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February 2017 Newsletter   

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Dear Florida Climate Center friends,
We'd like to present you with the February 2017 edition of our newsletter. In this newsletter, you'll find our January 2017 monthly climate summary, briefs on the end of the minor La Niña event observed in the fall and early winter and a developing drought situation in central and south Florida, and news about activities in which the staff have been engaged.  If you have any questions, please send us an e-mail message at climate@coaps.fsu.edu.
The Staff of the Florida Climate Center
David Zierden
State Climatologist
Danny Brouillette
Service Climatologist
January Climate Summary for Florida 
The Florida Climate Center's January 2017 Florida Climate Summary  is now available.  The summary provides an analysis of temperature and precipitation patterns during the past month across the state, along with data on hazardous weather, drought, the impacts of the weather, and any records tied or broken for the month.  During January, statewide temperatures were considerably above average, averaging 62.5 degrees Fahrenheit and ranking 14th warmest on record since 1895. Rainfall was above average last month in Florida, with a statewide average monthly total of 3.67", which made this December rank 35th wettest in the record.  Portions of the central and western panhandle were wettest, and central areas of the peninsula were driest.   Sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean have continued with negative anomalies although these anomalies have become smaller recently.  With this trend toward neutral conditions expected to continue into the spring and summer, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has issued the last La Niña Advisory for this event.      
The following table gives January average temperatures and departures from normal (˚F) for selected cities.
Station  Average Temperature  Departure from Normal 
Pensacola  60.6  +9.4 
Tallahassee  57.9  +6.7 
Jacksonville  59.8  +6.7 
Gainesville  60.6  +6.3 
Orlando  64.6  +4.4 
Tampa  66.3  +5.5 
West Palm Beach  68.9  +3.2 
Miami  72.6  +4.4 
Key West  73.0  +3.7 
The following table gives December precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities. 
Total Rainfall 
Departure from Normal 
 Pensacola    11.73    +7.27
 Tallahassee  7.21  +2.87
 Jacksonville  4.05  -0.51
 Gainesville  1.45  -1.86
 Orlando  1.98  -0.37
 Tampa  0.90  -1.33
 West Palm Beach   1.00
 Miami  3.40  +1.78
 Key West 
The following schematic maps January precipitation departures from normal across Florida.  Image courtesy of the National Weather Service.  
Recruitment Push for Rainfall Observation Program to be Underway
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network has been a fixture in Florida's rainfall-observation array since 2007.  CoCoRaHS observers are citizen volunteers who report daily rainfall accumulation as well as instances of hail and snow (rare in Florida) via the Internet.  The program is of value to end users of the data in various fields including meteorology, climatology, hydrology, etc., for the high-density observations that it produces.  The value of a high-density rainfall-observing network cannot be underestimated in a state like Florida given the extreme spatial variability in rainfall produced by thunderstorms. 

Each March, CoCoRaHS has a push for observer recruitment called March Madness.  March Madness pits the 50 states among each other to recruit the most new observers.  This year, we are trying to emphasize recruitment from rural areas of the state, especially the panhandle. 

If you are interested in becoming an observer or have ideas for recruiting them, please contact Danny Brouillette at dbrouillette@coaps.fsu.edu or 850-644-0719. 

Drought Developing in Portions of Central and South Florida
The winter dry season may be in place on the Florida peninsula, but rainfall deficits compared to normal have been mounting for the last few months in portions of central and south Florida.  In the 16 February issuance of the US Drought Monitor, those portions of the Florida peninsula were labelled as being under moderate drought (D1) conditions.  This development is of concern as the spring wildfire season approaches. 

State Climatologist Presents at Extension In-Service Training and Hay Production Expo 
Mid-winter is the time of year when area farmers have a little down time, so this is the season for many Extension workshops and trade shows.  The Florida Climate Center staff are always pleased to participate in these events and share our analysis of the recent and current weather and climate patterns and outlooks for the coming growing season.
On 25 January, Holmes County Extension office hosted the Panhandle Hay Production Workshop in Bonifay.  Experts presented on varieties, weed control, and integrated pest management among other topics.  State Climatologist David Zierden presented on climate of the last growing season and the fall drought in the area and how the transition from strong El Ni ño to weak La Ni ña conditions contributed to it.  He also briefed the group  on the dissipation of La Ni ña in January and what neutral conditions will mean for the upcoming spring.
Outreach from the Florida Climate Center is not confined to state borders.  For over ten years, Zierden has been a fixture on the program for the Wiregrass Cotton Expo in Dothan, Alabama.  The Cotton Expo is put on each year by Auburn University Extension and the Wiregrass Research and Education Center.  This year's expo was on 3 February, and the presentation on weather and climate wrapped up the program.
La Niña Has Ended
In its February ENSO Diagnostic Discussion, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued its final La Ni ña Advisory for the current La Ni ña event.  This issuance means that ENSO is now in a neutral phase, which is expected to continue through the summer.  As for the outlook for next winter, the CPC favors the formation of an El Ni ño in the second half of 2017, but the so-called spring prediction barrier makes the outlook somewhat unclear.  More about the outlook will be known after spring concludes. 
Mapping of sea-surface-temperature anomaly over time in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Florida Climate Center in the News

About Us 

The Florida Climate Center is part of a three-tiered system of national, regional, and state climate offices, including NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI - in Asheville, North Carolina) and the Southeast Regional Climate Center (in Chapel Hill, North Carolina). The Florida State Climatologist and other staff at the Florida Climate Center provide the following information and services to the people of Florida:


· Climate Data:

Historical weather observations for weather stations throughout the state of Florida. We are able to provide data for most stations from 1948-present.


· Climate Information:

Long-term historical averages for various stations, climate divisions, and the entire state.


· Extreme Event Records:

Information and analyses on extreme events such as freezes, droughts, floods and hurricanes.


· Special Analysis:

With their vast knowledge of El Niño, La Niña and climate variability, the State Climatologist and staff can offer expert insight into Florida's climate trends.


· Outreach:

Activities, presentations, and workshops that inform and educate the people of Florida about current and emerging climate issues. We also coordinate volunteers for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).


More About Us