Today hit a scorching 94 degrees in West Palm Beach, marking the hottest day of 2018 so far as measured at Palm Beach International Airport. That’s 4 degrees below the 1942 record for the day of 98 degrees.
According to the National Weather Service in Miami, the heat index or “feels like” temperature was a whopping 103 today.
A layer of dry Saharan air tempered afternoon thunderstorms, meaning no cooling rains.
But while today felt like a sauna on the sun, the heat record for Saturday will be tough to beat.
On July 21, 1942, the temperature recorded in West Palm Beach was 101 degrees.
And it’s not the only time South Florida has seen a 100-plus day.
The NWS says West Palm Beach hit 100 degrees on the following days:
June 20, 1921
July 2, 1927
July 3, 1927
“In South Florida, hitting 100 degrees is quite rare,” said Florida Climatologist David Zierden, in an interview last summer. “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.
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.