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Prepared by Florida Climate Center
The Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

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  • Average monthly temperatures in January were near normal for the month.
  • Monthly precipitation totals in January were generally above normal, but below normal in parts of central and southeastern Florida.
  • With the recent wet and stormy weather so far this season, drought continued to improve in Florida; an area of moderate drought remains along the west-central coast.
  • El Niño is expected to persist for the next several months, with a 73% chance of transitioning to ENSO-neutral conditions during April-June 2024. Chances of a historically strong event are just over 50% this winter.


Average monthly temperatures in January were near normal. Average temperature departures from normal ranged from -1.9 ̊F in Pensacola to +2.2 ̊F in Miami for the month (see Table 1 and Appendix 1 for select cities). A hard freeze affected the state in the middle of the month, with minimum temperatures below freezing for three consecutive nights across North Florida and the Panhandle. Crestview reached a low of 18 ̊F on the 17th, which was 20 ̊F below normal but did not set a new record minimum temperature. Temperatures rebounded, however, with well above normal temperatures toward the end of the month. The coolest part of the state for the month was the western Panhandle, while the warmest are of the state was southeastern Florida. Select daily high maximum temperature records tied or broken during the month are provided in Appendix 2.

Table 1. January average temperatures and departures from normal ( ̊F) for selected cities.

Station Mean Temperature Departure from Normal
Pensacola 51.3 -1.9
Tallahassee 53.1 +0.9
Jacksonville 54.8 +0.6
Orlando 62.2 +1.6
Tampa 61.7 -0.3
Miami 70.8 +2.2
Key West 71.4 +0.8 


Monthly rainfall totals in January were generally above normal, but below normal in parts of central and southeast Florida. The monthly precipitation departures from normal ranged from -0.94 inches in Miami to +2.43 inches in Fort Myers (see Table 2 and Appendix 1 for select locations). Rain fell in areas that needed it. Heavy rain in south Florida led to drought improvement along west-central coastal areas that have been affected by long-term drought. Naples had its 6th-wettest January on record with a total of 2.21 inches of rain for the month. Fort Myers had its 7th-wettest January on record with monthly precipitation totaling 4.86 inches. Drought was removed in the Panhandle, which had between 5 and 7 inches of rain for the month.

Table 2. January precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.

Station Total Rainfall Departure from Normal
Pensacola 6.29 +1.26
Tallahassee 5.35 +0.94
Jacksonville 4.02 +0.74
Orlando 1.59 -0.89
Tampa 3.12 +0.47
Miami 0.89 -0.94
Key West 1.83 0.00 


Figure 1. A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for January (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).

Figure 1.  A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for January (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).


El Niño Advisory.

El Niño conditions, the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation climate pattern in the tropical equatorial Pacific Ocean, are expected to continue for the next several months. ENSO-neutral conditions are favored during April-June 2024 (now up to a 73% chance). Above-average sea surface temperature anomalies across the equatorial Pacific Ocean have been indicative of a strong El Niño. The largest anomalies have been observed in the central and east-central Pacific, with the latest weekly values at +1.4°C in Niño-4, +1.9°C in Niño-3.4, and +2.0° C in Niño-3 regions. There remains a just over 50% chance of reaching “historically strong” levels this winter.


Hazardous Weather Events in January.

According to the Local Storm Reports issued by the local National Weather Service offices serving Florida, there were 311 individual local reports of hazardous weather events recorded across the state during the month of January (see Table 4 for a breakdown by event type). A severe weather outbreak occurred across the Panhandle and central Florida on January 9th. The storm system moved across the state and led to an outbreak of approximately 14 tornadoes reported in southern GA, AL and in FL, along with damaging straight-line winds. The most powerful tornado, an EF3, was confirmed in Bay County in Lower Grand Lagoon which then moved into Panama City, leaving severe damage along its path. Several EF2 and EF1 tornadoes were reported elsewhere in the Panhandle. An EF1 was reported in northern Hillsborough County and an EF0 in Pinellas County associated with a squall line. In all, there were 9 injuries and 1 fatality associated with the storms.

Table 3. Breakdown of storm reports submitted in Florida during the month of January (compiled from Iowa State University/Iowa Environmental Mesonet).

Report Type Number of Reports
Heavy Rain 1
Flood 2
Flash Flood 2
Coastal Flood 6
Hail 7
Non-Thunderstorm Wind Gust 34
Non-Thunderstorm Wind Damage 13
Tornado/Waterspout/Funnel Cloud 26/3/3
Thunderstorm Wind Damage 144
Thunderstorm Wind Gust 68
Lightning 1
Rip Currents 1


Daily Record Events in January.

Table 4. Summary of daily records broken or set in Florida in January (source: NCEI Daily Weather Records).

Category Number of Records
Highest daily max. temp. 30
Highest daily min. temp. 58
Lowest daily max. temp. 1
Lowest daily min. temp. 1
Highest daily precipitation 31
Total 121


Drought-Related Impacts.

Stormy, wet conditions in Florida have led to improved drought conditions across west-central Florida and the western Panhandle. By mid-January, approximately 1.4% of the state was in moderate drought (D1) and 2.7% was abnormally dry (D0), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. By the end of the month, slight improvement had occurred with 1.3% of the state in moderate drought (D1) and 1.4% abnormally dry (D0) (see Figure 2 below). Drought removal is likely during February-April.

As of January 31, the Lake Okeechobee water level was 16.29 ft. above sea level (Feet-NGVD29), which is above average for this time of year. At the first of the month, the water level was 15.98 ft. above sea level.


Figure 2. A graphical depiction of the latest drought conditions in Florida according to the U.S. Drought Monitor (courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

drought monitor


Agriculture-Related Impacts.

In January, a hard freeze was experienced during the middle of the month in many northern counties but no significant impacts to crops were reported. Drought improved due to moderate to heavy rainfall observed across much of the state during the month. Soil moisture increased as a result. Pasture conditions were mostly fair to good, though some pastures were overly saturated due to the frequent and heavy rainfall. Livestock was also mostly fair to good but supplemental hay was used when pastures were too wet or growth was limited due to cold temperatures. Some sugarcane operations were delayed due to high winds and heavy rain. Damages to citrus crops due to the hard freeze mid-month are still being assessed but were likely confined to new plantings. Among the crops that were planted and harvested in January included sugarcane, tomatoes, green beans, avocado, and tropical fruits. For more information, consult the Crop Progress State Stories, which is published by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service December through March.


Appendix 1
Additional January departures from normal data for select Florida locations (Source: NWS).

Station Average Temperature (˚F) Departure from Normal (˚F) Total Rainfall (in.) Departure from Normal (in.)
Gainesville 56.6 +1.8 3.44 +0.15
Sarasota 63.0 +0.6 4.31 +1.52
Naples 66.3 +1.0 2.21 +0.53
Fort Myers 65.5 +0.8 4.86 +2.43
West Palm Beach 68.3 +2.0 2.62 -0.85


Appendix 2
Select daily record high maximum temperatures (°F) broken or tied during January (compiled from NOAA).

Location Date Record Broken/Tied Last
Lakeland 9 91 Broken 87 in 2013
Miami 12 87 Broken 84 in 2018
West Palm Beach 12 87 Broken 83 in 2020
Fort Lauderdale 13 86 Broken 83 in 2020
Homestead 13 86 Broken 83 in 2020
Perrine 13 85 Broken 83 in 1994
Miami 13 86 Broken 84 in 1993
Key West 15 84 Tied 84 in 2020
Hialeah 16 85 Tied 85 in 1997
Homestead 16 84 Broken 83 in 1991
West Palm Beach 16 85 Broken 84 in 1954
Fort Lauderdale 17 84 Broken 82 in 2020
Perrine 17 84 Broken 83 in 1991
Tallahassee 24 80 Broken 78 in 1974
Tampa 25 86 Broken 84 in 2012
Gainesville 25 83 Broken 82 in 2023
Clermont 27 86 Broken 85 in 1950
Hastings 27 82 Broken 81 in 2017
Plant City 27 88 Broken 86 in 1962
Tampa 27 85 Broken 82 in 2009
Orlando 27 85 Broken 84 in 1962
Gainesville 27 84 Broken 82 in 1962
Lakeland 27 85 Broken 84 in 1962
Clermont 28 87 Broken 84 in 2021
Hialeah 28 86 Broken 85 in 1963
Fort Lauderdale 29 85 Broken 82 in 2012
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