The calendar may show winter beginning on Wednesday but don’t tell that to Mother Nature. After setting high temperature records in a few locations this past Sunday and Monday, it looks like we are on track to at least get close to more records this weekend just in time for Christmas. The latest forecast is calling for highs to creep back into the mid-80s for most areas by Christmas Day with some upper 80s possible once again. These temperatures are running some 10-15° above average for this time of year. It’s felt more like summer lately than a few days before winter!
The reason for the abnormally warm weather? High pressure in the upper atmosphere will strengthen over the Caribbean and western Atlantic and nose its way northward into the southeast US. This pattern will effectively shove the colder air farther northward and keep our area mostly dry, sunny and very warm. Sinking air under the area of high pressure will only compound heating, leading to near record or record temps again this weekend. This pattern is expected to materialize this weekend and last through at least the first half of next week. La Niña in the Pacific has already contributed to higher than normal upper level pressures over the region through the fall, hence the lack of rain and unseasonable warmth as of late.
So what does this all mean? Expect a brief cool down through Friday with temps mainly around 80 to the low 80s. By Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the high pressure dome will build over the area creating the unseasonably warm conditions. Expect highs in the mid 80s to be widespread, with some areas seeing some upper 80s from Christmas Day into the first half of next week. It will feel like around 90 to the low 90s with humidity levels creeping back up by Christmas Day into early next week. How hot we get will be determined by how strong the upper level high becomes. Adjustments to the actual high temperatures will likely occur in the coming days, but regardless of this...the heat isn't going anywhere anytime soon!
RECORD HIGH FOR FORT MYERS PAGE FIELD ON SUNDAY, DEC 25: 87° (2015)
RECORD HIGH FOR RSW SWFL INTERNATIONAL ON SUNDAY, DEC 25: 88° (2015)
Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley