MANATEE - The mercury hit 85 degrees at 2:19 p.m. today at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, setting an all-time record for high temperature for a Jan. 10.
The previous record high for Jan. 10 was 83 degrees in 1989, said Tom Dougherty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.
Dougherty thought the mercury could even climb higher before the day was over, given the lack of wind or cloud cover. "We have a few more hours of heating, so it could change," Dougherty said at 3 p.m.
The high reading is part of a winter heat spell which will continue for a few more days, said Brian McClure, a meteorologist with Bay News 9.
"I think we will sustain this warm, tranquil weather," McClure said. "It's a normal situation. We have these warm periods in the winter. It's based on where the jet stream is aligning itself. We saw this was going to happen a week and a half ago. It's not just a Florida thing, it's all across the Southeast."
McClure doesn't expect a change in the mid-80 afternoons unless a wind or cloud cover moves in.
"But it doesn't look like much will change for awhile," McClure said. "The next best chance for rain is next week. This is a good time for the beach. The water temperatures are in the 60s, but there will be warmth and a nice breeze."