Heat shatters records throughout Florida

keys-high-temps

Record-setting weather was possible in the Keys on Monday and other parts Florida. (Credit: NWS-Key West)

Temperature records were shattered across the Florida peninsula Sunday and more heat was on tap to start the week.

Here’s the Sunday snapshot:

  • The temperature at Miami International Airport only dropped to 79, easily busting the old record warm minimum of 74 set 83 years ago in 1933.
  • The low was 77 in Fort Lauderdale, beating the old mark of 75 set in 2006.
  • It was 77 in West Palm Beach, destroying the previous warm record low of 73 set in 2006.
  • In Central Florida, Daytona Beach hit 68 for a low, tying the record warm low set in 1961.
  • Sunday’s low in both Melbourne and Orlando was 67, tying marks for the date last set in 1961.
  • Tampa tied a record high on Sunday with 84, last set in 1933; Lakeland broke a record with 89, busting the previous record of 84 set last year on Dec. 18.
  • Fort Myers set a record high with 88, shattering the previous mark of 85 set in 1967. A record warm low was also set with 71, beating the previous mark of 69 set in 2009.
  • Jacksonville set a record high with 83, beating the 81-degree mark set in 2008; and Gainesville set a record high Sunday with 86, beating the 84-degree record set in 1967.

west-coast-high-temps

More record heat is forecast for the western peninsula on Monday. (Credit: NWS-Tampa)

Monday morning’s apparent low in West Palm Beach was 74 — the record warm low is 73 set in 1931. Other Monday morning apparent lows: 77 in Fort Lauderdale (75 in 2006) and 77 in Miami (75 in 1931);

A U.S. Climate Reference Network station near Everglades City southeast of Naples in Collier County reported a Sunday high of 90.

Record highs were expected in the Keys on Monday.

Balmy nights settle into Florida

Florida is in the middle of a string of unseasonably warm winter nights.

Well, technically late fall nights. The winter solstice is due to arrive at 5:44 a.m. EST on Wednesday, which will usher in the astrological winter season, running until Monday, March 20 at 6:29 a.m. EDT.

South Florida can usually count on getting some sort of winter chill, Arctic air that hustles down from the Canadian border faster than a bunch of college students heading to Fort Lauderdale for spring break. By the time it arrives, it can leave a chilly night or two in the 30s.

814temp-new
Ultra-warm winter temps are forecast for the U.S. East and Midwest as the year winds down. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)

But for now, air conditioners are humming, flip-flops are flip-flopping, and sun tan lotion is flying off the shelf. There is no cold air in sight.

Miami reported a low on Saturday of 76, which busted the previous record warm low for the date set way back in … wait for it … 2015. Yup, some savvy meteorology types have noticed a trend here, although the term climate change is not getting a very friendly reception in Washington these days, so it’s best not to dwell on it.

Saturday’s low in West Palm Beach was 72 and the record for the date is 75, so no cigar. But Sunday morning’s apparent low was 76 at Palm Beach International Airport, and since the current record warm low for Dec. 18 is 73 (set in 2006), it looks like this one’s headed for the record books.

Fort Lauderdale reported a sultry 77-degree low on Sunday, while the coolest morning temp at Miami International Airport was a muggy 78.

The Dolphins aren’t the only thing that’s hot in South Florida.

Out in the Everglades, the alligators are checking their calendars twice and the black bears are yawning because let’s face it, there just hasn’t been much hibernation weather lately. Saturday’s high near Everglades City was a toasty 89, an observer reported to the National Weather Service in Miami.

Another unseasonably warm night and morning is due Monday, forecasters said.

Central Florida is unseasonably warm, too — Saturday’s low at Vero Beach was 70, busting the previous warm minimum temperature mark of 69 set in 1964.

The steamiest Saturday morning low in the state was in the Keys — Marathon checked in with a minimum temperature of 79 degrees.

Florida East Coast vulnerable to tsunami, UM researchers warn

When you think tsunamis you think Pacific Ocean landmasses — Hawaii, coastal areas of Asia, maybe even the U.S. West Coast.

But a study announced Wednesday by the University of Miami says tsunamis can hit Florida’s East Coast after “submarine landslides” on the Great Bahama Bank. Such tsunamis have been generated in the past, researchers said, and could potentially happen again.

2004_indian_ocean_earthquake_maldives_tsunami_wave“The short distance from the slope failures to the coastlines of Florida and Cuba makes potential tsunamis low-probability but high-impact events that could be dangerous,” said Jara Schnyder, lead author of the study at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Underwater landmasses along the Bahamas archipelago are capable of slipping 12 miles into the basin, triggering waves that would smash into the Florida peninsula as well as the northern coast of Cuba.

One problematic area has already been identified — a 70-mile-long strip capable of triggering an underwater landslide by an earthquake, which occasionally occurs off the Cuban coast.

“Residents in these areas should be aware that tsunamis do not necessarily have to be created by large earthquakes, but can also be generated by submarine landslides that can be triggered by smaller earthquakes,” said Rosenstiel School Professor of Marine Geosciences Gregor Eberli, senior author.

The study, Tsunamis caused by submarine slope failures along western Great Bahama Bank, was published in the Nov. 4 issue of Scientific Reports.

Waves several meters high could reach the Florida coast about 20 minutes after the landslide, researchers said.

*

The weather outside is frightful — if you live in the Northeast or Midwest. But in South Florida it’s … well … delightful.

The peninsula will approach the Christmas holiday next week “in a rather summer-like fashion,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said in their analysis Friday morning. Translation: Possible record high temperatures and even more likely record warm lows that struggle to fall below 75 degrees on the East Coast.

A very summery area of high pressure is expected to build in the Atlantic, pumping unusually warm air over the Florida peninsula while keeping conditions mostly sunny and dry through early next week.

A cold front that does try to limp down the peninsula by the middle of next week probably will probably give up in North or Central Florida, although it could juice the atmosphere enough to trigger a few East Coast showers. High temperatures will remain above normal — normal being mid- to high 70s.

Through Monday, though, highs should click up to the mid-80s, “near or above record highs.”

The green and red sweaters with the reindeer and the snowman will have to be kept in the back of the closet for another time.

Image: A tsunami strikes the Maldives, southwest of Sri Lanka, on Dec. 26, 2004. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Record warm temps in Florida as snow, sub-zero weather grips Midwest, Northeast

buffalo-snow

Upstate New York braces for a winter weather battering. (Credit: NWS-Buffalo)

A blast of cold Canadian air is poised to hammer the Great Lakes area and leave up to 2 feet of lake-effect snow. People in places like Grand Rapids, Mich., Cleveland and Buffalo are in for a rough end to the week, forecasters say.

Thursday morning’s forecast low in Chicago is 2, with 30 mph winds. That should put wind chill values down to around -17. It warms up on Friday, but up to 8 inches of snow is expected over the weekend.

Christmas weekend temperatures could make it into the 40s, however.

Temperatures in South Florida will be running above normal over the next week, according to the National Weather Service, particularly overnight lows. Average temperatures are mid- to upper-70s with lows in the upper 50s.

The forecast for the next few days is for highs in the low 80s and lows in the upper 60s to near 70. But over the weekend and early next week, lows may only sink into the mid-70s as winds swing around to the southeast.

That could mean a few record warm low temperatures. The forecast low Saturday, Sunday and Monday in West Palm Beach is 75 degrees. Records range from 73-75, so a few marks may be set or tied.

*

THE BING THING: A lot of offices are playing Christmas music this time of the year, mine in particular, which has it on 24/7 — even when nobody’s there, I think. So when you open up in the morning you get hit immediately with the sounds of Tony, Perry and Bing.

And of course The Carpenters.

So even though we’re in South Florida, you always wonder, just briefly, what the odds are of a white Christmas here. I myself enjoy seeing a white Christmas — in photos sent by family and friends from colder climes.

The only actual white Christmas I could find in Florida’s modern history came in 1989, when several inches of snow fell near Jacksonville on Christmas Eve day. Parts of the Florida panhandle got a dusting of snow on Christmas Day 2004.

I was living in Boca Raton in 1989 and the previous night I set a dish of water out on my back deck. And yes, it had a thin layer of ice on it the next morning. Snow flurries were reported in the Everglades. My friend’s car wouldn’t start.

What are the chances of a white Christmas in Miami? Well, they’re not zero, since the city did get a dusting of snow during the famous cold snap of January 1977. In 2012, Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters put odds at between one in 20,000 and one in 40,000.

The National Weather Service only issues seven-day forecasts and so their Christmas weekend predictions aren’t out yet. But Weather Underground is forecasting temperatures in the low- to mid-80s in the days leading up to Christmas weekend, although it looks like a front may go through on Christmas Eve day.

AccuWeather says that front could drive South Florida temperatures all the way down to 60 on Christmas morning, although daytime temperatures may rebound into the upper 70s.

So the closest you may get to a white Christmas this year is the shaved ice in your holiday margarita.

After blustery weekend, warm and drier weather on the way for holidays

Drier weather is on the horizon for much of the Florida peninsula as we move toward the Christmas/ New Year holiday.

The Southeast Coast has continued to deal with moderate to heavy rainfall intermittently, with another 0.39 of an inch reported in West Palm Beach on Sunday. Miami picked up 0.22 of an inch and Fort Lauderdale reported 0.43 of an inch after a 1.05-inch soaking on Saturday.

814temp-new
The long-range forecast through Christmas calls for toast temps in Florida. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)

Fort Lauderdale is now 1.83 inches above normal in the precipitation department as we near mid-December, while the Miami surplus stands at 1.37 inches; 1.14 inches in West Palm Beach.

More showers were moving north up the Atlantic Coast Monday morning, which will add to those monthly totals.

But the blustery weather that was in place all weekend will give way this week to more appropriate winter sunshine — with at least partly sunny skies.

And, while unusually wet and windy conditions were around for much of the southern peninsula, temperatures have remained significantly above normal.

For example, temperatures have been running 5.4 degrees above average in West Palm Beach, with only two days of below average temperatures. Both occurred last week and were only slightly below average. On the other hand, there have been seven highs in the 80s with a high of 87 on Dec. 6.

Expect the warm weather to continue, even as the drying trend takes hold.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal temperatures for all of Florida at least through Christmas Day.

It looks like a Chamber of Commerce holiday season is around the corner and if you see Santa Claus outside your favorite department store, chances are he’ll be wearing shorts and flip-flops.

*

fog-warning

More dense fog was forecast to hit the interior and West Coast areas on Tuesday morning. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

Residents on Florida’s West Coast, and interior areas west and southwest of Lake Okeechobee, were dealing with heavy fog Monday morning. Visibilities were less than a quarter mile, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

Dense fog was blanketing Collier, Glades and Henry counties as dawn arrived.

And with light winds Monday night, there’s another risk for dense fog into Tuesday morning for all South Florida areas except eastern Miami-Dade and Broward, forecasters said.

South Florida (finally) gets a soaking

atlantic-water-vapor-image

Cloudy conditions stretch from the Florida Keys north through the North-Central peninsula, with most of the weekend precipitation focused on southern areas. (Credit: NOAA)

The parched Florida peninsula finally got some relief as the week wound down, with nearly an inch of rain drenching some southern areas.

In West Palm Beach, Palm Beach International Airport measured 0.78 of an inch Friday after .02 of an inch of an inch Thursday. Adding that to the 0.44 of an inch that fell on Dec. 1, the monthly total rose to 1.24 inches, an above normal total for the first nine days of December.

Fort Lauderdale had 0.62 of an inch Thursday and a trace of rain on Friday as most of the rain cells migrated in off the Atlantic over the Palm Beach coast. But some parts of northern coastal Broward County were hit with between 1.5-2 inches from Friday morning through Saturday morning, the South Florida Water Management District reported.

Officially, Fort Lauderdale has had 1.29 inches of rain this month, and moderate to heavy rain had again set up over the Broward coast on Saturday morning, so look for those totals to spike.

Miami has had 1.11 inches, with significant rainfall likely on Saturday.

On the other hand, the West Coast has been more or less skunked, as the recent cold front that swept down the peninsula and stalled over the Florida Straits set up northeast winds and delivered most of the moisture to the East Coast.

Slightly drier air has been in control in Central Florida, but the area is still under heavy cloud cover and that, along with cool temperatures in the 40s and 50s, has been giving the state the sort of “raw” breezy conditions typical of mid-autumn in the Midwest and Northeast.

The heaviest rain over the next several days — through Monday at least — should be focused in the Florida Straits near the Upper Keys, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center says. Graphical forecasts show 1.67 inches falling near the Islamorada/ Tavernier area through Monday.

So far, the Keys haven’t had much rain out of this front. Marathon picked up 0.04 of an inch Friday while Key West reported just a trace.

The southern Keys were still on the warm side of the front as the week wound down. Key West checked in with a high on Thursday of 85, tying a record set in 1978. Friday’s high was a little cooler 79.

A return to more tranquil weather is in the forecast with slightly above normal temperatures on southeasterly winds, according to the National Weather Service.

Autumn was warmest on record in U.S., NOAA says

statewidetavgrank-201609-201611

All of the contiguous 48 states had above normal temperatures for the period of September to November. (Credit: NOAA/ NCEI)

The U.S. recorded its warmest autumn since records began in 1895, NOAA reported Wednesday.

The meteorological autumn, which runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, was the warmest on record in eight states including Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Another 14 states had their second-warmest autumn.

Florida had its fifth-warmest fall, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Temperatures from September to November averaged 57.83 degrees, 1.05 degrees above the previous warmest autumn in 1963, according to Bob Henson at Weather Underground.

*

South Florida may be looking at more above normal temperatures — in the upper 70s and low 80s — into the third week of December, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says. After a brief cool-down this weekend, highs should rebound back into the 80s on Monday and Tuesday.

AccuWeather’s Christmas Day forecast is for a high in the mid-70s in South Florida and lows in the low 60s. New Year’s Eve’s long-range outlook calls for temps in the low 60s.

*

The cold Canadian air sweeping across the Midwest this week will drive low temperatures down into the teens by Thursday morning in Chicago, the National Weather Service said. Thursday’s forecast high in Chicago is 24 along with winds gusting up to 30 mph.

Lows in western Wisconsin and Minnesota are expected to be in the mid-teens.

Highs over the weekend will only be in the 30s in Boston, around 40 in New York and the 40s as far south as Atlanta.

The front is forecast to make it through South Florida, but temperatures won’t get much below average for this time of the year, the National Weather Service says. Hang on to your hat, though — winds may gust as high as 30 mph over the weekend.