Florida’s warm weather pattern persists

Florida's warm weather pattern persists
Florida's warm weather pattern persists

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The words “Florida” and “warm” go together like Hall & Oats, Bonnie & Clyde, and Siegfried & Roy. The 2016-2017 winter has been littered with abnormally high temperatures, and it looks like that trend will continue through the end of February and into the start of March.

The Climate Prediction Center, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, continues to forecast a high likelihood of above-average temperatures for Florida and most of the eastern half of the United States.

“This has been a common theme this winter, and really, it’s not a surprise,” said Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Steve Jerve.

By the end of summer 2016, it became apparent that a strong La Niña Pattern was developing. This global weather feature is associated with colder than average ocean temperatures along the equatorial Pacific.

These temperature anomalies can affect seasonal weather patterns all over the globe. For Florida and the Southeast United States, La Niña often leads to a warmer & drier winter.

Weather data for Tampa for the last three months confirms the presence of a La Niña winter. Below is a list of temperature and precipitation data from November 2016 to February 2017

NOVEMBER 2016
Average Monthly Temperature: 71.1° (2.0° ABOVE NORMAL)
Precipitation: 0.01″ (1.54″ BELOW NORMAL)

DECEMBER 2016
Average Monthly Temperature: 70.1° (7.0° ABOVE NORMAL)
Precipitation: 0.43″ (2.04″ BELOW NORMAL)

JANUARY 2017
Average Monthly Temperature: 66.3° (5.5° ABOVE NORMAL)
Precipitation: 0.90″ (1.33″ BELOW NORMAL)

FEBRUARY 2017 (THROUGH THE 22nd)
Average Monthly Temperature: 67.8° (4.7° ABOVE NORMAL)
Precipitation: 1.97″ (0.28″ BELOW NORMAL)

Below is the 8-14 Day Temperature Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. The eastern half of the United States will likely be under the influence of a ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere. This will likely keep the jet stream flow to the north, preventing cold air from moving south. On the flip side, the western United States will feel greater impacts from a much more active jet stream. Temperatures will likely be cooler than normal for the desert Southwest and the Pacific Northwest.

For late February and early March, the average high temperature hovers in the middle 70s with morning lows typically in the lower and middle 60s. With this warmer than average trend likely to continue, we are expecting widespread 80s for afternoon highs for the first week of March. Break out the shorts and t-shirts!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Jerve

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