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A Taste of Early Summer Temperatures Possible This Weekend

Dry and above-average temperatures expected through the weekend as high pressure dominates the Southeast.
Dry and above-average temperatures expected through the weekend as high pressure dominates the Southeast.

The calendar may still say February but parts of South Florida will be feeling like early summer as the weekend approaches. Near record high temperatures are possible along with several days of dry weather. 

Parts of the Florida Panhandle and northern Peninsula Wednesday experienced mostly clear skies and temperatures a few degrees above average. This warming trend is expected to continue into the weekend as a strong ridge of high pressure sits over the Southeast, diverting in warm southerly winds and minimizing shower chances.

The chance for showers remains greatest in southern parts of the Peninsula where a weak stationary frontal boundary was noted near the Florida Straits Wednesday, delivering a surge of moisture to the already saturated South Florida. Through Wednesday evening the increase in atmospheric moisture and daytime surface heating could contribute to isolated to scattered showers forming around South Florida and parts of the Treasure Coast. 

Precipitation chances are anticipated to decrease beginning Thursday as dry air moves into the southern peninsula after the passage of the frontal system. Strong high pressure will begin to dominate not only South Florida but the majority of the Southeast United States. The high pressure system will advect drier air into the region with maximum temperatures across the southwest Gulf coast and Lake Okeechobee region rising into the low to mid 80s. Mid to upper 70s likely along the Atlantic coast.

North Florida and eastern parts of the Florida Panhandle will continue to trend warmer each day with high temperatures climbing into the upper 70s to lower 80s through the weekend. Low to mid 70s are expected along the coastlines. Western Panhandle locations are likely to avoid these early summer-like temperatures with highs maintaining the low to mid 70s; near average for this time of the year.

The warming trend will pursue into the weekend as the high pressure ridge rebuilds westward across the Florida Peninsula, which will veer the wind flow from easterly on Friday to more southerly on Saturday and Sunday, to finally southwesterly Monday and Tuesday. The southerly wind flow will aid in dragging moist and humid air into the Sunshine State, allowing temperatures to rise even further through the weekend, especially for South Florida.

The National Weather Service in Miami stated Wednesday that Lee County, including the city of Fort Myers, could approach or even exceed record high temperatures this weekend, with the chance of a few locations reaching 90 degrees. The record high temperature in Fort Myers for February 27 and February 28 is 90 degrees.

The high pressure aloft is expected to persist through the beginning of the work week but may begin to degrade as a weak shortwave attempts to strengthen over the Lower Mississippi River Valley and the central Gulf Coast beginning Tuesday. Longterm weather models are struggling to determine the potential strength and magnitude of this system but it could bring an increase in showers and cooler temperatures if it approaches the Sunshine State.
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