With record highs out west, why doesn’t it reach 100 in South Florida?

A heat wave is cooking the southwest, with the temperature in Phoenix reaching 119 degrees Tuesday, and Las Vegas hitting a blistering 117 degrees.

Needles, Calif., tied its all-time record high Tuesday when it soared to 125 degrees.

But the west doesn’t have a monopoly on triple-digit temperatures.

Although rare, South Florida can reach temperatures of 100-plus degrees.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

David Zierden, Florida’s climatologist, said Miami has only recorded one day where the temperature reached 100-plus degrees.

That was on July 21, 1942 when Miami recorded 100 degrees.

West Palm Beach reached 101 that same day.

But the National Weather Service in Miami said West Palm Beach hit 100 degrees on three previous days:

  • June 20, 1921
  • July 2, 1927
  • July 3, 1927

“In South Florida, hitting 100 degrees is quite rare,” Zierden said. “Due to the surrounding Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and the prevailing easterly trade winds, afternoon high temperatures are moderated in South Florida.”

The Southeast Regional Climate Center has the following cities with their record high temperatures for each month. In West Palm Beach the records only go back to 1940.

The average number of days for West Palm Beach to reach a maximum temperature of 95-plus is 3.73, but in 2011, there were a whopping 28 days of 95 degrees or higher.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

West Palm Beach days with 95-plus temperatures.

Andrew Hagen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said temperatures in the Everglades reach 100 degrees at least once each summer.

Zierden said it’s more common for North Florida and the Panhandle to hit 100, or higher.

Those areas are more prone to extreme heat, especially when under a high pressure system, which has sinking air warmed by compressional heating and cloudless skies. Prevailing northwesterly winds that flow across the continent also help hike the temperatures as the wind flows over warming land.

Tallahassee averages 19.3 days of 95-plus degree maximums.

Orlando hit the 100-degree mark on June 18, 2015 – the first time the area recorded a triple-digit temperature in 17 years.

National Weather Service meteorologist Arlena Moses, told the Orlando Sentinel at the time, that daily thunderstorms in the summer typically cool things off before temperatures can reach 100 degrees.

On record, Orlando has only been 100 degrees or warmer 30 times, according to the Sentinel article.

Orlando’s all-time high temperature was 103 degrees, set Sept. 8, 1921.

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