From tornadoes to summer storms, hurricanes to record heat, 2016 has been a year of some wild weather across Southwest Florida. Here's a list of 6 of the top weather events this year.
1. Winter Tornadoes:
Last winter was marked by El Niño, a pattern favoring more active weather for Florida, including a greater occurrence of severe storms and tornadoes. In mid January, a rare EF2 tornado struck SW Cape Coral leaving a trail of downed trees, damaged homes and devastation.
More instances of tornadoes and damaging winds would occur with impacts felt in Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Naples and Golden Gate.
Many of us probably didn't know what this word meant before January 17th, when the rare phenomenon occurred near Naples Pier. Meteotsunamis are not caused by earthquakes like tsunamis are. Instead, the cause is typically a sudden pressure change and strong winds accompanied by cold fronts. The meteotsunami occurred during high tide and was accompanied by winds of 70-90 mph according to the National Weather Service, causing significant damage and flooding in coastal Collier county.
3. Record Rainfall
The faucet was turned up in Charlotte County during the first ten days of June. Punta Gorda recorded more than 10 inches of rain in the first ten days of the month, making it the wettest June on record.
4. Active Hurricane Season
2016 saw our most active hurricane season since 2012. However, yet again, Southwest Florida was spared the worst impacts. Tropical Storm Colin dumped excessive rain in Charlotte County in early June and damaged parts of Manasota Key.
In early September, Hurricane Hermine ended Florida's 11 year hurricane drought. The category 1 storm moved over the panhandle of Florida but had little impact on Southwest Florida.
One month later, powerful Hurricane Matthew raged in the Caribbean as a category 5. The storm caused devastating conditions in Haiti before threatening the Bahamas and then the east coast of Florida as a major hurricane. The storm tracked far enough offshore to be of little concern for the region.
The hurricane season ended with a total of 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes and 8 tropical storms.
5. No-Rain November
La Niña was in full effect by the fall. The pattern typically favors drier and warmer weather for Florida. This was the case in November, where much of the region ended the month with only trace amounts of rain, well below average.
6. Record Heat December
La Niña had a footprint on December weather as well, which turned out to be one of the warmest on record across Southwest Florida. Numerous daily temperature records were broken with the majority of days seeing above average daytime highs and lows.
Here's to a safe 2017!