Sweating a little more than usual this year? That’s because the first four months of the year were the warmest in Florida since the late 1800s.
Yes, January through April reached new records in statewide average and maximum temperatures previously set in 1895, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The new record statewide average was recorded at 66.6 degrees — a four-degree departure from the 20th century average — and the new record maximum was 78.6 degrees.
Even statewide minimum temperatures for the first four months of the year were well above average but not record-setting, according to the NCEI.
Temperatures in Manatee County have set new records, too.
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Between April 1 and May 14, Manatee County hit a new recorded high temperature five times (April 2, 3, 28, 30 and May 1) and tied for a record high once (April 4), according to the NCEI. February also saw one record high broken and another tied.
The record highs have been causing increases in — other than possibly deodorant sales — in the number of wildfires throughout the state.
There are more than 100 active wildfires burning in Florida and over 2,000 wildfires since Jan. 1, according to Florida Forest Service. As of Tuesday morning, the active wildfire maps shows two wildfires in Manatee County. A burn ban is in effect.
Manatee County is a 659 on the drought index, according to Florida Forest Service. Six percent of the county measures over 700; the index measures from zero to 800. Only Osceola County measures higher at 681.
Sarasota County, however, measures in at 657, with 16 percent of the county measuring over 700 on the index, according to Florida Forest Service.
Also fueling the wildfires is the lack of rainfall. Tampa’s normal precipitation from January to April is just under 10 inches, but to date, the area’s seen just 5.6 inches, according to Florida Forest Service.