TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — All eyes were on Punxsutawney Phil Wednesday morning with high hopes he’d indicate an early spring — but the stakes were a tad lower for us Floridians. Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter – but “winter” for us is a far cry from what most of the country experiences.
We got a small taste of actual winter weather last weekend when we saw temperatures dive below freezing for most areas, but now our temperatures are set to soar into the low 80s for the rest of the work week. It begs the question – are we done with winter yet?
“Long-range forecasting used to be not much better than an educated guess but advances in technology have allowed for some real skill – although it is still hard,” Max Defender 8 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli said. “Our latest models seem to show that bouts of winter chill will continue on and off in Florida for the next three weeks and then we should see a general shift to warmer-than-normal weather after mid-February into March.”
Phil’s performance aside, here are a few other indications that warmer days lie in the near future:
Long-term forecast models run as far out as mid-February, albeit the further out the forecast, the more likely it is to change.
Looking at the GFS through mid-February, the chilliest we get in Tampa is the mid 40s, and we only get that cold twice. The images below show the two coolest times over the next 14 days, according to the forecast model run. They are on Feb. 8 and Feb. 14 (great snuggle weather!) Notice much of the rest of the country is not having the same experience as we are, with icy blasts rocking the northeast each week.
The Climate Prediction Center also issues monthly outlooks, predicting who will be warmer or colder than average for the month, in addition to how the month’s rainfall should stack up against the monthly average.
The February outlook is on “Team Early Spring” for our area, calling for likely chances (50-60%) for our area to experience above-average temperatures for the month of February.
For reference, the average low temperature for the beginning of February for us is 54°and the average high is 72°. The average total temperature is 62.9°. By the last day of February, the average low for us is 57° and the high is 76°. The average total temperature grows to 66.5°.
So are we done with winter yet? I think we (Tampa area) are done with real winter and freezing temperatures. I think we’ll see our version of “winter” (highs in the 60s and 70s) through the middle of March.
I’ll put it this way – I’m packing my snow boots and snow jacket I wore last weekend back up for the year.