January 2020 Heat Wave
January 2020 produced some of the hottest weather Florida has had in the past 125 years. An anomalously strong ridge of high pressure built over the Greater Antilles and spread northward across the Bahamas, adjacent western Atlantic Ocean, and the Florida peninsula.
The strong high pressure caused the flow aloft to back from quasi-zonal to SW, which in turn caused weather systems to turn NE and lift out over the top of it, keeping cold air intrusions well away from Florida. It also made it quite hot and dry with zero rain falling in most places across the peninsula of Florida for most of mid-January 2020.
Through mid-January a series of cold fronts that crossed North America were shunted completely from the Florida peninsula by the blocking high centered over the Greater Antilles.
Rain chances were insignificant (20-30 pct) with only low-topped coastal showers spreading N-W in shallow moistening of the local air mass forecast. Otherwise, a significant period of far above normal temps occurred, especially nighttime minimums along and near the east coast. Florida also experienced a burst of pollen as trees respond to the hot weather with eruptions of spring-like activity.
The magnitude of the onshore winds resulted in daily Lake Wind and Small Craft Advisories for most of Central Florida through January.
For the 3rd week of January (13-19 Jan 2020) anomalous ridging, both surface and aloft flattened some, but remained strong enough to hold off any potential frontal intrusions into the Florida, until late January. With winds a little more veered southerly, the small precipitation chances that existed in early January diminished making for a prolonged period of hot and dry weather across the Florida peninsula.