, when a cold front knocks temperatures back into the 60s and 70s for the weekend. until then, expect more record warm temperatures.

“Naples will have to be watched as the records there are mid to upper 80s and we will certainly be in that ballpark,” the National Weather Service said in its Tuesday discussion from Miami.

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FINANCIAL STORM WARNING: There are plenty of pins that have the potential to pop the economic bubble that has been pumped up by artificially low interest rates set by world banks over the last 10 years. One of them is the spread of the coronavirus, which is already doing damage to the Asian economies.

Here’s another one: extreme weather.

A paper published Monday by experts at the University of California at Davis argues that there’s too much unpriced risk in the energy market due to weather-related events, especially excessively high temperatures.

“Unpriced risk was the main cause of the Great Recession in 2007-2008,” said author Paul Griffin, an accounting professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. “Right now, energy companies shoulder much of that risk. The market needs to better assess risk, and factor a risk of extreme weather into securities prices.”

Excessive heat has the ability to impact agriculture, interfere with delivery of energy and water, and disrupt transportation.

“Despite these obvious risks, investors and asset managers have been conspicuously slow to connect physical climate risk to company market valuations,” Griffin said in the paper published by the academic journal, Nature Energy. “Loss of property is what grabs all the headlines, but how are businesses coping? Threats to businesses could disrupt the entire economic system.”

He added: “While proprietary climate risk models my help some firms and organizations better understand future conditions attributable to climate change, extreme weather risk is still highly problematic from a risk estimation standpoint,” he concluded in the article.

“This is because with climate change, the patterns of the past are no guide to the future, whether it be one year, five years or 20 years out. Investors may also normalize extreme weather impacts over time, discounting their future importance.”

Nice week on tap for Florida peninsula; January was record warm worldwide;

With strong easterly winds and a cold front stalled out over the Keys, some decent rainfall totals were occurring over southeastern Florida and the Keys. A CoCoRaHS observer for the national precipitation network reported 1.54 inches in Key Largo from Saturday through early Sunday morning.

An observer in North Miami Beach reported 1.24 inches; and an observer in Fort Lauderdale reported 1.45 inches.

Palm Beach County reported around a quarter of an inch. Lighter amounts fell along the Treasure Coast.

Another nice warm-up is scheduled for the coming work week, but then a cold front knocks temperatures back to below normal next weekend, just in time for the start of the exhibition baseball season.

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(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The Climate Prediction Center is calling for February to go out on a slightly cooler note, especially the southern tier of states from New Mexico all the way to the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic States on the East Coast.

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Global temps

(Image credit: NOAA/ NCEI)

ANOTHER JANUARY, ANOTHER RECORD: Earth had its warmest January in the 141-year-old record, the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) said on Thursday.

Temperatures worldwide were 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, which beat the previous record for the warmest January by 0.04 of a degree. That occurred in January 2016.

“The four warmest Januaries on record have occurred since 2016, while the 10 warmest Januaries have occurred since 2002,” NCEI, a NOAA agency, reported. “The only Januaries with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average above 1.0°C (1.8°F) occurred in 2016 and 2019.”

The contiguous U.S. had its fifth warmest January, with records in that category going back 126 years. Hawaii had its second warmest January but Alaska had its coldest January since 2012. In fact, it tied 1970 as the 13th coldest January on record.

Every state in the Lower 48 had above normal temperatures, including Florida, which was above average but not record warm. Highest temperature anomalies were found in Texas and Oklahoma, the Great Lakes States, and the Northeast.

The Caribbean had its second warmest January, also behind 2016.

So I figured it was a good time to take a peek at sea surface temperatures in the Caribbean and the Main Development Region of the tropical Atlantic. It’s early, of course, but very warm water temperatures seem to be setting up shop from the coast of Africa all the way west into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Particularly high temperature anomalies are in place off the U.S. East Coast, with the highest being in the Mid-Atlantic.

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(Image credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)

Jacksonville sets all-time February high temperature record

Everglades fogCLEARLY, NOT A GOOD MORNING COMMUTE: Dense fog covered the Everglades, and parts of the West Coast up into Central Florida, on Friday morning. A Dense Fog Advisory was in place through 9 a.m. This image was from a Florida Department of Transportation camera on I-75 in the Everglades at 7:30 a.m. (Image credit: FDOT/ NWS-Miami)
Lots of temperature records were set or tied around the Florida peninsula on Thursday — the last full day before a cold front was poised to knock temps back a bit closer to normal for this time of the year.

Particularly noteworthy was Jacksonville’s high of 89, which shattered the previous record high for the date of 85 set 61 years ago in 1959. It was also the warmest February day ever recorded. The previous record high for February was 88 set on February 26, 1962.

In South Florida, the record warm minimum in West Palm Beach was 77. It was the kind of sultry night you normally don’t see until July. This beat the old record by a remarkable 4 degrees — and that record low of 73 was just set two years ago in 2018.

Record highs were set or tied in Miami (86); Daytona Beach (86); Orlando (89); Sanford (88); Fort Pierce (88); Vero Beach (87); Gainesville (85); and Leesburg (88).

Palmdale, in Glades County, reached 90; as did Weston and Plantation, in Broward County.

Record warm minimum temperatures were set or tied in Fort Lauderdale (76); Naples (72); Daytona Beach (69); Orlando (69); Vero Beach (72); and Leesburg (72).

ECFL records

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

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EYES ON THE PACIFIC: In an update that will surely influence early hurricane season forecasts, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center on Thursday said ENSO Neutral conditions are favored in the tropical Pacific through spring and into summer. That means water temperatures near normal.

During El Niño — warmer than average Pacific temps — hurricane/ tropical storm formation is undercut by strong wind shear in the Atlantic. During La Niña — cooler than normal temperatures — wind shear eases up in the Atlantic and a busy hurricane season generally ensues.

Hurricane experts, like Colorado State University’s Philip Klotzbach, say that during neutral conditions other factors in the Atlantic become more important. These include water temperatures, the amount of dry air and atmospheric pressure and the presence — or lack of presence — of Saharan dust.

Note that neutral conditions were in place for the peak of the hurricane season last year, and September hurricane activity was robust.

CSU will issue its first hurricane season forecast on April 2.

Orlando sizzles; only slight cool-down expected from weekend front

Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR

NEXT WEATHER MAKER: The cold front entering the panhandle Thursday was on its way to the Keys, where it was expected to wash out over the weekend. Temperatures will edge down slightly over the weekend before rebounding again next week, according to the National Weather Service. (Image credit: NOAA)

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That Mickey Mouse suit is starting to get a little uncomfortable. Orlando tied an 81-year-old record high Wednesday with a sultry 88 degrees, matching the mark originally set way back in 1939.

Record highs were also set in Sanford with 87, beating the old record of 86 set in 2018; Leesburg with 86 (tied with 2013); and Jacksonville (high of 84 matched the record set just one year ago). Naples tied a record high for the second day in a row with 89.

Record warm minimum temps were tied or set in Fort Lauderdale (74); West Palm Beach (76); and Naples (72).

National Weather Service forecasters said earlier this week they wouldn’t be surprised to see a few 90-degree temps around South Florida, and that’s what happened Wednesday, with a few popping up out in the Everglades.

Naples Municipal Airport, where official temperatures are kept by the National Weather Service in Miami, reported a high of 89.6 degrees, but it was rounded down to 89. But an unofficial observation site near Everglades City reported a high of 91. And the Bureau of Land Management reported a high of 90 at Big Cypress Swamp north of Alligator Alley.

A cold front that was just entering the Florida panhandle today was forecast to roll down the peninsula on Friday, bringing scattered rain showers as it heads to the Keys, where forecasters expect it to stall out.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being a lallapalooza that brings heavy rain and thunderstorms, followed by a shot of frigid air, this front should rank at about a minus-1. The National Weather Service is calling for less than a quarter of an inch in Central Florida and perhaps up to a third of an inch at the southern tip of the peninsula as the front stalls just to the south.

Then, after a Saturday with close to normal temperatures, another warm-up begins with more highs in the 80 forecast for next week.

A shot of more wintry air is still suggested by forecast models for the last weekend of the month.

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DROUGHT UPDATE: Areas of West-Central Florida affected by Abnormally Dry conditions shrank slightly in the latest analysis of drought conditions in Florida by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Sarasota County returned to normal status and the designation was removed from parts of Manatee, Hillsborough and Hardee counties.

However, Abnormally Dry conditions spread in North Florida, crossing the state from around Citrus County on the Gulf to Flagler County on the Atlantic. A small swath of the Central Panhandle remained under Moderate Drought.

Jacksonville, Naples set record highs

Key West sunset

Tuesday night’s sunset at the White Street Pier in Key West. Photo taken by the National Weather Service.

The late winter mini heat wave is on. Temperature records fell from Jacksonville down to Naples on Tuesday as high pressure maintained its grip on the peninsula.

In fact: “The well above normal temperatures is the main story the next few days,” the National Weather Service in Miami said in its Wednesday morning discussion.

“High temperatures will soar into the mid to upper 80s across South Florida. Naples has already set high records the past two days with temperatures hitting 89 degrees. Much of the interior has seen temperatures in the mid to upper 80s as well.

“High temperatures the next few days will be in the mid 80s for portions of the east coast to mid to upper 80s for the interior and Gulf coast, and would not be surprised if isolated
areas of interior reach 90 degrees.”

Several record high temperatures were set. Jacksonville checked in with a high of 85, beating the old record of 84 set 81 years ago in 1939. In the panhandle, Apalachicola tied a record high with 75. That matched the record set 88 years ago in 1932.

Leesburg set a record with 87, edging out the old record of 86 set in 2018.

And Naples’ high of 89 beat the old record of 87 set in 2018.

Record warm minimum temps were or tied in Fort Lauderdale (74); West Palm Beach (74); and Jacksonville (65).

A cold front rolls down the peninsula this weekend, but with northeasterly winds behind the front, there won’t be much cool air, forecasters said.