Weekly Weather Report
For Farmers and Others
Week of February 23, 2015
From Friendship Farms & Fare
A Community Service To the Local Farming Community
54 degrees at 3:30 AM, February 22, 2015
Historic Average (for 2/20): 73 HIGH, 55 LOW–Weather Underground: http://www.wunderground.com/
Historically, the average high temperature is now 73 degrees (three degrees higher than the lowest average low  of the year), and seventeen degrees lower than the highest average high ). Our average low is now 55 degrees, which is four degrees higher than lowest average low , and twenty-one degrees lower than the highest average low ).
The average low and high have begun their annual assent, which will peak in early June for highs and late June for lows, and remain constant (at 90/76) until early September, when the annual decline begins. This means for three months the average high will be 90 degrees, and the average low will be 76. It will also be humid during those months.
Note: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that 2014 was the hottest year on record (since records have been kept, 1880). Ocean and land temperatures were at their all time highs.
This is no great surprise to us. 2014 seemed hotter than usual here at the farms, and the past few years, our highs and lows have typically run a bit higher than historic averages. Last year the trend continued, and so far this year, it is still continuing. Although humans may enjoy unseasonably warm weather, above normal temperatures stress the winter crops, which flourish in cool to cold temperatures.
Weekly Weather Report – Warmer Week Ahead
Last Week (2/14-2/20): As noted above, the area-wide freeze did reach New Port Richey and the gardens. For a time, it appeared we might be spared, but just before dawn on Friday (2/20) the freeze arrived. Other growers in the area reported freezing temperatures and damage as well. For us and others contacted, the damaged appeared minimal. We had not planted our spring garden and only a few tomatoes and the summer eggplant were damaged.
We did receive more rain last week – nearly an inch, ahead of the front. February rainfall, so far, is 4.625. The average for February is 2.7 inches. Our January rainfall was 2.95 inches, compared with an average of 2.6 (using records for St. Petersburg). So, for this winter we’ve already received 7.575 inches, compared with the historical average for the first two months of winter 5.3. Remember, this is the Florida dry season.
Last week was a cold week. The highest high for last week at WU was 74 (2/15,16). The lowest high was 52 (2/19 ). The highest low was 56 (2/17) and lowest low was below freezing (20-31, est) (2/20). Five of seven days were at or below normal for highs and six were below normal for lows. Our average high for this time of the year is 72 and our average low is 54.
This Week (2/21-2/27): The coming week will see temperatures rebound, with several days above normal and others a bit below normal. Cooler days will be midweek, with warmer days at the beginning and close of the week. Watch for rain midweek in conjunction with weak fronts moving south, then drifting back to the north.
Temperatures will range from upper 70s to mid-60s for highs and mid-50s to low 60s for lows – with no forecast low below 56. Freeze is very unlikely.
Looking Ahead: We are still in the driest and coldest time of the year. Rainfall averages are creeping upward (like the temperatures). Historic norms indicate cool and dry conditions through February, although we are not running true to form on this. Dry conditions will require more frequent irrigation. The rainy season is still months away.
Average temperatures are gradually rising. By the end of March averages will be in the upper-70s for highs and upper-50s for lows. We are still in freeze season, and freezes are possible any week – usually with plenty of advance notice. The last date for a freeze in this area is early March.
Averages are not good guides, and we are currently running above historical averages, but with rather dramatic fluctuations. We reached or exceeded 80 degrees four times in January. February has been cooler. Readers will notice spring flowers appearing, well ahead of schedule. This means the winter vegetables may also flower early and bolt – if the warm weather continues.
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