If you've felt that its been a tad warmer than usual, then you are not mistaken. A stubborn weather pattern that kept the jet stream well north of the area has kept temperatures well above average across Southwest Florida. In fact, temperatures are averaging about 8° above what we normally see for the month. The last time it was anywhere close to being this warm in February was in 1997 with an average temperature of 72.3° in Fort Myers. We are going to average somewhere around 75° for the month. The hottest temps recorded for the month at Page Field were set on the 20th and the 27th both at 89°.
Do warmer Februarys translate to warmer than average summers? While it is often times thought this may be the case, there is no correlation. Nor is there a correlation between warm February temps and a more active hurricane season. The reason for the unseasonably warm weather is unseasonably strong high pressure over the western Atlantic that maintained its position for the better part of 2-3 weeks. This persistent pattern is what has led to significant flooding in the mid-section of the country and much cooler weather out west for most of the month.
A major pattern shift is expected as we start March, with a reversal in the position of the jet stream and a return to cooler weather for much of the eastern and central US. In fact, morning temps by Sunday into Monday could dip into the upper 40s in some isolated inland spots.
CHIEF METEOROLOGIST DEREK BEASLEY