South Florida weather has been spectacular so far this new year. Average daily temperatures at both Fort Myers and Naples are running well above typical seasonal values.
High temperatures should be in the mid 70’s and lows in the mid 50’s, if everything matched the most recent 30-year (1981-2010) average. However, with the jet stream comfortably to our north (Fig. 1) and associated fronts staying far enough away from our region, Naples has reported daily temperatures more than nine degrees warmer than average for the first 10 days of the month. Fort Myers, at 7.5 degrees above seasonal averages, is not far behind.
This means that “cooling degree days” (a measure of needed air conditioning) are above average. Hence, many folks are using their air conditioning systems.
Humidity values are higher than average, as well. For the most part, dew point temperatures have been running in the mid 60’s or higher.
Rainfall has been limited so far this January 2013. Naples has logged a scant 0.11 inches; Fort Myers has reported 0.46 inches. Both are less than climatologically expected.
Residents and visitors alike will likely be happy to hear that readings for the next five to seven days will remain significantly warmer than usual. In fact, low to mid 80’s by day and low 60’s at night should be the rule through at least the middle of next week.
After that, we have to start worrying about cooler air infiltrating our region, along with gusty northeast winds (Fig. 2).
For comparison, Minneapolis will drop below freezing tonight and should stay seasonably cold for the next week. Daytime highs there will average in the low to mid 20’s, with nighttime lows in the single digits.
Washington, DC will remain 10 to 15 degrees above average for the next three to five days with nighttime lows near seasonal daytime high readings. By the middle of next week the cold air finally arrives.
Even southern California can’t escape the chilly air. Tonight, frost advisories are in place for San Diego, CA where typical nighttime lows should be near 50 degrees. A freeze watch is posted fro Saturday night into Sunday morning. San Diego temperatures will remain 10 to 15 degrees below average for a few days before gradually starting to warm up.
The only good news nationwide is that once the initial cold air onslaught moves in, there are no major winter storms on the meteorological horizon.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil