Highs in southwest Florida are forecast to reach 90 on Tuesday. (Credit: NWS-TampaBay)
It was a scorching 88 degrees in Tampa on Monday — setting a new record for the date and tying a record for the warmest temperature ever recorded in February.
The old record high for February 19 was 86, set in 1997. The all-time February high of 88 was previously set on February 26, 1971.
Sarasota set record high with 87, breaking the previous mark of 86 set in 1990.
Across the state, Melbourne’s low of 73 smashed the previous record warm low for the date of 69 set in 1949. The low is also the warmest minimum temperature ever recorded during the month of February in Melbourne, according to the National Weather Service.
More record warmth was possible Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters said.
Tuesday morning’s run of the GFS model continues to suggest some cooler temperatures arriving in Florida during the first week of March, although the Climate Prediction Center is still calling for above normal temperatures in Florida through March 5.
Cold temperatures are not unheard of in March — Miami’s all-time March low is 32, for example; ditto in Fort Lauderdale. The all-time March low in West Palm Beach is 26; 33 in Naples. After the first week of the month, though, most record lows in South Florida are in the 40s.
The nation’s mid-section is in for some very heavy rain through Wednesday. (Credit: NOAA/ WPC)
FLOODING RAINS FORECAST: While high pressure maintains its grip on Florida, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is sweeping up into the Central U.S., bringing rains of up to 7 inches or more through the Mississippi Valley from Arkansas north to Illinois and Indiana, according to NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center.
A swath from northeastern Texas through Arkansas and up to St. Louis is under a Moderate Risk for very heavy rainfall, as well as northeastern Illinois, northwestern Indiana and southeastern Michigan.
The rain is expected to fall through Wednesday night.
In Florida, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for below normal precipitation through at least March 5. February is likely to end with rainfall deficits throughout the peninsula, with the possible exception of the Tampa area, which was hit with heavy rain at the start of the month.