Rough weather

Pali, left, and Kenko Filban enjoy Hallandale beach with their mother, Susie Filban, and her service dog despite the wind and dark rain clouds overhead Tuesday morning. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel / December 31, 2013)

Talk about staying warm right to the end.

In an abnormally balmy year overall, it was likely the warmest December on record in West Palm Beach, the second warmest in Miami and the third warmest in Fort Lauderdale.

It also was one of the wettest years on record, at least in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

"If summarized in two words, the weather year of 2013 in South Florida can be described as warm and wet," said meteorologist Robert Molleda.


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Last month, West Palm Beach recorded an average temperature of 74.4 through Tuesday morning, probably tying the same record set in 1931. Confirmation will come on Wednesday, Molleda said.

Miami recorded an average December reading of 75.2, slightly below the record of 75.4, set in 1931. In Fort Lauderdale, it was 74.2; the record is 75.1, set in 2006.

Why so much heat?

A strong persistent ridge of high pressure over the Southeast directed the winds to come out of the east, said meteorologist Dave Ross.

"That brought warmth in from over the water," he said.

November also was steamy -- West Palm Beach registered a combined November-December average temperature of 75.4, which, if it holds, would beat the record 75.3, set in 1948.

Miami recorded its second warmest November-December and Fort Lauderdale likely its third warmest.

2013 overall was one of the top 10 warmest years on record for all three of South Florida's main cities; the fourth warmest for Miami, the fifth warmest for West Palm Beach and the sixth warmest for Fort Lauderdale.

The record temperature in Miami is 78.2 degrees, set in 2011; Fort Lauderdale, 78.2 degrees, set in 2007; and West Palm Beach, 77.6 degrees, set in 2011.

Again, it was the wind direction that generated so much heat, forecasters said.

It also was abnormally rainy, Miami Beach's 5th wettest, Fort Lauderdale 14; Miami 22 – and that was despite an extremely dry first three months of the year.

Fort Lauderdale recorded 76.46 inches of rain, or 14.28 more than normal; Miami Beach registered 70.42 inches, or 18.69 more than normal; dand West Palm Beach recorded 64.98 inches, or 2.65 more than normal.

It was somewhat unusual that the year was so warm since rain and clouds act to lower temperatures, Ross said.

"We still had high temperatures and high rainfall," he said.