All-time February temperature records tied or broken in Tampa, Melbourne

CFL hi temps Tuesday

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.

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Excessive rainfall outlook

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.

 

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Record warmth crisscrosses peninsula; panhandle socked with foot of rain

SFL forecast

Record highs may be approached again Monday in South Florida. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

PM UPDATE: Naples scored another record high Monday as the temperature hit 87, beating the old record of 86 set in 1960. It was the fourth consecutive record high in Naples. Several sites in Collier County, including Immokalee, reached 90 degrees Monday.

ORIGINAL POST: Seven Florida cities tied or broke warm temperature records Sunday, while heavy rain pounded the Florida panhandle, triggering floods and washed-out roads.

Naples set another new record high on Sunday with 87, beating the old record of 85 set in 1999. It was the third daily record in a row and the fourth in the past week.

The low in West Palm Beach was 74, setting a new record warm low that had been on the books for 115 years — 73, set in 1903.

Melbourne’s low was 71, beating the previous record warm low of 68 set in 1994.

With a low of 69, Vero Beach set a new record warm low — the previous mark was 68, set in 1994.

Records were tied in Key West (low of 76, matching the mark set in 1994); and Miami (75, equaling the record warm low set in 1994).

And Sanford tied a record high with 87 degrees. That was also last set in 1994.

Panhandle flood warning

Areas west of Panama City were under a Flood Warning Sunday, but rain was expected to taper off in the panhandle on Monday. (Credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

In the Florida panhandle, meanwhile, Walton County was slammed with up to a foot of rain Sunday and Sunday night, leading to a long list of road closures, some of them washed out or badly damaged.

Panama City was socked with an official total of 6.3 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The heavy rain hit areas west of Tallahassee that have been under Moderate to Severe Drought conditions. An updated analysis will be released Thursday, which should show some improvement.

Tampa slammed with record rainfall second Sunday in a row

Tampa area rainfall

Up to 3 inches fell in areas north of Tampa on Sunday, the National Weather Service said. (Image credit: NWS-Tampa)

Tampa was walloped by record rainfall for the second straight Sunday with 2.61 inches — busting a mark of 2.11 inches set 85 years ago in 1933.

On Sunday January 28, Tampa was hit with 3.31 inches, beating the old record of 1.52 inches set way back in 1900.

Amounts of 2 inches or more were common yesterday around Hillsborough County and western Polk County as well. There were reports of up to an inch in Alachua and Citrus counties, and just under an inch to the northeast in Duval County.

South Florida picked up just a few hundredths of an inch, but there were reports in the Fort Myers area of three-quarters of an inch.

Temperatures are expected to be above normal into the weekend, with highs near 80 inland and slightly cooler in coastal areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Keys forecast

NICE: The work week looks pleasant in the Keys — and in much of the central and southern Florida peninsula, forecasters say. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

FLORIDA PANHANDLE AND POINTS NORTH: A new round of heavy rain is expected to target southern states from East Texas to the Carolinas on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to forecasters.

Localized flooding was possible, according to AccuWeather.

Pensacola was looking for ran and thunderstorms starting Tuesday night, with precipitation chances spiking to 70 percent Wednesday and Wednesday night, the National Weather Service said.

NWS forecasters in Miami said high pressure building over the Greater Antilles should keep South Florida — and the Keys — relatively warm and dry.

Central Florida slammed with heavy rain; Tampa smashes 118-year-old record

CFL rainfall

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Record rainfall swamped parts of Central Florida Sunday, with a 3.31-inch deluge reported in Tampa by the National Weather Service. It smashed the previous precipitation mark for January 28 — 1.52 inches set 118 years ago in 1900.

Even heftier amounts were reported to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network north of the city, including an astonishing 4.22 inches west of I-275.

Central Hernando County checked into CoCoRaHS with 3.12 inches; and an observer near Zephyrhills also reported 3.12 inches. Totals in excess of 3 inches were measured in Lake, Hernando and Marion counties.

To the south in Sarasota County, a CoCoRaHS observer near Englewood measured 3.37 inches, while well over 2 inches fell just north of Port Charlotte.

On Florida’s northeast coast, 3.21 inches fell near St. Augustine, according to CoCoRaHS.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne reported 24-hour totals through 7 a.m. Monday of 1.32 inches in Daytona Beach and 1.44 inches in Deland.

Only trace amounts fell in South Florida Sunday, but the National Weather Service in Miami predicted showers would continue through Monday as the cold front that triggered the North Florida storms rolls through.

The coolest post-cold front morning should be Wednesday, the National Weather Service said,  with lows in the 40s and 50s in South Florida. That will be followed by a brief warming trend, according to forecasters, in advance of yet another cold front at the end of the week.

WK34prcp

(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

FEBRUARY OUTLOOK: The Climate Prediction Center will have its updated February forecast out on Wednesday, but it looks like the NOAA agency will stick with its prediction of above-normal temperatures for Florida and below-normal precipitation, consistent with the Pacific’s La Nina.

In fact, the four-week outlook issued Friday suggests that most of the country will be drier than normal for the final month of the 2017-2018 meteorological winter. The new month, which begins Thursday,  may start with closer-to-average precipitation, according to National Weather Service forecasts.

But February is typically the driest month of the year in Florida.

Record warm in Melbourne; meteorologists prepare for the Big Day

Rainfall forecast

New forecasts from the National Weather Service in Tampa suggest significant rainfall across North-Central and East-Central Florida Sunday night, with Orlando and Daytona Beach in line for the heaviest amounts. The Tampa area may be in for about an inch, with around a half-inch forecast for the southeast coast and lighter amounts in the Naples area. (Credit: NWS-TampaBay)

EAST COAST RECORD: Strong easterly winds off the warm waters of the Atlantic led to very mild temperatures Saturday morning up and down Florida’s East Coast. Melbourne registered a record warm low on Saturday of 69 degrees, beating the previous record for January 27 of 67 set in 2002.

Winds gusted up to 25 mph in Melbourne on Saturday.

West Palm Beach reported a wind gust of 36 mph at 11 a.m. Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale each checked in with a 35 mph gust.

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Irma story map

THE TALE OF HURRICANE IRMA FROM THE FLORIDA KEYS: Get the inside story of what happened during last September’s Category 4 storm from the Keys’ perspective. This “Story Map,” produced by the National Weather Service in Key West, features satellite and radar imagery and “behind-the-scene moments” with staff as they tracked the blockbuster hurricane. Go to https://arcg.is/8bvS5 (Credit: NWS-Key West)

 

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Groundhogday2005

The answers to your weather questions will be unveiled at Gobbler’s Knob on Friday.  (Photo credit: Aaron Silvers via Wikimedia Commons)

This is the week weather enthusiasts have been waiting for — it’s Groundhog Day week!

There are events all over the country — many towns have their own version of the weather forecasting groundhog — but Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the epicenter of the Big Day. (A couple of towns in Florida have tried to cultivate their own version of Punxsutawney Phil, including Fort Myers and Lake Worth. But it never really caught on. Perhaps that’s because visitors and snowbirds have the idea that it’s summer all year round, which is untrue. But it’s hard to change people’s perceptions, even when there’s a party at stake.)

Most of the media attention remains focused on Phil, who predicts six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow and an early spring if he doesn’t.

So let’s get right to it: The National Weather Service forecast for Friday is for mostly cloudy skies with a chance of snow showers.

You might say well, that’s it then. Phil won’t see his shadow and so we’re going to be looking at an early spring. But in the past, even on cloudy days, Phil has had a habit of glimpsing his shadow anyway, either through a break in the clouds, or maybe one of the boys on Globbler’s Knob cast a shadow on Phil by lighting a cigar.

Over the last 120 Groundhog Days, Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter 103 times and an early spring 17 times. His forecasts have been correct 39 percent of the time.

Phil does slightly better when he doesn’t see his shadow, according to Live Science. “When Phil predicted a short winter, he was much more likely to be right,” Weather Underground meteorologist Tim Roche said. “Out of the 15 times that he didn’t see his shadow and predicted an early spring, he got it right seven times — that’s a 47 percent accuracy rate.”

You’d have a higher accuracy rate just by flipping a coin, he said, which would give you, in theory, a 50 percent accuracy rate. But I think that’s unfair because it’s difficult for a groundhog to flip a coin.

In any case, this is a week-long celebration in Punxsutawney and it actually kicked off Saturday with the crowning of “Little Mr. and Miss” Groundhog.

Here’s the full schedule of events, including the Thursday morning induction of a Pennsylvania meteorologist into the Meteorology Hall of Fame.

Cold front dumps more than an inch of rain on parts of Florida peninsula

A cold front that zipped down the peninsula on Tuesday dropped some needed rain from north to south — with some areas reporting a few heavy downpours.

An observer for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) near Sunrise in Broward County reported 1.78 inches, and there were nearby reports of more than an inch.

Fort Lauderdale officially picked up 0.22 of an inch, according to the National Weather Service in Miami, and in Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach measured 0.42 of an inch.

CoCoRaHS observers in Brevard County reported a quarter to three-quarters of an inch. On the West Coast, there were reports from Bonita Springs of up to three-quaters of an inch.

In Northwest Florida, the NWS reported a 24-hour total through Wednesday morning of 1.73 inches in Cross City.

Cooler temperatures are in the forecast for the next week — but no Arctic blasts are on the horizon, according to NWS forecasters

With the cold front stalling just south of the peninsula, and high pressure building to the north, the pressure gradient will produce strong winds gusting as high as 25 mph on the East Coast through the weekend, forecasters said.

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Lunar eclipse image

A lunar eclipse will occur on January 31. (Image credit: NASA)

SUPER-DUPER-BLOOD-BLUE-EXTRAVAGANZA-ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME MOON EVENT: Well. The media has been trying to come up with as many superlatives as they can, but you have to wonder if maybe it’s being a little over-sold.

OK, so first of all the January 31 moon will be a full moon, which is always nice if it’s a crystal clear night. Second, it’s going to occur during a perigee, meaning the closest approach to Earth during its orbit, which makes it about 14 percent bright under the right conditions.

Third, it’s the second full moon this month, so that makes it a blue moon. Doesn’t mean that it’s going to look blue, or that you might get depressed looking at it. It’s just that two full moons in a month doesn’t happen all that often.

And fourth, all of this is going to occur at the same time as a lunar eclipse, which means the Earth passes between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow on the moon, giving it a reddish color.

The reason it’s being billed as a once-in-a-lifetime event is that all of these things haven’t occurred at the same time in about 150 years, according to NASA. The last time this happened the U.S. had just wrapped up the Civil War.

Few problems with the hype. One, people on the East Coast, and the Midwest, too, won’t get to see much of the eclipse part. That will mostly be a West Coast thing.

“The eclipse won’t be as noticeable to viewers on the East Coast because the moon is expected to enter only the outer part of Earth’s shadow at 5:51 a.m. EST,” according to NASA’s Space.com. “It is not until 6:48 a.m. EST that the darker part of Earth’s shadow will begin to blanket the moon and create the blood-red tint — and the moon will set less than a half-hour later.”

Calling it a Super Moon may not be exactly right, either, the Farmers’ Almanac says.

“While the January 31st full Moon will be close, it won’t be as close as the prior two full Moons,” the Almanac says.  “Still, there are some who want to stretch the “supermoon” moniker out to include the January 31st full Moon as well.”

Plus, they added: “We’ve heard from many people on Facebook that they’re tired of hearing the term ‘supermoon.'”

So, let’s call it what it is: An interesting lunar event that — if you happen to get up at 6 a.m. on the 31st and have the ambition to step outside — it might be worth a look.

NOTE: The Weather Underground South Florida forecast for the morning of January 31 is for mostly cloudy to cloudy skies with breezy conditions.

Wet weather dead ahead; NWS highlights safety hazards

Rip current deahts

SUNSHINE STATE SAFETY TALK: Pay attention to Rip Current Advisories from the National Weather Service — rip currents can be deadly. As the graphic shows, 135 deaths have occurred in East-Central Florida due to rip currents since 1989 — almost all of the victims men. The statistics were published as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs January 22-26. Each day a different hazard is discussed. Monday covered the dangers of lightning, Tuesday addressed rip currents and other marine hazards, Wednesday will look at tornadoes and thunderstorms, on Thursday it’s hurricanes and flooding, and the week winds down Friday with a discussion of extreme temperatures and wildfires. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

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KEEP UMBRELLAS HANDY: Showers are in the forecast for most of the peninsula as we head into mid-week, but the bulk of the precipitation is likely to fall on South Florida’s East Coast, according to NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center.

Skies are expected to clear out as the week ends, but a low pressure system may develop in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, the National Weather Service says, and that may drive rain chances up again on Sunday and Monday.

Temperatures will be slightly below normal — again — for the end of the week, forecasters said.

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NEW VIEW OF MELTING GLACIERS: “Abundant underground geothermal activity” is combining with higher air temperatures and precipitation to push Greenland ice sheets into the sea, a new study says.

Water temperatures in fjords under some glaciers in northeastern Greenland can approach 60 degrees, which melts ice sheets from below and helps them slide off the land mass, according to researchers from the Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. Their research appeared Monday in the journal Scientific Reports.

“There is no doubt that the heat from the Earth’s interior affects the movement of the ice, and we expect that a similar heat seepage takes place below a major part of the ice cap in the north-eastern corner of Greenland,” says researcher Soren Rysgaard.

They expect the information to be used to better assess the stability of Greenland ice sheets, which contribute to sea level rise as they melt.