The warm weather is here! Don’t expect water park closures and canceled nighttime shows this week, friends. It’s another round of Pretend Summer for Walt Disney World this week.
After last week went out on a windy, stormy note, with a rush of cancellations around Walt Disney World on Friday night — including everything from Skyliner transport to Epcot Forever — and a midnight shot of lightning and heavy rain, this weekend marks a change back to warmth. Quite a lot of warmth, actually.
A ridge of high pressure building over the Gulf of Mexico will slowly trudge eastward, and as it does so, its influence will be felt across all of central Florida through the middle of the week. Above-normal temperatures will warm us each day as a warm southeast to southwest wind takes control of the peninsula’s weather patterns. While most of the Southeast shivers and deals with flooding rains, the main story this week in Central Florida is going to be the sunny skies, the warm days, and the mild nights.
This is the kind of week which convinces vacationers to sell their houses up north and move into expensive apartments within a ten-minute drive of Walt Disney World’s front gates. Please don’t ask how I know that. Just, be sure to go back and look at my July and August columns before making any rash decisions.
This week’s weather at Walt Disney World
Sunday’s sunshine sticks around all day long, with a high near 75 degrees. The only downer will be the strong wind, switching from the north to the east as the high pressure ridge takes hold. You’ll find the day very breezy, with the wind gusting up to twenty miles an hour throughout the afternoon. The breeze chills out a little in the evening, and the evening looks very mild, falling slowly through the 60s to an overnight low of 59 degrees.
On Monday, the east-southeast breeze continues to guide our weather. The high will be around 82 degrees, the sunshine will be plentiful, and the clouds will be occasional. There’s an off-chance of a sprinkle from a coastal shower as that breeze rushes in off the Atlantic, but all in all, this should be a picture-perfect day. The overnight is remarkably mild, with a low of 63 degrees.
Tuesday continues the warm streak, pushing up to 83 degrees. As the high pressure ridge moves farther east, the winds change to the south-southwest, and the chance of a rain shower disappears. The winds ease in the evening, with an overnight low around 65 degrees.
Wednesday, the breeze is finally calm, picking up a little in the afternoon to blow about 5 miles per hour from the south. The high will be around 82 degrees, with mostly sunny skies, and the evening will only cool to around 65 degrees once again. This is very warm weather for February, even by Floridian standards.
Thursday warms up even more, hitting 85 degrees with a south wind of about 10 miles per hour and mostly sunny skies. The overnight low only dips to 66 degrees. By now the ridge should be flattening out, allowing some new energy to reach Florida. There’s a chance of a cold front pushing into Florida from Thursday night through sometime Friday.
Models are not in alignment as of yet with how long this front will take to move through, or how much rainfall it might bring. The GFS shows it sticking around through Saturday, but the ECM moves it through the area by Friday night, leaving behind some cooler temperatures. The blended forecast right now calls for a 50% chance of rain on Friday as the front finds its way through Central Florida, with temperatures in the mid 70s. If the front takes its time pulling out, we’ll see similar weather on Saturday as well.
Despite the uncertainty about timing, we can be pretty sure there’s going to be some rainfall and a slight drop in daily highs and lows on Friday through Saturday. But before that, we might find ourselves in record high, and record warm low, territory, with temperatures really soaring Tuesday through Thursday. Translation? Pack the bathing suit, order the water, and slather on the sunblock. You’re going to get a lot of sun this week.
Normal Central Florida Weather for February
So are all these days in the 80s really normal? They’re high… almost ten degrees higher than Orlando’s normal February maximum temperature of about 74 degrees. The mild nights around 65 are also very out of normal bounds, compared with the monthly normal minimum of 52 degrees. This week marks an impressive departure from normal in terms of temperature.
The long-range forecast points to a continued run of warmer than average temperatures, with less than average rainfall. With some south Florida meteorologists predicting that this past weekend would be the last dip into lows in the 50s for Miami this February, one has to wonder how many more cold punches this winter has left in it for Florida.