IT’S FINALLY OFFICIAL: A weak El Niño formed last month in the Pacific, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday. The above average water temperatures that indicate an El Niño tend to have an impact on the winter in North America, and the phenomenon generally leads to stormy weather during Florida’s winter.
That may not be the case this year.
El Niño conditions can also suppress tropical storm development in the Atlantic, but forecasters said chances of El Niño lasting beyond spring was 50 percent or less.
“Due to the expected weak strength, widespread or significant global impacts are not anticipated,” the CPC said in its first El Niño Advisory. “However, the impacts often associated with El Niño may occur in some locations during the next few
NOAA’s spring outlook — March through May — will be updated next Thursday February 21.
(Image credit: NWS-Key West)
More than 2 inches of rain pounded parts of South Florida and the Keys on Wednesday, and with some cool temperatures to boot, there weren’t many selfie moments for the tourist crowd.
A lot of Florida cities didn’t make it to 70 degrees, especially on the West Coast, where Tampa topped out at 64 and Punta Gorda made it to 68. The best Brooksville could do was 62 degrees.
Gainesville was 65 — 21 degrees colder than Tuesday’s record high of 86 degrees. The city had 0.16 of an inch of rain.
The Keys were an exception. The high in Marathon was 80, giving Florida the nation’s high temperature for the sixth day in a row. Not only that, but Marathon reported the heaviest rain in the state — 2.45 inches, a record for the date. That obliterated the previous record for the date of 0.80 inches in 1983.
The high was 78 in Key West, where 0.84 of an inch of rain fell.
Marathon also picked up the most rain in the state — 2.45 inches.
Officially, Fort Lauderdale measured 1.27 inches of rain on Wednesday and Homestead reported an unofficial 1.89 inches. Miami checked in with 0.76 of an inch, Naples 0.71 and West Palm Beach, 0.40.
In Central Florida, Orlando received 0.68 of an inch; Melbourne 1.29 inches; Vero Beach, 0.89 and Fort Pierce, 0.58.
West Coast: Tampa, 0.32; Lakeland, 0.48; Sarasota, 0.11; and Fort Myers, 1.16.
Now comes the big late winter warm-up, with temperatures hitting 80 around most of the state on Friday and the mid-80s by early next week, according to the National Weather Service.
DROUGHT CONDITIONS UNCHANGED: The U.S. Drought Monitor continued to designate coastal South Florida and East-Central Florida as Abnormally Dry with a slice of Moderate Drought (D1) running from Brevard County south into Martin County.
Dryness and drought only exist in southeastern Florida. Several tenths of an inch fell on northern sections of the dry area, and little or none fell on central and southern portions,” NOAA’s Richard Tinker wrote on Thursday. “No substantial changes in conditions and impacts were noted, so the Drought Monitor depiction remained the same as last week.”
Note, however, that although the drought report is released on Thursday, it only covers conditions through Tuesday.