Daytona Beach sets record high; cool-down expected next week

Daytona Beach set a record high Sunday with 86, a degree warmer than the previous record of 85 set four years ago in 2015.

The National Weather Service in Miami said coastal South Florida could be flirting with record warm lows this week, but that hasn’t happened yet. Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach all bottomed out at 73 on Sunday, considerably above average but short of records.

However, Key West posted a record warm low with a sultry 77, beating the old mark of 76 set in 1992.

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(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

If you’re worried that the cool weather is over in Florida, here’s a heartening forecast: Temperatures next week, and perhaps the week after, may be slightly cooler than normal, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. AccuWeather is showing some highs in the mid-70s in South and Central Florida next week, along with some lows in the lower 60s.

The normal low in Miami for this time of the year is 65.

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POLAR VORTEX IN REVIEW: No question that the Midwest is coming off a terrible winter — not only a cold one but a snowy one. In hindsight, we can get an idea of just how bad it really was.

The National Weather Service has confirmed a new all-time low temperature record in Illinois: 38 below zero in Mt. Carroll in the northwestern part of the state on January 31. That’s about 130 miles northwest of Chicago.

A team of experts from NOAA confirmed the temperature, which beat the old record of 36 below zero in Congerville, set on January 5, 1999.

“The station rests in a relative depression, conducive to pooling of cold air, and observations slightly cooler than immediate neighbors are not an uncommon occurrence,” NOAA said in an official report on the temperature reading.

“Personnel from WFO Quad Cities visited the site in the days following the observation. They found the site to be in proper working order, that standard observing practices were followed and that the station instruments successfully compared to a reference instrument.”

On Weather Underground’s Category 6 blog, meteorologist Jeff Masters noted: “All-time state temperature records are very hard to beat. The extreme heat associated with the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s generated almost half of the all-time state highs that exist today. Interestingly, that decade also produced more of the currently standing all-time record lows than any other decade.

“Since 2000, there have been just two new all-time state cold records set: in 2011 in Oklahoma (-31°F at Nowata on Feb. 10) and in 2009 in Maine (-50°F on Jan. 16 the Big Black River near Saint Pamphile, PQ). One all-time state heat record has been set since 2000 (113°F at Columbia University of South Carolina on June 29, 2012) and one has been tied (120°F near Fort Pierre, South Dakota, on July 15, 2006, a record first set in 1936).”

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After frosty mid-week, highs back in 80s by Saturday

CFL wind chills

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Wednesday early morning temperatures were around 5 degrees cooler than forecast as the March Arctic blast took hold over the Florida peninsula.

It was 53 in Miami, 50 in Palm Beach and the Naples area, but in the mid- to upper-40s in interior sections of Collier County and around Lake Okeechobee. The 60s were restricted to the Keys.

It was in the low- to mid-40s in Central Florida and a temperature of 37 was posted by a Weather Underground observer in Longwood, in Seminole County just north of Orlando.

Temps were in the low- to mid-30s in North Florida with a few spots reporting freezing temperatures near Lake City, while the Jacksonville area was in the upper 30s.

A few spots in the far western panhandle were in the upper 20s including a reading of 28 near Milton.

Nationally, temperatures were in the teens as far south as Tennessee — it was 15 degrees in Nashville. Single digits were posted as far south as Central Illinois, Indiana and Ohio with some below zero readings in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and east into Upstate New York.

In fact, there wasn’t a warm temperature anywhere in the U.S. around sunrise on the East Coast. You had to go to the Bahamas (Nassau) to see temps in the 70s and it was in the mid- to upper-70s in the Yucatan.

Highs will struggle to reach 70 in South Florida, National Weather Service forecasters said — and may not make it places like West Palm Beach. In Miami, it will be the first day since Valentine’s Day — February 14 — that the high fails to reach at least 80. That’s a streak of 19 consecutive days with highs of 80 or above, matched in Fort Lauderdale.

March temperatures have been running around 5 degrees above average in South Florida but this cold snap will throw temperature anomalies for a loop, since three straight days with below normal temperatures are likely.

Highs should be back into the 80s by Saturday from Miami to Orlando to Tampa.

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WINTER IN REVIEW: February was the second warmest on record for most South Florida cities, right behind the warmest February ever — just one year ago.

Runner-up status occurred in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Naples, although West Palm Beach posted its fourth warmest February, the National Weather Service said in an analysis posted Tuesday.

Winter temperature anomalies

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

“Despite a near-normal January and a slightly warmer than normal December, the 2018-2019 meteorological winter season (December – February) ended up among the top 25 warmest on record,” NWS meteorologists said.

“The slow and late-developing El Niño episode likely played a small role in keeping our temperatures close to normal for most of the first 2 months, due at least in part to more frequent frontal passages and a few more cloudier days relative to normal. However, the weak nature of this winter’s El Niño meant that it was overridden by other factors such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO), which resulted
in the abnormally warm February pattern.”

The 2018-2019 winter was the eighth straight warmer-than normal winter in South Florida, analysts said. The last cooler-than-normal winter was 2010-2011.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for more above normal temperatures from March (the cold snap should be history by Friday) through May, “essentially a continuation of the pattern observed in February.”

The outlook also calls for a wetter than normal spring in South Florida.

How much rain will Florida get, and where will it fall?

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Expected rainfall in South Florida through Friday morning, above; East-Central Florida below.  The Tampa area is expecting up to an inch through Wednesday; Jacksonville, around a half-inch. (Image credits: NWS-Miami/ NWS-Melbourne)

CFL expected rainfall

The National Weather Service has been adjusting the projected area of heaviest rain for Tuesday and Wednesday a bit south, into the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, where up to 3.68 inches could hit Miami through Friday.

Two inches are more likely, and the rest of South Florida is in line for an inch to an inch and a half.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne sees around a half-inch for Daytona Beach and more than an inch to the south in Stuart.

In any case, Miami was short 0.65 inches of rain as of Tuesday; Fort Lauderdale was down 1.18 inches; and Naples was short 1.08 inches. Of the four major South Florida observation sites, only West Palm Beach still had a small precipitation surplus, 0.08 of an inch, thanks to the 2.05 inches that kicked off the month.

Fort Pierce had a 1.53-inch shortfall while Orlando was down about a half-inch. Melbourne still had a surplus.

On the West Coast, Tampa was down almost 2 inches for the month.

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ECFL forecast temps

Yes, the first weekend of March looks nice, but the first full week of the month may be a bit more dicey. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

MARCHING INTO SPRING: Thursday is the end of meteorological winter and Friday is the first day of meteorological spring, but nature doesn’t pay much attention to the calendar.

The GFS is showing a rather potent cold front barreling into the northern states next week. That’s mostly beyond the forecast period for the National Weather Service, so there’s not much comment about it from forecasters, but the model suggests lows into the 30s in North-Central parts of the Florida peninsula by mid-week. Then a warm-up occurs for the second weekend of the month.

“Still plenty of uncertainty this far out however,” NWS forecasters in Miami noted Tuesday.

The Upper Midwest looks to get slammed by another round of brutally cold air, with lows below zero in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and even down into the Chicago area.

The cold air hits the Midwest early, with Chicago sinking down into the single digits this weekend.

Some of it could make its way into Florida. Accuweather is calling for lows in the 40s the middle of next week in the Orlando area.

In the Northeast, Boston gets a round of below normal weather as well, based on long-range forecasts, but nothing as nasty as the forecast for Minneapolis, which is looking at lows as cold as 14 below zero this weekend and into early next week, according to Accuweather.

Weather Underground’s forecast low in Minneapolis Sunday morning is 15 below.

Vero Beach ties record high as warming trend revs up

five day forecast

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

Sunday was the warmest day in at least a month in South Florida, and parts of Central Florida, too. Vero Beach tied a record high with 83, matching a mark last set in 2014.

It was also 83 in Miami, no record, but the warmest temperature since January 4. The temperature reached 86 out in Kendall.

The National Weather Service’s state summary showed a high of 85 in Pompano Beach; 84 at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport; and 83 in West Palm Beach.

Unofficially, the South Florida Water Management District reported a temperature of 90 on the south end of Lake Okeechobee, and in Broward County, an observer turned in a high of 87 to the National Weather Service. Zoo Miami turned in a reading of 89.

A late week cold front is expected to stall out in North Florida, forecasters said.

AccuWeather is expecting highs of 80 or near 80 for the next week in Miami; ditto for Tampa and Orlando, except for slightly cooler temperatures in Orlando for the upcoming weekend.

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(Image credit: NOAA)

BLAME THE POLAR VORTEX: The Arctic blast that gripped the Midwest last week has left Lake Erie almost completely frozen over, NOAA reported. As of Sunday, about 41 percent of all of the Great Lakes were covered in ice — ice on Lake Erie was pushing 90 percent. Interestingly, that 41 percent is actually down already from its peak of 48 percent on Friday due to rapidly warming temperatures.

“It’s not all that rare. Lake Erie freezes often,” NOAA Researcher Brent Lofgren told the Detroit News. “There aren’t really any negative effects of it. Actually, it will prevent further lake effect snow for that season.”

Lake Erie tends to freeze first — even thought it’s the farthest south — because it’s the most shallow of all the Great Lakes.

“The warm weather isn’t going to have all that big of an effect on Lake Erie. But for other lakes like Lake Michigan, you’ll see a lot of open water again soon because of transport and it’s likely to melt quickly,” Lofgren said.

After dry start, January ends with hefty rainfall surpluses

Chicagao temps

POLAR VORTEX TAKES A POWDER: After a brutally cold mid-week, the Upper Midwest is seeing a dramatic warm-up, with temperatures in the 50s in Chicago by Monday. (Image credit: NWS-Chicago)

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Weather watchers who look back on January 2019 will see a very wet month with mostly average temperatures. The truth is a bit more complicated — the first half of the month was warm and bone-dry; the second half cool and wet.

West Palm Beach capped off the month Thursday with 2.05 inches of rain, bringing the January total to 6.67 inches, 3.54 inches over normal. But through January 23, the area had only recorded 0.30 of an inch, with the rest of it coming over the following eight days. Ten of the final 15 days had below normal temperatures.

Miami didn’t get Thursday’s rain and ended the month with 2 inches, 0.38 of an inch above average. Temperatures were close to normal. Fort Lauderdale was 0.58 of an inch over the January average with 4.21 inches; and Naples was 0.67 of an inch over normal with 2.52 inches.

Key West was warmer and drier than average with a rainfall shortage of 0.29 inches and a temperature 1.9 degrees above average.

Up the coast, Melbourne came in with 4.47 inches (plus-2.2 inches); Fort Pierce, 3.95 (plus-1.38); Vero Beach, 4.04 (plus-1.54); Orlando, 3.5 (plus-1.15); and Daytona Beach, 3.81 (plus-1.07).

West Coast: Tampa, 4.21 inches (plus-1.98); Lakeland, 4.44 (plus-1.8); Brooksville, 3.77 (plus-0.55); and Fort Myers, 5.1 (plus 3.16).

North Florida: Jacksonville, 4.37 inches (plus-1.07 and Gainesville, 5.42 (plus-2.11)

Most locations up and down the peninsula had temperatures within a degree of normal, but Jacksonville ended the month 1.8 degrees above normal and Gainesville was plus-1.9 degrees.

In a big switch from December, Tallahassee turned in a precipitation shortfall in January with 3.47 inches — 0.87 of an inch below average. Apalachicola was down 1.11 inches with 3.29. Temperatures were about a degree above January averages.

FEBRUARY OUTLOOK: This is Florida, after all, and temperatures begin edging up in February. The normal high in Miami goes up from 77 to 79, while the normal low jumps 3 degrees from 61 to 64.

The average high in Orlando goes from 72 on February 1 to 76 on February 28; Tampa’s high skips from 71 to 74.

The February forecast released Thursday by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center calls for above normal temperatures in Florida.

Keys forecast

THIS IS MORE LIKE IT: Highs near 80 are forecast for the Keys on Sunday. (Image credit: NWS-Key West)

Rapid warm-up follows bitter cold in Midwest; 80s in Florida by next week

midwest cold snap

(Image credit: NWS-Chicago)

Folks who live in Chicago woke up Wednesday morning to 22 below zero — that’s actual temperature, not wind chill. The wind chill was forecast to be 51 below zero as winds gust up to 30 mph. The forecast low for Thursday morning is 24 below zero.

In that kind of weather, the only appropriate clothing if you’re standing on a platform waiting to catch a train to work is a space suit.

It was in the single digits as far south as Kentucky and below zero as far south as St. Louis. In northern Minnesota it was 35 below.

The Farmers’ Almanac took the opportunity Wednesday to post a story about famous cold snaps, including one they call The Great Arctic Outbreak of 1899, when parts of the nation saw temperatures as low as 61 below zero, there was ice flowing out of the mouth of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico, and Tallahassee logged its coldest ever temperature: – 2 degrees.

Still historic was the January 1977 cold snap, when places like Miami and Freeport in the Bahamas reported snow flurries.

Here’s the interesting thing about the current cold snap: by Sunday, high temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-40s in Chicago and close to 60 in St. Louis.

Cold snaps, they ain’t what they used to be.

The GFS forecast model is calling for milder weather everywhere in the U.S. for the first week of February, with another mini-blast of Arctic air in the Upper Midwest to start the second week of the month. The Florida peninsula is also due for a warm-up, with some nice beach weather in the 80s — although cold fronts will continue to knock temps back from time-to-time, according to the long-range models.

The weather system that pounded the peninsula over the weekend was far enough east to bring sunny skies to Florida on Tuesday, bringing highs up to around 70 from Orlando to Miami. The warmest temps in the National Weather Service’s state summary were in Winter Haven and West Kendall, which both hit 71.

wcfl temps

Temps in West-Central Florida will be more than 10 degrees below normal Wednesday, with slightly warmer weather in South Florida. A weekend warm-up is also in the cards. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

Another cold front rolls through Florida Wednesday, but forecasters said winds are forecast to swing around to the northeast by Afternoon, moderating temperatures but keeping clouds a few showers in the forecast.

By Friday, temperatures will be up in the mid-70s from Central Florida south, and even north Florida will warm into the mid- to upper-70s on Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rain hammers North-Central Florida; Sunday night lunar eclipse should be super

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SUPERMOON TOTAL ECLIPSE: Skies are forecast to clear over all of Florida by Sunday night, which should make for good viewing (although chilly viewing) of the total lunar eclipse. It occurs at 11:41 EST, when Earth’s shadow moves over the full moon, a dramatic phenomenon that will last for more than an hour. “The eclipse will be ‘super’ both figuratively and literally,” Spaceweather.com writer Tony Phillips says. “During the shadow crossing, the moon will be within 14 hours of perigee, its closest point to Earth. This makes the Moon a ‘supermoon,’ almost 8% wider than an average full Moon. Normally, a supermoon would be about 16% brighter than average. The eclipse, however, will dim the supermoon, allowing stars to pop out around the swollen orb.” The above lunar eclipse was photographed by NASA from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 8, 2003. (Image credit: NASA)

RAINFALL REPORT: It’s been a while since I had to check with CoCoRaHS for statewide rainfall observations — there hasn’t been much to look at. But the strong cold front that started slicing down the peninsula late Saturday did leave some decent rainfall totals in North and Central Florida.

The rain was moving through South Florida early Sunday morning.

Observers in Alachua County reported as much as 1.71 inches near Gainesville, and up to an inch and a half fell in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Orlando northeast to Jacksonville picked up about a half-inch, ditto for Sarasota on the West Coast.

It looks like South Florida will see about a tenth to a quarter of an inch.

TUMBLING TEMPS: Cold air was not rushing in behind the front, but there will be a cold start to the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

It was 74 in Fort Lauderdale at 7 a.m. Sunday, 60 in Tampa and upper 50s in North Florida, but 40s in the panhandle. Temperatures were in the 30s in Alabama and Georgia, the 20s in Tennessee.

But as you approached the Great Lakes area, the Arctic air was really filtering in, with single digits in Chicago east to Indiana and northern Ohio. It was below zero in parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota (with a reading of – 23 degrees in Duluth).

In South Florida and Central Florida, the cold snap will last about 24 hours, with lows in the 30s and 40s Monday morning, according to forecasters, before winds swing around to the east by mid-day.

Highs will be in the 70s by Tuesday and upper 70s by Thursday before the next cold front rolls through.