La Nina Winters tend to be warmer and drier than average for Florida, whenever the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is neutral or positive. So far this Winter season, the NAO has been strongly positive. This has led to December temperatures anywhere from two to six degrees above normal around Tampa Bay, with rainfall amounts only a fraction of what is normally expected in the already paltry amounts seen during the Dry Season across the Florida Peninsula. While final totals will not be released until after New Years Day, this December is on track to be one of the top ten warmest and driest across West-Central and Southwest Florida.
Needed Tuesday Rainfall
The dry conditions experienced in and around Tampa Bay in recent weeks led to Tuesday’s rainfall being much more needed and appreciated. Amounts were not particularly heavy, with totals for the day including 0.09” at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport, 0.15” at the Tampa International Airport, and 0.40” at both MacDill Air Force Base and at the St. Petersburg Albert Whitted Airport. After morning lows in the middle 60s, Tuesday high temperatures occurred around noon, just before the rain moved into the area. By dusk, temperatures had fallen into the lower and middle 60s behind the frontal boundary.
Wednesday through Friday
Temperatures by Wednesday morning will be the coolest seen in several days. Depending on the proximity to the unusually warm for late December water temperatures around Tampa Bay (currently running in the lower 70s), lows will range anywhere from 45 to 55 degrees by early Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon is expected bring mostly sunny skies, but high temperatures will be limited to between 67 and 73 degrees. Thursday morning is forecast to be the coolest morning for Tampa Bay since the first part of December, as lows bottom in the 38 to 50 degree range across the area. Thursday afternoon will be partly cloudy, but temperatures will remain cool, only reaching 65 to 70 degrees. Friday morning will be a little milder, as lows range anywhere from 42 to 52 degrees. By Friday afternoon, there should be almost full sunshine, and afternoon highs will top out between 67 and 73 degrees. There should be no rainfall in or around Tampa through Friday, and humidity values will be much lower than those experienced the last several days.
Looking further ahead
Temperatures will begin to warm again by New Years Weekend. After morning lows of 45 to 55 degrees Saturday morning, highs will reach 72 to 77 degrees by the afternoon under Partly Cloudy skies. As Tampa Bay prepares to welcome in 2012, New Year’s Eve night and New Year’s Day morning will drop to between 48 and 58 degrees. New Years Day is expected to be partly to mostly cloudy, with high temperatures of 72 to 77 degrees. Monday and Tuesday morning temperatures will bottom out in the 50 to 58 degree range, and afternoon highs both days be 70 to 75 degrees. If any rainfall occurs during this time frame, it would be confined to New Year’s Day and Monday, and even then coverage would likely reach no higher than 10%. For more detailed weather information, visit the local National Weather Service website at:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tbw/, and the Storm Team 8 Facebook Page at: http://www.facebook.com/StormTeam8WFLA.