Hottest March ever in Orlando knocks out 113-year-old record

ECFL March report

MARCH (WEATHER) MADNESS: Four cities in East-Central Florida had a record warm March, while overall the state racked up big precipitation deficits. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Orlando had its hottest March on record, finishing the month with an average temperature — considering all of the daily highs and lows — of 73.9 degrees. That beat the previous March record of 73.7 set 113 years ago in 1907.

The city had nine days with temperatures of 90 or above, capped off with a high of 93 last Saturday, March 28. Seven of the last eight days of the month were 90 or better.

Leesburg, Sanford and Daytona Beach also had their warmest March, the National Weather Service in Melbourne said on Facebook today. Melbourne had its sixth warmest March, and its second driest, with just a tenth of an inch falling all month. The driest March in Melbourne was in 1974.

Naples also had its warmest March with an average temperature of 75.6 degrees, the National Weather Service in Miami announced this morning. That beat the previous record of 75.5 set in 2003.

West Palm Beach and Miami had their second-warmest March, and Fort Lauderdale had its third-warmest March.

But the lack of rain was actually a bigger story than the unusual warmth last month. Several cities around the peninsula had no rain at all, or just a trace — not enough to measure.

Lakeland, for example, had no precipitation — not even enough to smudge your car’s windshield — for a rainfall deficit of 3.89 inches

Tampa reported just a trace of precip, leaving the city 3.03 inches short for March rainfall. Temperatures in Tampa, however, were 7 degrees above average.

Naples also recorded a trace of rain, for a March precipitation deficit of 2.38 inches.

Unusually dry weather took hold in Southeast Florida as well, and in the panhandle, Tallahassee turned in a precipitation shortfall of 3.72 inches, even though the city picked up 2.22 inches of rain in March. More surprising, Tallahassee ended the month 8.9 degrees above average, the largest temperature anomaly at a major reporting site in the state.

Also of note: Vero Beach set a daily record Tuesday with a 93 degree high, which also happened to tie the warmest temperature ever recorded in Vero Beach for the month of March. The record was previously set on March 20 2003.

And Fort Pierce’s high Tuesday of 93 broke a record for the date and tied the record for the warmest temperature ever recorded in March — set 112 years ago on March 24, 1908.

ELSEWHERE, MARCH WENT OUT WITH SOME SIZZLE: Miami set a record high with 92, beating the old record of 91 set in 2011. Jacksonville set a new record high with 89, beating the old mark of 88 set in 2016. Daytona Beach hit 90 on Tuesday, which tied a record high set back in 1954.

Sanford set a record high with 93, and a record warm low with 68.

Record warm minimum temps were set or tied at Orlando (70); Key West (79); Marathon (78); West Palm Beach (75); and Naples (73).

RAINFALL REPORT: Some of the rain associated with this week’s cold front fell before midnight, which added to March’s meager totals, but precipitation totals in South and Central Florida occurred after midnight so will go into the April column.

Rainfall totals were mostly in the quarter to third-of-an-inch range around the peninsula, but a CoCoRaHS observer in northwestern Collier County reported a 24-hour total of 3.07 inches. In North-Central Florida, an observer in Alachua County near Gainesville reported 1.07 inches.

Officially, the highest 24-hour rainfall total through 7 p.m. Tuesday was 0.78 of an inch in Tallahassee.

THE NEW APRIL FORECAST, released Tuesday by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, calls for above normal precipitation in the Florida panhandle, but equal chances for above, below, or normal rainfall around the Florida peninsula.

Above average temperatures continue to be the rule.

Winds start to wind down, but rip current threat remains

Spring Break Safety

Easterly winds are calming, but there remains a risk of rip currents at Florida’s East Coast beaches. (Image credit: NOAA/ NWS-Jacksonville)

RAINFALL REPORT: A few spotty showers have been streaming over the peninsula on strong easterly winds — “tropical” showers, the National Weather Service called them this morning — but most sites report only a few hundredths of an inch. An exception was in Palm Beach County, where a CoCoRaHS observer in the Lake Worth/ Lantana area reported an inch of rain through 7 a.m.

In Broward County, an observer in Coral Springs reported just under a half-inch, while an observer near Pompano Beach reported a third of an inch.

TOP WIND GUSTS: A gust of 45 mph was reported at the University of Miami on Monday while observers at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton reported a 42 mph gust. An observer in Sunrise, Broward County, reported a gust of 41 mph on Monday, and a gust of 40 mph was reported at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

Winds start to wind down a bit today and the breezy weather should be out of the picture by Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

A nice stretch of weather is on the horizon, according to forecasters, with highs in the 80s over the next 10 days or so. A late-week cold front slides into Central Florida but dissipates before making it to South Florida, they said.

Summer-style heat for Florida peninsula: West Palm hits 94

Tallahassee rainfall

The Florida panhandle and points north have had a soggy week, with more than an inch of rain falling Tallahassee. The National Weather Service in Jacksonville said 1.21 inches of rain fell on the city Thursday. The rest of the peninsula has been fairly dry. (Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

If you’re new to Florida and wondering what the summer weather will be like, Thursday was a preview of coming attractions — with one big caveat.

Official temperatures exceeded 90 degrees at several of the National Weather Service’s major observations sites; for some cities it was the first 90-degree high of 2020.

Miami hit 91, a record high that beat the previous mark for March 5 of 90, set in 1964.

West Palm Beach smashed its record high with 94, beating the old mark of 91 also set in 1964. And it was 88 in Naples, beating the old record of 87 set in 1989.

The high in West Palm was the hottest of any major reporting site in Florida, but there were a couple of unofficial 96-degree readings in interior parts of South Florida.

However, if you’re comparing it to Florida’s summer weather, note that dew points are still relatively low. As West Palm topped out at 94, the dew point was in the mid-60s; in summer the dew point is usually in the mid-70s, making the day feel even more sticky and tropical.

Record highs were also set or tied Thursday in Vero Beach (91); Fort Pierce (90); Daytona Beach (89); Melbourne (90);

Record warm minimum temperatures were tied or set in Key West and Marathon (both with 77); Orlando (69); Sanford (70); and Leesburg (69).

A cold moving through South Florida this morning will knock temperatures back into the 60s and 70s for the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.


GLOBAL RECORD WATCH: Many Florida cities had a top-10 warmest winter. New data released Thursday show that it was the warmest winter on record in Europe — by a lot.

Average temperatures for the December through February period were 1.4 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous record warm winter of 2015-2016, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.  January was the warmest on record in Europe and the world.

It was the second warmest February, both globally and for Europe, and the warmest January.

Central Florida under Marginal risk for severe storms as cold front rolls through


STORMS, THEN COLDER TEMPS: Central Florida was under a Level 1 (Marginal) threat Wednesday for severe weather, while more garden variety thunderstorms were in the forecast for South Florida and North Florida. Heaviest rains were expected in Central Florida during the afternoon and overnight into Thursday. Here are the expected rainfall totals around the central and southern peninsula:

ECFL rainfall forecast

SFL rainfall forecast

Image credits: NOAA/ SPC (top); NWS-Melbourne (center); NWS-Miami (bottom)

RECORD WATCH: Naples tied a record high Tuesday with 86, matching the mark set in 2018. It was the 13th temperature record (high or warm minimum) set this month in Naples.

Both Vero Beach and Fort Pierce tied record highs with 87, matching marks set in 2017.

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.

(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.


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.


(Image credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)

Storm knocks out power, topples trees; warmer, quieter week coming up

Above normal temperatures are on the way for all of Florida next week. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

FRIDAY STORM WRAP: Thousands were without power in North Florida, a tornado was reported in the Tampa Bay area, and an unofficial wind gust of 74 mph was reported north of Tallahassee.

Schools in Florida’s Big Bend area were closed Thursday afternoon as were local government offices, the Tallahassee Democrat said. A 45 mph wind gust was reported at the National Weather Service’s office at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

A personal weather station in the Golden Eagle development north of Tallahassee reported a wind gust of 74 mph, “though forecasters weren’t sure about the accuracy of that report,” The Democrat said Friday.

State Road 408 in the Orlando area was closed on Thursday when scaffolding was damaged in high winds, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The Tampa Bay Times reported: “Pinellas County may have gotten the worst of it. A powerful squall line came ashore late Thursday, thrashed the Tampa Bay area, produced at least one tornado and pushed a crane over onto Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg.”

A woman was trapped in her house when a tree fell on it, the newspaper said. There were numerous reports of more minor damage on the National Weather Service’s Facebook site.

The storm caused at least three deaths in Alabama and Tennessee.

South Florida maximum wind gusts: Juno Beach, 45 mph; Lake Okeechobee (South Florida Water Management District station), 44; Miami International Airport, 43; and Palm Beach International Airport, 35.

East-Central: Orlando International Airport, 40 mph; Melbourne, 36;  and Fort Pierce, 31.

West-Central: St. Petersburg, 49 mph; Brooksville, 44; and Ocala, 44.

TOP RAINFALL TOTALS (CoCoRaHS): Northern Leon County (Tallahassee), 2.55 inches; Chiefland (Levy County), 1.83; and North Port (Sarasota County), 2.01. Many areas across the peninsula, including Central and South Florida,, picked up between a half-inch and an inch.

OUTLOOK, SOUTH FLORIDA: “Near average temperatures early in the period should trend towards above average late in the week with
highs climbing well into the 80s away from the Atlantic coast,” the National Weather Service in Miami said.

EAST-CENTRAL: “Strong Atlantic high pressure ridge will keep any frontal intrusions at bay until possibly Fri at the earliest. This will keep weather conditions dry and warm, with above normal temperatures through at least Thursday,” the NWS in Melbourne said.

WEST-CENTRAL: “The front at the end of the week will stay north of the area. Temperatures initially on the cool side gradually warm through the week,” the NWS in Tampa said.

NORTH FLORIDA: A cold front nears the area on Wednesday and Thursday and but then lifts back to the north. “Temperatures will be above normal,” the NWS in Jacksonville said.

Florida cities log unusually warm January; forecasters look ahead to next storm system

End of week storm

LOOKING AHEAD: It’s a little unusual for the National Weather Service to advertise potentially severe weather this far out, but an end-of-week cold front may trigger some bad weather in North Florida on Thursday, according to forecasters. Still plenty of time to see how this event unfolds. (Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)


South Florida was hammered late Friday into early Saturday morning with heavy rain moving in from the Gulf of Mexico as a warm front pulled up from the Straits, dropping more than 2 inches of rain in northeastern Miami-Dade County and almost an inch-and-a-half in the Middle and Upper Keys.

On the West Coast, a CoCoRaHS observer in Bonita Springs measured 1.76 inches in the backyard bucket. Otherwise, an observer in Aventura, Miami-Dade, took the honors for heaviest rainfall with 2.38 inches.

Totals in Palm Beach County topped out at 1.73 inches in the Boynton Beach area.

Totals were much lighter, in the quarter-inch range, in East-Central Florida.

Part two of the weekend rain event was penciled in by forecasters from the National Weather Service for Saturday afternoon and evening as the cold front rolls down the peninsula, dropping overnight temperatures into the 40s in interior areas and 50s along the coasts.

By order of the Miami-Dade Tourist Development Council, Super Bowl Sunday will be sunny, cool and dry, with highs around 70.


JANUARY WRAP: Once again, temperatures were above normal across the state. Miami was 3.3 degrees above average and had a precipitation surplus of almost a half-inch, thanks to a two-day rainfall total of 1.50 inches on Thursday and Friday. West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, though, had rainfall deficits with above-normal temps.

Naples was an impressive 5.2 degrees above average with a slight rainfall surplus.

It was a mixed bag in the Keys, although both Marathon and Key West had above normal temperatures in January. Key West was slightly under for precipitation; Marathon was slightly over.

In Central Florida, Orlando was 5.3 degrees above average with a rainfall deficit of 1.73 inches. Only 0.62 of an inch of rain fell in Orlando all month. It was even drier in Daytona Beach, where 0.44 of an inch fell in January, a deficit of 2.30 inches. Temperatures, though, were 4.3 degrees above average.

On the West Coast, Tampa was 4.5 degrees above average with a rainfall deficit of 1.15 inches.

In North Florida, Jacksonville had the highest temperature anomalies in January — 6.4 degrees above average — with a big precip shortfall of 3.12 inches. Only 0.18 of an inch of rain fell at the airport: 0.07 of an inch on January 4 and 0.11 of an inch on January 29.

Likewise, Tallahassee had a 3.01-inch rainfall deficit but temperatures were 5.7 degrees above normal.

Feb temps

FEBRUARY OUTLOOK: NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center unveiled its latest February forecast Friday, calling for above normal temperatures in the eastern U.S., with the highest probabilities for warm temperature anomalies in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Above normal precipitation was also forecast for the southeastern U.S. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)