Another weekend, another cold snap

SUNDAY UPDATE: No breakfasting on the patio by the pool this morning — temps were just too chilly. North Palm Beach County temperatures sank to 43 degrees and it was only nine degrees warmer in Miami at 52. A warming trend starts Tuesday and temperatures are forecast to be near 80 by the end of the week. In fact, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal temperatures for the entire state well into next week. But the final week of the month is expected to bring more chilly weather to the Florida peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

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Projected lows for the next seven days in West-Central Florida will be stuck in the 40s, with some lows in the mid-30s in Brooksville. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

ORIGINAL POST: Bundle up for a cool weekend and a cool upcoming week with lows mostly dipping into the 40s in South Florida and only rising into the mid-60s for highs.

Normal highs are in the mid- to upper-70s this time of the year but we won’t see weather that warm until late in the week, according to the National Weather Service.

“The primary short-term weather concern is focused on low temperatures for late tonight into Sunday morning,” forecasters in Miami said Saturday morning. “Trends have been holding steady over the past few days, and while it will be cool, tonight’s lows don’t appear to be quite on par with some of the colder nights we`ve had so far this winter. That said, readings will be on the cool side.”

Forecast lows:

Lake Okeechobee/northern inland areas: lower to mid 40s;
Gulf Coast/coastal Collier County: around 50;
Palm Beach metro: upper 40s;
Miami/Broward metro: around 50;
Southern inland areas/far western Miami/Broward metro: upper 40s.

Forecast lows in Orlando and parts of Central Florida will be stuck in the 40s through Thursday morning.

Parts of North Florida were under a Freeze Watch for Sunday morning, and lows will linger in the 30s through at least Wednesday morning.

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CALAMITY IN CALIFORNIA? Santee, California, northeast of San Diego, had the nation’s high on Friday with 96. It was 92 in Anaheim, 94 in Vista and 88 in San Diego itself, an all-time high for January.

Punishing Santa Ana winds were gusting as high as 87 mph on Friday, an unusual January occurrence that has prompted wild fire concerns during what is normally the area’s wet season.

The last major rainfall in Southern California was just after Christmas, and it’s been drying out since then. Some brush fires have already popped up, and more strong and dry winds forecast for next week are expected to increase fire threats.

“It’s been so incredibly dry through the fall and winter that fuels are still incredibly dry,” Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, told The Washington Post on Friday. “If we’d had lots of rain in December and everything was all green now, I don’t think we’d think much about fire weather.”

Key West record: 122 days with 80-plus degree lows

(Image credit: NOAA)

THURSDAY UPDATE: The next cold front was racing across the Gulf of Mexico toward the Florida peninsula Thursday morning. It was forecast to arrive on the peninsula’s southwest coast around 4 a.m. Friday, dragging cold air behind it. Another chilly weekend will follow, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday morning will see the coldest temperatures. Forecast lows: Miami, 54; West Palm Beach and Naples, 48; Orlando, 40; Tampa, 43; Gainesville, 33 (with widespread frost); Jacksonville, 36 (with areas of frost); Lake City, 32 (widespread frost); and Tallahassee, 33 (ditto).

If it’s any consolation, and I think it is, the same storm system is forecast to dump snow Friday in eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia and into the Carolinas and Virginia. So Florida remains a desired destination, with its relatively palatable weather this weekend.

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2020 weather highlights in the Florida Keys. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

KEYS YEAR IN REVIEW: 2020 was the second-warmest year on record in Key West and the fourth-warmest in Marathon, the National Weather Service said this week.

“Helping to fuel the warmer year was an abundance of warmer low temperatures,” the Weather Service said in a report, with 103 daily warm overnight temperature records set or tied in Marathon and Key West, where records date back to 1872 (1950 in Marathon).

Monthly warm minimum temperature records were set or tied in Key West in March, April, May, June, and September.

Another notable stat: Key West had 122 days in 2020 in which the low failed to drop below 80 degrees, more than double the annual average of 53 days.

“It was also a wet year. Marathon measured 64.55 inches of rainfall last year, putting it at 18.38 inches above normal and the second wettest year on record.

“Key West measured 52.30 inches of rainfall, 12.47 inches above normal,” putting it in the top 10 percent of wettest years in the island’s 150-year history.

Click here for the full report.

Record breaking warmth has dominated much of Florida since 2015, Weather Service says

What’s happening to the climate in Florida? It definitely hasn’t been business as usual, the National Weather Service said in an eye-opening new report published on Saturday by forecasters in Melbourne.

“The annual weather summaries for east central Florida over the past several years have ended up sounding like a broken record, especially in terms of temperatures,” meteorologist Derrick Weitlich said. “Pronounced warmer than normal conditions have largely continued to dominate the weather pattern across the region since 2015, with annual average temperatures from that year onward for many sites ranking in the top 5 warmest.”

The NWS in Miami said Saturday that all four major observation sites in South Florida — Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Naples — had their warmest year on record in 2020.

Melbourne reports that in East-Central Florida, Leesburg and Sanford tied for their warmest year on record with the note that, “if not for the colder than normal weather that moved into the region in December, it likely would have been the warmest year on record for the majority of climate sites” across the area.

December came in 2-3 degrees below average from Daytona Beach down to Stuart, including Orlando — something that has not occurred in East-Central Florida since March of 2018.

“It is also interesting to note that while it was cold in December, no freezing temperatures occurred at the primary climate
sites, continuing a long stretch of temperatures remaining above 32 degrees since January of 2018 . . . Outside of December, all other months and seasons during 2020 had average temperatures that were either near or above normal, with many ranking within the top 10 warmest.”

Orlando posted 10 high temperature records in 2020, with zero low temperature records. The city had one record cool high temperature — but a whopping 43 warm minimum temperature records. Orlando also had 177 days last year in which the low was at least 70 degrees or warmer, the highest number for any year on record. Notably, the previous record — 171 days — was sset in 2019.

The number of days when the temperature didn’t dip below 70 also set records in Leesburg (172); Sanford (165); and Vero Beach (204). All these cities beat records set in 2019. One exception: Fort Pierce, with 201 days over 70 degrees, remained in second place behind 1929, which had 207.

The NWS Miami office reported last week that areas of East-Central Broward County had rainfall totals in excess of 100 inches in 2020. Thanks to some wet tropical storms during the blockbuster hurricane season, 70-90 inches of rain hammered the Treasure Coast.

“There were even some localized spots in the Stuart and Hobe Sound area that reached up to 95 to 100 inches in 2020,” Weitlich said. “Fort Pierce and Stuart both had annual precipitation totals that ranked as 4th wettest on record for each site. In contrast there were some spots that ended drier than normal, such as Leesburg and Sanford airports that had totals that were 11 to 12 inches below normal for the year.”

Access the full report by clicking here.

West-Central Florida, also despite a cooler than normal December, ended 2020 with “all sites likely ending up with a Top Ten Warmest year,” the National Weather Service in Tampa reported.

2020 was warmest year on record in South Florida cities

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

It’s official — 2020 was the hottest year on record around South Florida. Despite a chilly December, annual temperature records were set in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Naples.

In the case of Miami and Naples, last year edged out 2019 as the warmest year on record.

In Central Florida, Leesburg tied 2017 as the warmest year on record.

Note that in some Florida cities, records only go back to the 1940s or 1950s, but in West Palm Beach they date back to 1888, and in Miami to 1895. So these records are nothing to sniff at, especially when you consider that they beat previous annual temperature records set in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

AND THE HEAT GOES ON: Sanford tied a daily record high on Friday with 85, matching the mark set in 1991. Another day of near-record highs were in the forecast for Saturday: Daytona Beach’s record high for January 2 is 82, set in 2006; Saturday’s forecast high is 84.

Record warm lows were set or tied Friday in Jacksonville (66); Daytona Beach (67); Melbourne (71); and Vero Beach (70).

The stalled cold front that’s been soaking North Florida and the panhandle — Apalachicola picked up 1.29 inches of rain Friday and the Tallahassee area was under a Flash Flood Watch — is forecast to get kicked down the Florida peninsula on Sunday night. The National Weather Service said it would lose much of its convective punch as it moves south, but much cooler temperatures are expected to take hold early next week.

So far, we aren’t looking at the kind of cold temps we saw on Christmas weekend, but they’ll feel chilly after highs in the 80s and balmy overnight lows in the upper 60s and 70s.

In South Florida, lows in coastal areas should be in the 50s on Tuesday and Wednesday, with lows in the 40s in the interior.

A warming trend brings temps to more seasonal levels by the end of the week.

December goes out cool and dry; but 2020 was hot-hot-hot!

(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

FRIDAY UPDATE: A cold front was expected to stall out over North Florida this weekend and bring heavy rain to parts of the Florida panhandle. The front is forecast to get picked up and move south through the peninsula early next week, bringing “seasonably cool” temperatures to South Florida.

RECORD WATCH: West Palm Beach tied a record warm low Thursday with 74 degrees, matching a mark set in 2015.

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NOAA issued its January forecast Thursday, calling for above normal temperatures in Florida and most of the U.S., with the exception of the Southwest. Highest chances of above normal temps are in the Great Lakes States and the Northeast. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

It was an up-and-down temperature month around the Florida peninsula, but December overall will go into the books as a cooler than normal month thanks to four strong cold fronts.

Most cities turned in slight precipitation deficits for December.

The absolute final data won’t be available until next year . . . which is just hours away . . . but here are the near-final figures through Wednesday.

Miami is finishing the month with temperatures running 1.4 degrees below average, and a 0.38 of an inch rainfall shortage. It was the only month of 2020 with below normal temps except for May, when the city finished a half-degree below normal. The month with the biggest temperature anomaly was April, when temps ran 6.1 degrees above average.

Key West was 1.7 degrees below average through New Year’s Eve, and the island also turned in a slight precipitation deficit at -0.71 of an inch. December was the only month of 2020 with below average temps in Key West, and like Miami, the biggest temperature anomaly was in April.

Central Florida turned in an even chillier December performance, with Orlando at 3.8 degrees below average and a rainfall deficit of 1.46 inches. Like Key West, December was the only month of the year with below normal temperatures, but the warmest month compared to normal was March, when the city finished the month at an impressive 7.1 degrees above average.

Tampa had a December temperature deficit of 2.4 degrees, along with a light precipitation surplus of 0.39 of an inch. It was the only month of the year with below average temperatures; March had the largest temperature anomaly at plus-7 degrees.

Jacksonville is ending December 3.1 degrees below average for the month, with a precipitation shortfall of 0.37 of an inch. July in Jacksonville was also slightly below normal — just a tenth of a degree; and June had a temperature deficit of four-tenths of a degree. Jacksonville’s warmest month compared to average was March, with temperatures a whopping 9.1 degrees above normal.

Tallahassee ended December at -2.5 degrees with a precipitation deficit of 0.73 of an inch. It was the only month of the year with below normal temps — and like a lot of other cities, March was the warmest compared to average, at plus-8.9 degrees.

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RECORD WATCH: Vero Beach tied a record warm low Wednesday with 69 degrees, matching a record for the date set just one year ago.

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2021 OUTLOOK: My prediction for the new year weather in Florida: Hot, especially from around May into September and October, followed by slightly cooler temperatures in November and December. (You’re pretty safe with that right?)

Happy New Year!

Sunday update: Naples posts record cool high

Sunday morning temps in West-Central Florida. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

One last cold morning, and that will be it for the rest of the year!

Which is only five days.

Sunday morning lows: Miami, 52; West Palm Beach, 47; Fort Lauderdale, 51; Naples, 46; Orlando, 37; Daytona Beach, 35; Tampa, 37; Gainesville, 24; Cross City, 22; Jacksonville, 27; Tallahassee, 25.

Sunday forecast highs: Miami, 72; Orlando, 66; Tampa, 67; Jacksonville, 61; Tallahassee, 58.

Winds turn northeast today and bring in warmer air off the Atlantic. In fact, from Tuesday night through Friday night, forecast lows for South Florida’s East Coast are in the 70s, a far cry from the Christmas cold snap.

A cold front is due to roll down the Florida peninsula Friday night into Saturday, but the National Weather Service says it won’t be packing much of a punch by the time it arrives in South Florida.

RECORD WATCH: Saturday’s high in Naples was only 60 degrees, which set a record for the coolest high for December 26. The previous record was 61, set in 1993.

Jacksonville ties record high; temps hit mid- to upper-80s in South Florida

Dense fog in South Florida’s interior areas was expected to lift by mid-morning on Tuesday, but more fog could return on Wednesday morning. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

With southwest winds dominating ahead of a weak cold front, Florida’s East Coast baked in record or near-record temps on Tuesday.

Jacksonville tied a record high with 82, matching the mark set 20 years ago in 2000. All the way down the coast, Miami and Fort Lauderdale both checked in with 85, just 2 degrees off their record highs of 87.

It was 84 in West Palm Beach; 79 in Orlando (81 at Orlando Executive Airport); 81 in Melbourne; 82 in Vero Beach; 76 in Tampa; and 80 in Fort Myers. Unofficially, it was 87 in Margate and in Hollywood in Broward County and 87 in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade.

The cold front that slid down the peninsula overnight won’t do much to temperatures, the National Weather Service said, but it was responsible for socking in parts of interior South Florida with dense fog. It was forecast to clear by mid-morning, but another round is possible Wednesday morning, forecasters said.

The massive storm that is poised to smack the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with more than a foot of snow in some places — 14 inches are in the forecat for New York City — will spin off another cold front near the end of the week. Cooler temps are on tap, but nothing like the cold snap we had last week.

NWS Miami: “Although this storm system across the Mid-Atlantic and northeast appears to be rather strong, the influence on south Florida will be rather weak . . . There will be a modest cool down, especially across our cool favored interior, however, much of the region will only see a modest change in temperatures through week`s end.”

AND IN THE “AIN’T YOU GLAD YOU’RE IN FLORIDA” CATEGORY: The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast were bracing for a brutal Nor’easter. Forecast snow totals have been increasing. See below for expected impacts in the New York area:

A closer look at the Florida peninsula’s record-busting fall

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

More info is trickling in on an unsually wet and warm November around the Florida peninsula, and in some cases a record-breaking fall (September through November).

Daytona Beach set a new record average temperature for the meteorological fall, with 77.2 degrees, beating the old mark of 76.2 degrees set in 2015.

Sanford and Leesburg also had their warmest fall on record, while Orlando, Melbourne and Vero Beach had their second-warmest.

November temps in West-Central Florida were in the top five since record keeping began, in some cases going back to 1890. Tampa had its third-warmest November at 74.6 degrees compared to a normal average of 69.2.

The Sarasota-Bradenton area was just a tick above that with 74.7 — also the third warmest November on record, according to the National Weather Service.

Six West-Central observation centers had their warmest autumn on record. They include Sarasota-Bradenton, Winter Haven, Tampa, Bartow, Inverness and Brooksville. Lakeland, Arcadia, and Chiefland has their second-warmest autumn on record.

Thanks to the visit last month by Tropical Storm Eta, several sites had a top-five wettest November on record, including Punta Gorda (record wettest); Sarasota-Bradenton and Venice (second-wettest); Tampa (third-wettest); St. Petersburg (fourth wettest) and Lakeland (fifth wettest).

In addition, Arcadia had its second-wettest fall on record.

On the East Coast, Fort Lauderdale had its wettest fall on record with 47.58 inches of rain from September 1 through November 30. That smashed a 96-year-old record set in 1924, when 43.47 inches fell.

West Palm Beach had its warmest fall on record, posting an average temperature (considering the highs and lows) of 80.8 degrees for the three-month period. That beat the old record of 80.1 degrees set in 1986.

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TROPICS WATCH: The National Hurricane Center posted its off-season map Thursday morning, which it maintains through June 1 unless there’s an off-season threat. The disturbance in the eastern Atlantic, which had been given a slight chance of subtropical development earlier in the week, was continuing to weaken, forecasters said.

Frost reported in South Florida; wettest fall on record in Fort Lauderdale

In case you forgot . . . the National Weather Service in Tampa issued this timely reminder on Wednesday morning. (Image credit: NOAA)

Forget about sweater weather. Wednesday morning’s temperatures were of the Arctic variety, with lows in the 20s north Orlando. Gators got out the heavy coats in Gainesville, where the temperature bottomed out at 26, according to the National Weather Service.

That was actually a degree colder than Tallahassee, where the apparent low was 27.

Other morning lows: Miami, 53 (coldest since February 29); Fort Lauderdale, 51; West Palm Beach, 47; and Naples, 45. Frost was seen in some western interior areas of South Florida, NWS forecasters reported on Facebook.

East-Central Florida: Orlando, Melbourne, and Daytona Beach, 39 (coldest temperature in Orlando since January 22); Vero Beach, 42; and Fort Pierce, 44. Orlando’s high on Tuesday was only 56, which tied a record cool maximum temperature record set in 1957; and Melhourne’s high of 58 tied a record cool high set in 1963.

West-Central: Tampa and Sarasota, 41 (Coldest temperature in Tampa since February 22); Brooksville, 35; St. Petersburg, 35; and Punta Gorda, 39.

North Florida: Gainesville, 26; Cross City, 24; Jacksonville, 28; and Tallahassee, 27.

If you wanted weather that felt like Florida, you had to go down to the Keys. Key West’s apparent low was 62, still chilly by their standards. Marathon broke into the 50s with 59 degrees, and it got down to 56 in Key Largo.

The Big Warm-up starts this afternoon when winds swing around to the northeast, bringing in air modified by the still-warm Atlantic. The National Weather Service is calling for more seasonal temperatures for the rest of the week, followed by another cold front on Saturday. The air behind that front won’t be as cold as what we had today, forecasters say.

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RECORD WATCH: Fort Lauderdale had its wettest fall on record with 47.58 inches of rain from September 1 through November 30. That smashed a 96-year-old record set in 1924, when 43.47 inches fell.

West Palm Beach had its warmest fall on record, posting an average temperature (considering the highs and lows) of 80.8 degrees for the three-month period. That beat the old record of 80.1 degrees set in 1986.

Daytona Beach set a new record average temperature for the meteorological fall, with 77.2 degrees, beating the old mark of 76.2 degrees set in 2015.

Leesburg’s average fall temperature was 77.5, which beat the previous record of 77.2 — set just last year.

Jacksonville set a new all-time record warm low for the month of November with 76 degrees (November 11), and set a new all-time high temperature for the month with 85 (November 11). Gainesville tied a record warm low for the month of November with 73 (November 10).

Strong storms possible on Monday, NOAA says

(Image credit: NOAA/ SPC)

SATURDAY UPDATE: Strong thunderstorms are in the National Weather Service forecast for North and Central Florida on Monday, but it’s still unclear how much weather South Florida might get out of the system, which will accompany the strongest cold front of the season.

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has Central and North Florida under a “Marginal” risk for severe weather, including gusty winds, heavy rain and frequent lightning strikes.

RECORD WATCH: Several temperature records were tied or broken on Thanksgiving Day, according to the National Weather Service. Fort Lauderdale tied a record warm low with 75 degrees, matching a mark set in 2007.

In the panhandle, Tallahassee’s high of 83 tied a record set 93 years ago in 1927. And Apalachicola broke a record high with 81, beating the old record of 80 set in 1985.

TROPICS WATCH: Two disturbances in the Atlantic — one southwest of Bermuda and one northeast of the Azores — had a 30 percent chance of subtropical development over the next five days. For the first low, that’s down from 40 percent on Friday.