If you found yourself sweating a little more than usual last year, you weren’t alone, and the warmth may continue through 2017.
It’s official: 2016 was the warmest year in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, a report released by the National Weather Service shows. But just barely.
75.3 The average temperature for the year in Bradenton-Sarasota
The average temperature for the year came in at 75.3 degrees, one-tenth of a degree higher than 2015’s average, according to report author and National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Close.
The record-setting temperature is also 2.4 degrees higher than the normal average temperature. July and September 2016 logged their own records of warmest average temperatures of 85.4 and 83.9 degrees respectively, according to the National Weather Service report.
State of Florida climatologist David Zierden credited the warm weather to the influence of a strong El Niño in January 2016 and a very extended warm summer.
“It’s very interesting because it wasn’t one hot spell, but continuous,” Zierden said, noting there were not many daily high temperature records broken, just consistent warm days.
He also noted that there were higher temperatures overnight than normal.
The report also confirmed it was one of the top 10 warmest years for the west and southwest parts of Florida. It may be close to the warmest year for the state, though the official numbers may not be released in the next week or two, Close said.
4 Number of inches less rainfall in Bradenton-Sarasota than the annual normal average of 53.01 inches
As for rainfall, Sarasota-Bradenton saw nearly 4 inches less than the annual normal average of 53.01 inches. In 2016, the average rainfall tallied 49.11 inches, according to the report.
Aug. 31 saw the greatest amount of rainfall at 7.76 inches. The month of November was the fourth driest month in history with just 0.02 inch of rain.
What the future holds is a bit murky. Close and Zierden said it’s difficult to predict weather too far out as it tends to fluctuate, but 2017 may also see warmer than normal temperatures.
“In the near term, I think the warmth will continue,” Zierden said, but added there are “just no good indicators” after a couple of months how the weather will turn.
But the weak La Niña working its way through the area is “really falling apart right now,” Zierden said.
For Zierden, two consecutive warm years don’t indicate a long-term warming pattern, but it does raise some worries for the climate.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out,” Zierden said.
1976 The coolest year on record for the area
Florida is largely behind the rest of the world in warming trends, Zierden pointed out, but Florida hasn’t seen the end of cold winters.
He recalled the winter of 2010 when there was a two- to three-week period where the night temperatures dipped below freezing.
The coolest year on record for the area remains 1976, when temperatures averaged 70.4 degrees. Records for the area began in January 1911.