South Florida appears to be easing out of winter, with the long-range outlook calling for slightly warmer than normal weather though April.
At the same time, the National Weather Service predicts the region also should see slightly drier than normal conditions over the next three months, although it concedes that is a low-confidence forecast.
“Regardless of the temperature outlook, the potential for freezing temperatures exists through February and even into early March,” said meteorologist Robert Molleda.
As of this month, wildfire danger ramps up and as of March, the risk of rip currents increases, “as temperatures warm up and onshore winds become more of a factor,” Molleda said.
Meanwhile, January was a mixed-bag that saw freezing temperatures, record hot days, torrential rains so heavy they were considered a “1,000-year event” and severe flooding.
Yet, averaged out, the month was slightly cooler than normal and most of South Florida recorded near normal rainfall.
On the other hand, the 10.42 inches of rain that fell in West Palm Beach made it the city’s fourth wettest January since 1888; the record is 11.18 inches, set in 1998.
On Jan. 9-10, 22.2 inches of rain swamped Boynton Beach, “with about 15 inches falling in only three hours,” Molleda said.
The weather service’s Hydrologic Science & Modeling Branch would later determine the 22.2 inches was a “greater-than-1,000-year average recurrence event.”
Otherwise, Fort Lauderdale registered 4.16 inches for the month, .53 more than average; and Miami recorded 1.91 inches, .29 more than average.
Temperature-wise, Fort Lauderdale reached 83 degrees and West Palm Beach 86 - tying a record - on Jan. 2, followed by freezing temperatures on Jan. 17 and 19.
The average temperature was 2.5 degrees below normal in Fort Lauderdale and .2 degrees below normal in West Palm Beach.