The heat seems to have come early, and it is sticking around for Central Florida.

It has not only been warm here in Central Florida, but the entire state since the calendar flipped over to 2023.

What You Need To Know

  • 2023 is the warmest start to a year on record for Florida through March

  • It is the 16th driest start to a year on record 

  • La Niña was present at the start of the year, but an El Niño could develop this summer

The latest climate summary from the National Centers for Environmental Information was released in early April.

It summarizes the temperatures and the amount of precipitation for the country by month, and for the year.

Through the first three months of the year, the latest report found 2023 to be the warmest start to a year on record for the entire state. These records date back to 1895.

As far as rainfall goes, the report found this year to be starting off as the 16th driest on record for the Sunshine State.

Most of the state has seen abnormally dry, and even drought conditions expanding in recent months because of the lack of rainfall through early April.

The exception being in South Florida, which was recently inundated with around two feet of flooding rains in Fort Lauderdale.

This abnormally warm and dry pattern we have seen since the start of the year is likely due in part to La Niña. 

La Niña generally brings warmer and drier than average conditions to the region.

La Niña causes the storm track to stay farther to the north, leaving Florida and the Southeastern U.S., with less rainfall and warmer temperatures.

La Niña was declared to be ending in March, and now we are in a neutral phase.

This, however, is going to change, and we could see the pattern flip to an El Niño later this summer.

El Niño will then bring the potential for a whole unique weather pattern to set up.

First, this change could lead to fewer tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin for the upcoming hurricane season. 

If it then develops, and continues into the end of the year, it would bring more rain to Florida, and the Southeast U.S.

Only time will tell, but for now it looks the heat has arrived much earlier than normal so far for this year.

Our team of meteorologists dives deep into the scien early for this year.ce of weather and breaks down timely weather data and information. To view more weather and climate stories, check out our weather blogs section.