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.

Warm-up begins on Monday; Phil says winter’s pretty much over

Groundhog Day Key West

RODENT REVIEW: The National Weather Service in Key West tried to set the record straight about groundhogs Sunday. See below for the full Punxsutawney Phil report. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

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It was a cool Sunday morning around Florida, but there were no freezing temperatures as of 7 a.m., even in the panhandle, where temperatures were in the 30s. The Orlando area was in the mid-40s, with upper 40s on both Central Florida coasts and low- to mid-50s on both South Florida coasts. It was 62 in Key West, according to Weather Underground.

The cold snap is forecast to last through Monday night, when winds swing around to the southeast. Thursday should be the warmest day of the week before another cold front pushes down the peninsula and temperatures return to seasonal levels.

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THIS JUST IN: Hooray! Looks like an early spring for the U.S. Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania Sunday morning and did not see his shadow, a sure sign that spring is around the corner.

It was the first time on record that Phil has not seen his shadow in back-to-back years, according to the Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post.

DEUCES ARE WILD: The writers also noted on Twitter that today’s date is a palindrome (reads the same backward and forward) — 02-02-2020. It’s also only the second time Groundhog Day has occurred on Super Bowl Sunday.

NOAA, through its NCEI (National Centers for Environmental Information) threw a little cold water on the forecast by noting: “In 2019, Phil forecast a ‘short winter’ when he did not see his shadow and predicted an early spring. In fact, the contiguous United States saw below average temperatures in both February and March of last year.

“The average contiguous U.S. temperature during February was 32.0°F, 1.8°F below the 20th century average. This ranked among the coldest third of the 125-year period of record and was the coolest February since 2010.”

On the other hand, NOAA is predicting above normal temperatures in the eastern U.S. in February, so the agency appears to be on the same page as Phil this year.

And the long-term CFS model sees mostly above-normal to normal temps in much of the U.S., including Florida and the Southeast, through mid-March.

After chilly Sunday morning, ‘unsettled’ weather pattern next week

day2otlk_0700

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has most of the Florida peninsula at risk for thunderstorms on Monday, continuing into Tuesday for South Florida. Another storm system could wet things down next weekend. (Image credit: NOAA/ SPC)

It was a chilly Sunday morning, but actually temperatures could be described as seasonably cool across the peninsula. These days, it seems like the new normal for the southern half of the peninsula is lows in the 60s, but we’re still in the coolest time of the year and average lows are in the 50s.

Average/ normal temps are now on the upswing in Florida; Orlando’s normal low edged up from 49 to 50 today. Miami kicks its normal low up to 61 on Wednesday. Tampa’s normal low gets bumped up to 53 on Thursday.

Morning temps were in the low 50s along the southeastern coast, although it was 55 in Hialeah and 55 in Key Largo, a far cry from the punch of cold air last week when both Miami and Key Largo were shivering at 40 degrees.

There were some low 40s today in interior southwestern Florida, and Central Florida was in the mid- to upper-40s. You had to go northwest of a line from around Dunnellon to St. Augustine to find upper 30s, and the panhandle was mostly in the mid-30s.

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STORMS AND SHADOWS: A low forecast to develop in the Gulf of Mexico will bring rain on Monday, followed by some dry weather and then another round of “unsettled” weather for the weekend. Forecasters’ crystal ball is a little fuzzy seven days out, but Sunday is the Super Bowl at Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Stadium Dolphins Stadium Land Shark Stadium Sun Life Stadium Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and the weather may not be Chamber of Commerce quality for the big weekend-long event.

National Weather Service forecasters in Miami put it this way: “Will certainly continue to the monitor the late week system as it could potentially put a damper on any outdoor activities or games planned for the upcoming weekend.” (Italics added.)

Weather Underground is calling for thunderstorms in Miami on Saturday, but partly cloudy and cooler temps on Sunday, with a high of 73. AccuWeather is forecasting cloudy skies both days.

The main question for next Sunday, though, is not who wins the Super Bowl but whether Punxsutawney Phil sees is shadow up in Pennsylvania. First peek, the forecast for Punxsutawney is for cloudy skies with snow showers, so one might assume that the prophetic groundhog won’t see his shadow and an early spring will be forthcoming.

However, in past years Phil has still managed to see his shadow, despite the lack of sun, and predicted six more weeks of winter. It could be that all the TV cameras cast a shadow, or maybe Phil just mixes environmental observations with pure meteorological instinct.

By the way, this is only the second Super Bowl in history to be played on Groundhog Day. The only other one was on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8. That year, Punxsutawney Phil predicted a long winter.

It certainly was for the Broncos.

Lows may dive into 30s and 40s next week followed by month-ending warm-up

Florida seafood festival

SOMETHING FISHY GOING ON IN THE KEYS: It’s the Florida Keys Seafood Festival at Bayview Park on Truman Avenue in Key West. The National Weather Service will have a booth at the festival and forecasters will be on hand to answer questions. The weather will be breezy but seasonably warm, with highs in the upper 70s. The cold front doesn’t arrive until late Monday. (Image credit: NWS-Key West) 

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BLUSTERY: Winds were gusting over 30 mph in many South Florida locations overnight Friday into early Saturday morning, with a few gusts over 40 mph in Miami-Dade County. The University of Miami reported a maximum gust of 45 mph while Fowey Rocks in Biscayne Bay reported 41 mph.

Gusts were in the upper-20s mph range in East-Central Florida. Key West and Marathon reported maximum gusts of 32 mph.

Winds are forecast to calm on Sunday before The Big Cold Front approaches and ushers in what may be some of the coldest air of the season. Lows will be in the 30s northwest of Lake Okeechobee on Wednesday morning before a slow warming trend begins, according to the National Weather Service.

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RECORD WATCH: Naples tied a record high Friday with 87, matching the mark set back in 1947. Record warm lows were set at St. Petersburg (68), and Sarasota (67). The Sarasota low busted an old record of 65 set in 1937.

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NO FOOLIN’ AROUND WINTER WEATHER: While Florida braces for early week lows in the 30s and 40s — and highs that “struggle to get into the 60s,” according to forecasters in Miami — the Upper Midwest and Northeast are getting an old-fashioned winter thumping, with Blizzard Warnings and white-out conditions from North Dakota south into Minnesota and Iowa.

Other areas are under Winter Storm Warnings or Winter Weather Advisories.

But nature is determined to take the Central and Eastern U.S. on a roller coaster ride as temperatures jump well into January-thaw territory at the end of the week.

Chicago is dealing with rain, fog and snow this weekend with winds of up to 45 mph, followed by falling temperatures and wind chills as low as 17 degrees below zero. Sunday morning’s actual forecast low is 5. Friday’s forecast high: 41.

Cleveland is looking for up to 8 inches of snow this weekend — followed by an end-of-the-week rebound with a forecast high Friday of 47.

Boston is looking for up to 4 inches of snow this weekend, with a forecast high Friday of 45.

Record highs in Jacksonville, Tampa; temps to tumble next week

14 day outlook

(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

POST HOLIDAY COOL-DOWN: After a run of 80-degree temperatures and record breaking warm lows on the East Coast, the advertised Florida-style cold snap is set to begin next Tuesday, with highs below 70 degrees in South Florida and lows in the 50s.

That’s actually a little below normal for this time of the year.

On Tuesday, the back-to-work-day following the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, forecast highs and lows (according to Weather Underground) are: Miami, 69 and 54; Orlando, 58 and 43; Tampa, 59 and 41; and Jacksonville, 53 and 37.

In fact, the whole country is expected to be below normal to round out the month, with the exception of Southern California and the Desert Southwest.

Although the GFS is showing a brief rebound in temperatures late the following weekend (January 25-26), the model shows some significantly cooler weather for the final few days of the month.

NOAA releases its February forecast — and the longer-range forecast for February through April — on Thursday.

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RECORD WATCH: Jacksonville smashed a record high Monday with 84, busting the previous record for the date of 82 set in 2005. Tampa tied a record high with 83 and Sarasota tied a record high with 85. Sanford broke a record high with 84, beating the previous record of 83 set in 1993.

Record warm minimum temperatures were set or tied in Gainesville (64); Naples (71); Orlando, 68; and Sanford (65).

Record high for Key West as New Year’s Eve cold front approaches

ECFL temps

HAPPY NEW YEAR: The year and decade end on a cooler note to close out a wet and warm month. “Temps will drop pretty quickly after sunset this evening, so make sure to grab a jacket if heading out,” forecasters at the National Weather Service in Melbourne said Tuesday. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

This New Year’s Eve cold front is kind of a teaser, cooling things off around the state in time for the holiday. But Temps spike back into the 80s on Thursday and Friday, the National Weather Service says.

Parts of Central Florida may even make into the mid-80s on Friday, according to Forecasters, with an expected high in Melbourne of 85.

But then an honest-to-gosh January cold front blows through on Saturday, driving temperatures below normal.

Sunday forecast highs/ Monday morning forecast lows: Orlando, 61 and 46; Tampa, 61 and 47; Miami, 68 and 57; Key West, 70 and 61; Gainesville, 58 and 39; Lake City, 57 and 37; Jacksonville, 58 and 41; Tallahassee, 55 and 39.

Key West record high

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)

RECORD WATCH: Key West posted a record high on Monday of 85, beating the old record of 83 set just last year. Several record warm lows were set or tied around the peninsula, including Naples (72); Orlando (71); Melbourne (71); Vero Beach (69); and Sanford (68).

Sarasota ties record high; slight cool-down seen for New Year’s Day

Keys holiday forecast

(Image credit: NWS-Key West)

Sarasota posted a record high on Sunday, and record warm lows were reported up and down Florida’s East Coast. But a cold front is forecast to cool things down for the mid-week holiday, although nothing too dramatic.

It was 86 in Sarasota, which tied a record last set in 1990. Much of Southwest Florida was in the mid-80s, and it was also 86 in Naples, but that was shy of the record high of 88.

Naples did have a record warm low of 72, matching a mark set in 2015.

Record warm minimum temperatures that were set or tied on the East Coast: Daytona Beach (69); Orlando, (71); Sanford (70); Melbourne (74); Vero Beach (73); and Fort Pierce (74).

Melbourne’s low, which busted the old record of 72 set in 2015, also tied December 16, 2001 for the warmest low temperature ever reported in December.

A cold front set to roll down the peninsula Monday and Tuesday will cool things down a touch. Here are the holiday forecasts:

Miami: New Year’s Eve, partly cloudy, low of 63; New Year’s Day, mostly sunny, high of 77.

Key West: New Year’s Eve, partly cloudy, low of 70; New Year’s Day, mostly sunny, high of 77.

Orlando: New Year’s Eve, mostly clear, low of 49; New Year’s Day, sunny with a high of 68.

Tampa: New Year’s Eve, partly cloudy, low of 49; New Year’s Day, mostly sunny, high of 69.

Jacksonville: New Year’s Eve, mostly clear, low of 43; New Year’s Day, mostly sunny, high of 64.

Tallahassee: New Year’s Eve, mostly clear, low of 40; New Year’s Day, sunny, high of 62.

LONG-RANGE: Forecast models are suggesting that the first full week of the new year may bring some honest-to-gosh cool air through the entire peninsula, with lows perhaps dipping into the 40s as far south as South Florida.

But forecasters at the National Weather Service in Miami said Monday: “However, there is still uncertainty with this solution, and the front may only bring some showers and a slightly modified air mass to South Florida.”