Another dozen Florida records challenged or broken; asteroid close shave

The number of warm temperature records posted around the Florida peninsula jumped again from Monday to Tuesday — from seven to 12.

And it looks like the streak will continue into the weekend and into next week.

National Weather Service forecasters in Tampa said: “More record-breaking temperatures possible into the weekend. How do you like it?”

Forecasters in Miami said: “Good news for those who prefer the warmer side of South Florida`s late winter season.”

Here’s the breakdown, from tip to top:

Key West: Monday’s low of 76 tied a record warm low most recently set in 2013; Miami: low of 75 broke the record of 74 set in 1959; Fort Lauderdale: low of 73 tied the record set in 1993; West Palm Beach: low of 74 tied the record set in 1959; Vero Beach: low of 71 tied a record set in 1959; Melbourne: 72-degree low broke a record of 70 set in 2008; Orlando: low of 69 broke the record of 68 set in 1994; Sanford: low of 72 broke the record of 68 set in 1994; and the low in Tampa of 72 broke the old record of 68 set in 1994.

A second record was set in Tampa for the warmest low ever recorded in February. That was previously 71 degrees set on February 10, 1949.

Naples set a new record high of 89, busting the old mark of 86 set in 1960.

The high in Fort Myers was 88, tying a record high set for the date in 2001.

WFL 5 day forecast

(Credit: NWS-TampaBay)

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SPACE ROCK FLY-BY: Another asteroid will thread the needle between Earth and the moon on Thursday. Newly-discovered 2018 CD3 is expected to miss the Earth by 221,234 miles, with the closest approach 2:42 EST.

The asteroid was first discovered on February 10. It’s estimated to be 39.4 feet long and should fly by the planet at 7.66 km/ second.

It’s the 14th asteroid to fly in between the moon and the Earth this year — last year there were a total of 54

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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.

Florida pollen counts are nothing to sneeze at as record warmth continues

February’s spring-like weather in Florida has one big downside: Pollen counts are soaring, causing people with allergies to start their seasonal ritual of sneezing and wheezing.

As of Sunday, Central Florida had the highest pollen counts in the country, with the worst cities identified as Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. Tree pollens are the biggest culprit.

Allergy sufferers are also reaching for the medicine cabinet in Southern California, southern Arizona, and parts of Texas, although those pollen outbreaks are in the medium-high range, a little below Central Florida, according to Pollen.com.

Not surprisingly, 72 percent of the country is in low-pollen status as winter weather in northern latitudes continues unabated.

WFL forecast

(Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

And speaking of weather patterns continuing unabated, warm temperature records were challenged or broken up and down the Florida peninsula on Saturday, with another round likely Sunday.

“The stretch of warm weather will continue with afternoon highs once again near record levels,” the National Weather Service in Tampa said Sunday morning. “Scattered afternoon showers and storms are expected across interior portions of the peninsula this afternoon.

“Is summer here already?”

It was 84 in Tampa on Saturday, tying a record high set 86 years ago in 1932.

On the East Coast, Miami busted a record warm minimum temperature with an incredible low of 74 degrees — beating the old mark of 73 set in 1994. Melbourne also scored a record warm low at 72, smashing the previous record of 67 set in 1986.

Ditto for Vero Beach, where the low of 70 bumped off the previous mark of 68 set in 1982. Fort Pierce tied a record with a low of 70, previously set in 1939.

It doesn’t look like the warm weather is going anywhere. Sunday’s run of the GFS forecast model shows cold fronts getting deflected north of Florida through February 27. NOAA comes out with its new March forecast on Thursday, and it’s likely to show more above-normal temperatures and dry weather for the state, although cold fronts can — and do — often put a chill on early spring weather in Florida.

A disturbance moving up from the Florida Straits Sunday was expected to trigger showers and thunderstorms through the southern part of the peninsula, but then high pressure was forecast to build back in, according to the National Weather Service.

Highs could jump into the upper 80s in parts of South Florida on Monday, forecasters said.

SFL forecast

The official South Florida forecast is for highs in the 80s to continue all week. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

Tampa and Naples notch record highs; islands may ask Washington for storm aid

Tampa beat a 79-year-old high temperature record Friday with 86, besting the old record of 85 set in 1939. Also on Friday, Naples set a record high of 86, beating the previous record for the date set on February 9, 1965.

Several record warm lows were set on Friday as well. As Naples set a record high, the city also set a record warm low with 68, beating the previous mark of 67 set in 2008.

Fort Pierce also set a new record warm low Friday with 70, besting the old mark of 69 set in 1939.

Unofficially, two observation stations in Collier County topped out at 88 degrees Friday.

Expect more record warm lows on Florida’s East Coast — and record highs on the West Coast — over the weekend, the National Weather Service in Miami said.

forecast highs SFL

Full sunscreen alert for visitors to the Orlando attractions, where highs in the mid-80s are forecast this weekend. (Image credits: Above, NWS-Miami; below: NWS-Melbourne)

CFL weekend highs

FUN FEB FACT: February 10 is the first day of the year in which the record high temperature at West Palm Beach has hit 90. That happened in 1949. In Miami, the first 90-degree record high doesn’t occur until March 2; In Fort Lauderdale it’s February 14; Naples, March 8.

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TROPICS TALK: We’re more than three months away from the hurricane season in the continental U.S., but tropical weather is front and center in another part of the country — Hawaii and, to the southwest, American Samoa. The latter was smacked on Friday by Tropical Cyclone Gita, causing high winds, flooding and mudslides.

The U.S. Coast Guard closed the port at Pago Pago, the capital of the island chain. The National Weather Service office there was closed, and forecasts were being issued from Honolulu, according to Radio New Zealand.

The storm damaged homes and caused power outages. American Samoa Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga declared an emergency and said it was likely he’d ask for assistance from the U.S. government in Washington.

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KW radar upgrade

OFFLINE IN THE KEYS: The radar in Key West will be down next week for “a major upgrade,” the National Weather Service said. In the meantime, radar in Miami covers the Keys. (Credit: NWS-Key West)

Forecasts: Balmy spring weather may be followed by early start to hurricane season

ENSO forecast

Neutral ENSO conditions are in the forecast for this summer. What will that mean for the 2018 hurricane season? (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

An unusually warm and dry spring in Florida — and an early start to the hurricane season — were among predictions issued by forecasters Thursday.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its monthly assessment of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions in the tropical Pacific, calling for the current La Niña to transition to neutral conditions during the spring months.

Nevertheless, they see La Niña impacts on North America continuing into the spring season, translating to a March-May period in Florida with above normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.

“The outlooks generally favor above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States, and below-average temperatures and above median precipitation across the northern tier of the United States,” CPC forecasters said.

At the same time, AccuWeather released its spring forecast Thursday, calling for dry conditions through April in Florida, after which “the dry pattern could be turned on its head come May, when an early tropical feature threatens to impact the region.”

AccuWeather forecaster Paul Pastelok warned about May tropical development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the southwestern Atlantic.

“I do feel there’s going to be something popping up,” he said.

Early season tropical storms aren’t unusual in the Atlantic Basin — Tropical Storm Arlene formed last year on April 19. In 2016, Tropical Storm Bonnie formed on May 27 and in 2015, Tropical Storm Ana formed on May 8.

anoma.2.8.2018

(Image credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)

The latest sea surface temperature anomaly assessments by NOAA, also released Thursday, show a lot of below-normal water temperatures have built up off Florida’s coasts, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Caribbean.

After a cool January, high pressure has taken control this month over the southwestern Atlantic and Caribbean, and water temperatures can rise quickly if that pattern holds.

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RECORD WATCH: Melbourne busted a 61-year-old temperature record Thursday with a balmy low of 69. The previous record warm low was 68 set in 1957. The low in Naples was 68, which tied the record warm low set in 1986.

The high in Punta Gorda Thursday was 89; and it was 87 in Fort Myers. But both were short of records for the date.

‘Summertime pattern:’ Feb temps running up to 6 degrees above average

814temp.new

Most of the eastern U.S. is forecast to be warmer than normal over the next two weeks. Warm weather continues to hang on in California and the West Coast as well, but the Upper Midwest may stay in the deep freeze. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The warm spell that spread across much of the Florida peninsula this week started challenging records on Wednesday.

With brisk easterly winds off the Atlantic, there haven’t been any record highs on the state’s East Coast, but record warm lows are popping up. And the above-normal temperatures are forecast to continue through the weekend.

In fact, looking at Thursday’s GFS model runs from Tropical Tidbits, warm temperature anomalies in Florida span out to at least February 24. And NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for above-normal temps in Florida — and all of the southern U.S. — through March 2.

Data tell the tale.

With the first week of February in the books, Miami is running 4.6 degrees above average; Fort Lauderdale is at plus-2.6.; West Palm Beach, plus-5.2; and Naples, plus-4.9 degrees.

Naples tied a record high Wednesday with 86, matching a mark originally set in 1982.

Miami tied a record warm low with 72 — the record was first set back in 1972.

In East-Central Florida, Vero Beach tied a record warm low with 68, matching the record set in 2012.

And the warm temperature anomalies reach far to the north, with Daytona Beach running 4.6 degrees above average for the first week of the month; Melbourne an impressive plus-6.1 degrees; Vero Beach, plus-3.7; and Orlando, plus-3.7 degrees.

On the West Coast, Tampa is at a hefty plus-6.6 degrees; and Fort Myers, plus 4.6.

North Florida is running above average, too, but not to the same extent as Central and South Florida. Jacksonville is at plus-2.9 and Gainesville, plus-2.5.

The reason for the toasty temps is that Florida is under the influence of high pressure, and forecasters predict that will continue into next week.

“Rain chances will remain low with only a slight chance of showers concentrated over the interior along sea breezes, almost like a summertime pattern,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Thursday.

South Florida highs hit upper 80s; solar trend may zap sun’s punch

National 8 am temps

Key West and Marathon were the warmest spots in the U.S. at 8 a.m. Wednesday at 75 degrees. Highs in the Keys were forecast to be near 80. (Credit: NWS-Key West)

Florida’s spring-like weather kicked into high gear Tuesday with highs edging into the upper 80s in parts of interior South Florida, with comfortable 80-degree readings in Central Florida.

Officially, Punta Gorda on the West Coast reached a high of 86, and there was an unofficial report of 87 by the National Park Service in inland Collier County east of Naples.

Highs near 80 were expected Wednesday and Thursday as far north as Gainesville.

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CO2 COUNTER PUNCH: Global warming may be slowed by the middle of the century as a result of an anticipated cool-down of the sun’s power, a phenomenon called a “grand minimum,” a new study concludes.

During a similar event in the 1600s called the Maunder Minimum, temperatures plummeted in Europe, freezing the Thames River and freezing over the Baltic Sea, according to a paper by researchers at the University of California at San Diego. The Swedish army was able to invade Denmark in 1658 by marching across the frozen Baltic.

Sun spot cycles run from minimum to maximum over 11-year periods, and then back again, affecting the sun’s power. But during a grand minimum, ultraviolet radiation is reduced an additional 7 percent, the researchers wrote in the publication, Astrophysical Journal Letters.

They reconstructed past grand minimum events using historical and geological data.

“Now we have a benchmark from which we can perform better climate model simulations,” said Dan Lubin, a physicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. “We can therefore have a better idea of how changes in solar UV radiation affect climate change.”

UC-San Diego said in a news release posted Monday: “Despite how much the Maunder Minimum might have affected Earth the last time, Lubin said that an upcoming event would not stop the current trend of planetary warming, but might slow it somewhat.

“The cooling effect of a grand minimum is only a fraction of the warming effect caused by the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”