December 24, 2012


2012 not one of the cool years for Southwest Florida

By Kevin Lollar




Despite below-average temperatures in November, Southwest Florida has had a hot 2012, with the mean temperature of 76.5, one of the four warmest on record.


According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, as of Monday, the area has experienced the fourth-highest average mean temperature (76.5 degrees) on record and the 10th-highest average high temperature (85.7 degrees).


“It’s interesting to note that November was 3.5 degrees colder than average,” WINK-TV meteorologist Katie Walls said. “What skewed (the yearly) temperatures was that February, March and May were extremely warm. February was the fifth warmest on record, and March and May were the third warmest.”


Another interesting note is that Southwest Florida has had temperatures of at least 80 degrees 290 times this year and 15 times this month; the area has also had temperatures of at least 70 degrees 353 times, 22 this month.


Southwest Florida wasn’t the only hot spot this year.


The contiguous U.S. experienced the warmest March, third-warmest April and second-warmest May on record, thus contributing to the warmest spring on record.


With an average temperature of 77.6, July was not only the warmest July on record but the warmest single month on record for the U.S.


As for the future, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s three-month forecast calls for above-average temperatures for much of the nation, including the Panhandle, while the Florida Peninsula should expect an equal chance of above-average, below-average or average temperatures and below-average rainfall.


Behind these predictions is the lack of El Nino, a warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, Walls said.


“We thought there would be an El Nino, but it didn’t evolve,” she said. “It started to, but then it backed off. It’s Mother Nature. She’s finicky.”