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Record Heat Likely in Florida This Weekend

The Sunshine State is getting a head start on summer this weekend, and numerous record highs are likely to be broken.

A sprawling dome of high pressure is forecast to build across the Southeast in the coming days, which will promote sinking air and abnormally warm temperatures for this time of year.

The table below lists the forecast high temperatures compared to the records of each day for select cities across Florida. A yellow background denotes the possibility of a record being tied, whereas a light red background represents a likely scenario where a record high will be broken.

Jacksonville and Tampa have the best chance to set a new high temperature record Friday, whereas Gainesville is likely to at least tie a record high. Afternoon temperatures are expected to be in the lower 90s across inland areas of central and northern parts of Florida where

Several more records are likely to be set across the state Saturday, as the ridge of high pressure strengthens and moves almost directly overhead. The cities of Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa are the likely candidates, whereas temperatures will likely top out a bit short of record territory in sections of the Florida Panhandle and South Florida. In both of these locations, a slightly stronger sea breeze - coming from the Atlantic in South Florida and Gulf of Mexico in the panhandle - will mitigate the intensity of the heat.

Record highs are likely again in portions of Florida Sunday and Monday, although confidence is not as high on how widespread the record heat will be thanks to a transition in the pattern. The upper-level ridge of high pressure, which is the reason for the warm temperatures and dry conditions — is forecast to break down early next week. An area of low pressure is then projected to develop over the central United States by Tuesday or Wednesday, prompting an increase in moisture levels across Florida. This will, in turn, lead to more cloud cover and slightly cooler temperatures across the state.

March 2020 has already been a warm month across much of the South, including Florida. As of March 27, Pensacola is currently experiencing its warmest March on record, where the mean temperature is pacing more than nine degrees above normal. Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, West Palm and Miami are also on track to record a top-ten warmest month, according to data published by the Southeast Regional Climate Center on March 26.

Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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Partners of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network include: Florida's Division of Emergency Management, WDNA (Miami), WFIT (Melbourne), WMFE (Orlando), WFSU (Tallahassee), WGCU (Fort Myers), WJCT (Jacksonville), WKGC (Panama City), WLRN (Miami), WMNF (Tampa-Sarasota), WQCS (Fort Pierce), WUFT (Gainesville-Ocala), WUSF (Tampa), WUWF (Pensacola) and Florida Public Media.

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