Stalling cold front will bring slighting cooler temperatures and a slight chance of showers Friday into Saturday across the northern half of the state, including Pinellas County.
After days of unseasonably warm weather, the extended forecast is calling for a high of only 71 degrees on Saturday, Jan. 19 - a welcome relief after nearly two weeks of near 80-degree temperatures.
According to the National Weather Service in Ruskin, temperatures 10 to almost 20 degrees above normal are expected to continue through much of this week. A cold front is expected to stall over northern portions of the state, coming as far south as Pinellas County, Friday night into Saturday. Sunday’s forecast calls for a slight chance of rain with a high of 75.
Forecasters say the record heat is the result of a ridge of high pressure that is keeping a warm and muggy air mass across much of the state.
Record highs were reported in several locations Jan. 9, including the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport where a temperature of 83 broke the old record of 81 degrees set in 2005. Tarpon Springs recorded 84 degrees that day, one degree less than the record of 85 set in 1937.
St. Petersburg International also reported a record-high low nighttime temperature of 67 degrees – well over the previous record of 63 set Jan. 9, 2005. The record of 66 degrees set in 1933 in Tarpon Springs also was replaced with a nighttime low of 67 degrees.
The hottest temperature reported as of Jan. 13 in Pinellas was 87 degrees recorded in northwest Seminole at 2:12 p.m. Jan. 9. Several locations reported 86 degrees that day, including one in northeast Seminole, east-northeast Lealman, east Lealman, east-northeast Tarpon Springs and west Tarpon Springs.
A daytime high of 82 on Jan. 11 broke the previous record of 79 set in 2008 at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. “Normal” high for the date is 70 degrees, according to NWS statistics. St. Petersburg's Albert Whitted Airport reported a new record high of 83 on Jan. 12, just a tad warmer than the previous high temperature of 82 set in 1989.
New records for nighttime high lows also were set on both dates. The St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport recorded 68 degrees Jan. 11, breaking the record set in 2005 by six degrees. On Jan. 12, the low was 68 degrees, up five degrees from the previous record of 63 degrees recorded in 2008.
2012 was a very warm year
The NWS released weather statistics for 2012 on Jan. 2 and reported that the year was the second warmest since recordkeeping began in 1890. Average daily highs were reported at 82.9 degrees with lows averaging 66.7 degrees for a mean temperature of 74.8 – the second highest since 1890.
The warmest year was 1990 with an average temperature of 75.3 degrees.
The highest temperature ever recorded in the state was 99 degrees on June 5, 1985, and the lowest is 18 recorded Dec. 13, 1962.
The year 2012 was the 25th wettest with 55.99 inches of rainfall. The most rain ever recorded was 76.59 inches in 1959 and the least was 28.89 inches in 1956.