Florida’s climate hit a new record in 2022. According to NOAA, last year marked the 5th hottest year the state’s recorded history. An unusually warm January followed in the new year, with most weather stations in Florida trending three or four degrees above normal in the past month.
Karin Gleason, the monitoring section chief at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, presented the “State at the Climate” to press and climate partners on Jan. 24. The United States experienced its 18th warmest year on record, up an average of 1.4 degrees. While the southeast in general did not trend too far from the average, according to Gleason, Florida saw significant warming in 2022.
According to the Florida Climate Center at Florida State University, the statewide annual average temperature was up 2.3 degrees from the 20th century average of 70.2 degrees. The warmest months were March and November, up 4.5 and 5.3 degrees from the average, respectively. The cities of Tampa and Fort Myers recorded their warmest years on record, while Daytona Beach, Orlando and Miami all fell within their top five warmest years on record.
2022 was Florida’s 12th year in a row with above-average temperatures according to the Florida Climate Center. 2015 remains the warmest year on record, which was up 3.3 degrees from the average.
The U.S. also experienced its 27th driest year on record, with 44% to 63% percent of the country under drought conditions last year, according to Gleason. While precipitation in Florida remained largely average, some regions trended wetter or drier. Orlando and Fort Myers experienced its 6th and 5th wettest year on record, respectively. Hollywood experienced its wettest year on record, with 25.8 inches of precipitation above normal.
Meanwhile, drought conditions sprang up in pockets of the Panhandle and north Florida beginning in October. Gleason said the maximum extent of drought was on Nov. 8, where 32% of the Southeast was under drought conditions. As of Jan. 24, drought conditions in the Panhandle have resolved while the region east of the Big Bend in north Florida is still experiencing severe drought.
2023 has started off warm and dry, said Regional Climatologist for the Southeast Regional Climate Center Chris Fuhrmann. After a brief artic outbreak over Christmas, temperatures have been trending high. Most locations in Florida were reporting temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below average on Dec. 24, according to Fuhrmann.
However, most stations are reporting about 3 or 4 degrees above normal in the past month. January has also been dry for Florida, said Fuhrmann, running 1 to 3 inches below normal.
Warm and dry conditions are associated with the La Niña climate pattern, Fuhrmann said. There is an 82% chance the climate will transition to ENSO-neutral conditions by spring. Above average temperatures and below average precipitation are still expected for Florida through April. Drought is expected to expand across the peninsula over the next three months.
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