If you thought it was a hot winter, here’s proof you were right.
Blame it on La Nina or Mother Nature. Either way, South Florida sweated through meteorological winter with record-setting temperatures.
According to the National Weather Service in Miami, seasonal heat records for the season were broken in Fort Lauderdale and Miami where average temperatures were 74.2 degrees and 73.3 degrees, respectively.
That’s 4.6 degrees above normal for Miami and 3 degrees warmer than normal in Fort Lauderdale.
Palm Beach International Airport recorded a 71.2-degree average for the season, which runs December through February. That makes it the 5th warmest winter on record for West Palm Beach if you use the average temperature.
But it’s the third warmest winter for West Palm Beach if daytime highs are averaged.
The Southeast Regional Climate Center shows West Palm Beach with an average daytime high for the winter season of 79.4 degrees.
The record heat is no surprise to forecasters, who were watching the daytime highs simmer.
West Palm Beach set a heat record Feb. 19 when the mercury reached 88 degrees. That’s more like what is expected in June than the dead of winter.
“When you look back at the season, we really didn’t have much of a winter whatsoever,” said Dan Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist with Accuweather. “But winter, by all means, is not over. There are still opportunities for cold weather to move into the Deep South.”
Astronomically, winter begins on the solstice, around Dec. 21, and ends on the spring equinox – when the midday rays of the sun shine directly on the equator. This year, that day is March 20, with daylight savings time beginning March 12.
A feeble cold front is expected to reach South Florida on today, with Miami meteorologists saying it will “limp” through the state dropping high temperatures closer to normal readings of 78 on Friday and 74 on Saturday.
Kottlowski said forecast models show a more robust front pushing through near the middle of next week, dropping the high temperature March 9 to 74 degrees with an overnight low of 56. Accuweather has the cooler temperatures sticking around to March 12.
“Just getting a normal cold front that drops temperatures a few degrees below normal may make March feel chillier than what we’ve experienced so far this winter because it’s been so warm,” Kottlowski said.