The meteorological winter of December through February came to a close with 19.9 inches of rain measured in West Palm Beach and seven tornadoes ripping through South Florida.
According to the National Weather Service’s winter weather summary, released today, eight locations in South Florida recorded their wettest winters on record, including Miami, Miami Beach and Moore Haven.
While the 19.9 inches in West Palm Beach was abnormal for the dry season with 11 inches of rain more than normal, it ranked as the areas third wettest winter on record.
National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist Robert Molleda touted the three-month winter season as “wet and stormy”, which was the prediction of forecasters last year.
“The strong El Nino pattern led to a southward shift in the jet stream across the southern United States, mainly during January and February,” Molleda said in his winter report. “This in turn created more opportunities for low pressure storm systems to move across the Florida peninsula from the Gulf of Mexico.”
One prediction that wasn’t fully met was that the winter would be cooler than normal because of the increase in cloud cover that came with more storms.
Instead, West Palm Beach measured an average temperature of 69.4 degrees for the three-month period, which is 2.2 degrees warmer than normal. Miami was 1.4 degrees warmer than normal with For Lauderdale o.7 degrees warmer. Molleda said January and February were slightly cooler than normal.
The lowest temperature recorded at Palm Beach International Airport was 40 degrees on January 24. There were several days with temperatures of 84 degrees, including four in December and Feb. 24.
No freezing temperatures were observed at any of the official South Florida measuring sites, which is rare, Molleda said.
“The coldest observed temperature was 34 degrees in Ortona in southern Glades County on Jan. 25,” Molleda said.