South Florida hit with record-setting heat as summer pattern settles in. West Palm Beach had a record low of 77 degrees Sunday, four degrees behind previous record low set in 2015.
A weather pattern more accustomed to steering hurricanes has control of the atmosphere, driving temperatures up to 20 degrees above normal with no short-term indications it will cede power to winter.
The Bermuda High, a semi-permanent clockwise swirl of high pressure in the Atlantic, typically shrivels and shifts in winter closer to the Azores, but has settled for now in the ocean’s western reaches.
Its influence meant a record warm low of 77 degrees in West Palm Beach on Sunday — 20 degrees warmer than average and a reading that shattered the previous record of 73 set in 2015.
“Breaking a record by four degrees is not something you see very often, especially in Florida,” said Brett Edwards, a meteorologist with AccuWeather. “Anytime you get a temperature that breaks a record by more than one or two degrees, it’s a significant event.”
Cities from Orlando through Marathon in the Keys also broke or tied records Sunday, including in Miami where the morning low dipped to 76 degrees. Fort Lauderdale recorded 75 degrees.
“Just another sultry winter day in Florida,” wrote National Weather Service meteorologists in Melbourne in their Monday forecast.
Palm Beach International Airport reached 83 degrees Monday - one degree shy of tying the record.
South Florida is not alone in feeling a January heat hiccup.
Warm weather in East will end soon, but not for South Florida
About 60 locations set new high temperature records Saturday across the Ohio Valley and the Northeast with Boston and Pittsburgh hitting a high of 70, and Central Park in New York City reaching 69 degrees.
Boston’s temperature marked only the third time the city has reached 70 degrees or warmer in January since 1872 when records began, according to the National Weather Service.
Warm weather in the Northeast is set to end over the next few days as a succession of winter storms threatens snow and freezing rain.
Edwards said there’s been no lack of significant winter storms this season, but they have been brewing in the Great Plains and then moving straight west to east or northeast, avoiding a plunge into South Florida.
“I would argue the jet stream has been straighter, and any buckle in the jet stream has been very quick to move out so it doesn’t have much of a residency,” he said.
Forecast is much of the same for a while
While a couple of cold fronts are forecast to creep toward South Florida this week, they aren’t expected to bring cooler temperatures.
“They get close, but then stall out and fizzle,” said NWS meteorologist Paxton Fell. “Really, there is not much relief in the forecast in terms of temperatures.”
Fell is forecasting mostly clear skies the rest of the week with daytime high temperatures near 80 degrees and overnight lows near 70. The normal daytime high for mid-January is 74 degrees with an overnight low of 57.
This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.