Forecasting Change: The winters in Florida really are getting warmer

Winters getting hotter faster than other seasons

A freight ship makes her way toward the Sunshine Skyway Bridge under a spectacular Florida sunset, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, in Tierra Verde, Fla. Tropical storm Eta continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico and could possibly make landfall in the Florida panhandle later in the week. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Chris O'Meara, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – This week on Forecasting Change, we’re taking a look at warming seasons.

Have you ever heard someone say, “We used to get colder around here in the winter time.” Well chances are, they’re right. Research by Climate Central shows that winter is the fastest warming season for most of the country.

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For Florida this is true. Look at this graphic that shows how much warmer our winters have become in the past 50 years. On average we have had a 3 degree rise in the average winter temperatures. All of our seasons are getting warmer, but winter is warming faster than the rest.

Winters in Florida are getting warmer. (Climate Central)

Summers are getting hotter and we’re “losing our chill” during the colder seasons. The impacts to our weather, health, ecosystems and way of life are becoming more recognizable in everyday life. But with a wealth of climate solutions at our fingertips, there’s still reason to hope that we can keep our cool if we take action to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Winter is the fastest warming season for much of the country. (Climate Central)

Warmer winters in Florida matches the trend for most of the USA. This graphic shows that the warmer winter is actually on par with the entire eastern half of the country. The total is 38 out of 49 states have the same trend.

For people up north the winter getting warmer might sound like a great idea but the impacts to our weather patterns, lifestyles, health and ecosystems are dangerous and changing the norms of day-to-day life.

Any savings on heating are offset by longer cooling needs. And pests such as ticks thrive in warmer winters. It leads to longer allergy seasons and longer fire seasons. All states recorded an increase in average winter temperature of at least 1 degree, while 70% recorded increases of 3 degrees or more since 1970.

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.