breaking news

Goodman loses appeal for DUI manslaughter conviction

Unusually warm days pose question: Is winter over for South Florida?


Winter crosses its meteorological finish line Wednesday, a date dictated by man’s timetable, marking a tidy end to what are supposed to be the coldest three months of the year.

South Florida’s wintertime temperatures have so far run about 4 degrees above the normal mean, with West Palm Beach simmering through its fourth warmest winter on record. Wednesday is expected to reach 85 degrees – a high temperature more typical of mid-May than March 1.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

But forecasters say winter hasn’t called it quits just yet, and may muster a hardy front for Florida next week.

“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.”

For meteorologists, winter is defined as December through February. But the universe runs on a different calendar.

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.

Download The Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

“We’ve been known to see a system or two in March that will be very strong and bring a return of winter-like temperatures,” said James Thomas, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “We’re not out of the woods as far as what March holds for winter systems, but we don’t see anything in the near future.”

A feeble cold front is expected to reach South Florida late this week, with Miami meteorologists saying it will “limp” through the state dropping high temperatures closer to normal readings of 81 on Friday and 78 on Saturday.

But 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.

Related: Five things to know about La Niña

“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.

Throughout Florida, 25 weather stations monitored by the Southeast Regional Climate Center are experiencing winter weather that ranks in their top-five warmest on record based on average mean temperatures.

Seven stations are feeling their warmest winter on record, including Miami which has measured an average mean temperature of 74.2 from Nov. 27 to Monday.

West Palm Beach is having its fourth warmest winter based on average mean temperature. But based on average high temperature — 79.4 degrees — it’s the third warmest on record.

Florida is not alone in feeling the heat. Much of the country has seen an abnormally warm February. Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters and meteorologist Bob Henson point out in their blog that Burlington, Vt., reached an “astounding” 72 degrees Saturday, breaking the previous record high for that day by 17 degrees.

“Record warmth slathered the Northeast on Friday and Saturday, the latest chapter in a phenomenal sequence of unseasonal mildness during the last half of February,” the duo wrote Monday. “As of Monday morning, NOAA’s U.S. Records site had catalogued 5,857 daily record highs for the month.”

In a Feb. 23 report on temperature and climate, the National Phenology Network declared that spring had arrived two to three weeks early across nearly the entire Southeast. The network used National Weather Service information and models on when plants begin their spring growth in their report.

Florida was the lone state that spring didn’t come early, possibly because temperature fluctuations are so small in South Florida that even a record-warm winter wouldn’t trigger an early spring, Henson said.

Kottlowski attributes the warm winter across the U.S. to a more west-to-east flow in the jet stream that often blocked arctic air from seeping south.

And while winter might still have some life left, don’t expect anything too dramatic, he said.

“The odds of seeing a late season arctic blast are highly unlikely,” Kottlowski said. “It’s not impossible, but the chances are very, very slim.”

On April 6, 1920, the overnight low in West Palm Beach reached 38 degrees — a whopping 27 degrees below normal.

If you haven’t yet, join Kim on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter .



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Large electronics will have to be screened under new TSA carry-on policy
Large electronics will have to be screened under new TSA carry-on policy

Passengers traveling through America’s airports will have to separate large electronics from their carry-on baggage under new screening procedures announced Wednesday by the Transportation Security Administration. Travelers will be required to remove electronics that are larger than a cellphone from carry-on baggage so the electronics can undergo...
Drone carrying cellphone, marijuana crashes in prison yard
Drone carrying cellphone, marijuana crashes in prison yard

A drone that crashed into the yard at Washington State Prison was loaded with cellphones, tobacco, oxycodone and marijuana, a Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Wednesday. >> Read more trending news A growing problem, drones have become the newest way inmates have used to get contraband that can be sold to other prisoners for...
One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested in Maine
One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested in Maine

Maine saw its first “creepy clown” sighting of the year on Tuesday when residents reported a machete-wielding man in a clown mask near their neighborhood. WCSH in Portland reported that 911 dispatchers got multiple calls around 6 p.m. Tuesday from residents in Hollis, who reported that the man was walking near a convenience store before...
What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?
What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is barring transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity."  Trump, in a series of tweets, cited "tremendous medical costs and disruption” as the reason he plans to ban transgender people from service. What is a transgender person, the classification the...
Don’t let clouds ruin your solar eclipse view — Use these  maps to find clear skies near you
Don’t let clouds ruin your solar eclipse view — Use these maps to find clear skies near you

Millions of Americans are counting down the days until August’s rare total solar eclipse, the first to cross the nation coast to coast in nearly 100 years. >> Read more trending news  While there are a variety of excellent viewpoints for you to catch the celestial event in all its glory, it all comes down to where you&rsquo...
More Stories