A warm March for South Florida, left, was forecast by the Climate Prediction Center Thursday, while the 90-day precipitation forecast calls for dry conditions in all of Florida through May. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)
Expect more above-normal temperatures in March, particularly in the southern half of the Florida peninsula, forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said in their new long-range forecast released Thursday.
After a cool January, February has been above-normal around the state — significantly warmer than usual in places like Orlando and Tampa — and it looks like the meteorological spring will pick up where winter leaves off on March 1. (Meteorological spring runs from March 1-May 31.)
Dry conditions are finally taking hold this month across the peninsula, and the CPC is calling for below-normal precipitation statewide, not only across the peninsula but in the panhandle as well, right into May.
In Miami, high temperatures average 79-82 in March; 76-80 in Orlando and 74-78 in Tampa.
As a result of last weekend’s torrential rains in the Florida panhandle, drought conditions eased dramatically in areas west of Tallahassee. But nine counties are still in — or partially in — Moderate Drought, according to the latest assessment by the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday.
Severe Drought has disappeared, but much of the panhandle remains Abnormally Dry.
The peninsula has managed to avoid drought conditions this winter despite forecasts warning of drought development due to the La Niña in the tropical Pacific. But significant rainfall in January kept most of the state on an even keel.
That luck may be running out in February.
Miami and Naples are more than an inch behind in rainfall; and Fort Lauderdale’s and West Palm beach’s deficits are approaching an inch-and-a-half.
The Keys are about a half-inch to an inch short; and East-Central Florida locations are running deficits of around an inch. Tampa and a few areas on the West Coast, hammered by heavy rain the first weekend of the month, have slight precipitation surpluses for February.
Another spring-like weekend is on the horizon in South Florida. (Credit: NWS-Miami)