KEY WEST CLIMATE STATISTICS FOR
2001

TEMPERATURE

AVG. MONTHLY MAX. 82.6 F    DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL + 0.1 F
AVG. MONTHLY MIN. 72.4 F     DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL -0.7 F
AVG. YEARLY TEMP. 77.5 F       DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL: -0.3 F
 

AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE...
HIGHEST MONTHLY AVG. TEMP: 84.4 F     MONTH: AUGUST
LOWEST MONTHLY AVG. TEMP.: 64.7 F     MONTH: JANUARY
LARGEST POSITIVE DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL: 4.4 F     MONTH: FEBRUARY
LARGEST NEGATIVE DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL: 5.2 F     MONTH: JANUARY

HIGHEST TEMP.: 92 F DATE: 8/26 LOWEST TEMP.: 46 F DATE: 1/5

PRECIPITATION

TOTAL: 47.43 INCHES     DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL: + 7.84 INCHES

GREATEST 24 HOUR RAINFALL: 4.48 INCHES     DATE: SEPTEMBER 28-29

GREATEST MONTHLY RAINFALL: 10.01 INCHES     MONTH: SEPTEMBER

LEAST MONTHLY RAINFALL: 0.11 INCHES     MONTH: FEBRUARY

LARGEST POSITIVE DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL: 4.16 INCHES        MONTH: SEPTEMBER
LARGEST NEGATIVE DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL : 2.70 INCHES     MONTH: JUNE

NUMBER OF DAYS WITH...

RAINFALL > 0.01 INCHES: 118 (106 NORMAL)
RAINFALL > 0.10 INCHES: 76
RAINFALL > 0.50 INCHES: 28
RAINFALL > 1.00 INCHES: 14 ( 10 NORMAL)

THUNDERSTORMS: 67 (64 NORMAL)
FOG REDUCING VIS. TO 1/4 MILE OR LESS: 2 (1.2 NORMAL)
SMOKE/HAZE: 28
WATERSPOUTS: 26

MAX. TEMPS. > 90 F: 32 (40 NORMAL)

COLD FRONTAL PASSAGES: 15 (4 IN JANUARY)

TROP. CYCLONES AFFECTING THE KEYS: 2,   HURRICANE MICHELLE, TS GABRIELLE

LAST COLD FRONTAL PASSAGE OF SPRING: APRIL 18TH
FIRST COLD FRONTAL PASSAGE OF FALL: OCTOBER 27TH
 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

HIGHEST BAROMETRIC PRESSURE: 30.34 INCHES     01/05
LOWEST BAROMETRIC PRESSURE: 29.60 INCHES     11/5

HEATING DEGREE DAYS: 89 DEPARTURE: -11
COOLING DEGREE DAYS: 4,737 DEPARTURE: -155

PEAK WIND/DIRECTION: 49 MPH DATE: 4/1 FROM NW
HIGHEST SUSTAINED WIND/DIR: 37 MPH DATE: 4/1 FROM NW AND 11/5 FROM NE
HIGHEST AVERAGE DAILY WIND SPEED: 23.3 MPH DATE: 11/4
 

FLORIDA KEYS WEATHER, 2001 YEAR IN REVIEW

The year started off on the cold side for the Keys.  January 2001 will go on record as the 6th coldest January In Key West, based on the monthly average temperature. The average temperature of 64.7 F was 5.2 F below normal and there had not been a January this cold in Key West since 1981. January 1981 was the coldest month on record for Key West with an average temperature of 61.3 F.  The coldest temperature in Key West for 2001 was 46 F, occurred on
January 5th a record for the date. Five record lows were either set or tied during the month.

In contrast, February 2001 in Key West was a warm month and the average temperature for February was 74.9 F, 4.4 F above normal.   The warmest temperature observed in Key West during February was 83 F which occurred on the 15th, tying a record, and it occurred again on the 16th.

Dry conditions continued from late 2000 limited as the total rainfall during January and February of 2001, was only 0.42 inches,  Only 3 other times, since record keeping began in Key West (1871)  has there been less rainfall in January and February than in 2001.  In 1928, only 0.27 inches of rain fell in Key West during January and February. In 1907, only 0.31 inches of rain fell and in 1923, 0.41 inches of rain fell during January and February combined.

March and April brought above normal rainfall to the Keys since October 2000.   Some much needed heavy rain fell during March and April in south Florida. This helped to ease the drought conditions in south Florida and prevented the Keys from going into phase 3 water restrictions.  Rainfall was nearly 2 inches above normal in Key West for both months and most sections of the Keys were above normal for March and April. Heavy rain fell in the beginning and end of April
with 1.33 inches falling on the 1st and 1.47 inches on the 29th in Key West.

On March 3rd, the 85 F maximum temperature set a record for the date. A record low temperature of 54 F occurred on the March 9th.

May was a cool month for all of the Keys and dry for the lower Keys.  Average temperature for the month of May in Key West was 2.4 F below normal. Much of the coolness was due to the unusual amount of cloudiness experienced across the Keys during the month.  Some locations in the lower and Middle Keys received heavy amounts of rain, > 2 inches, late in the month, which resulted in above average rainfall.  Both Bahia Honda State Park and Curry Hammock State Park
received over 6 inches of rain during May.  Key West officially measured 2.40 inches of rain during May, 1.06 inches below normal. This added to the overall drought conditions in south Florida and phase 2 water restrictions were still being imposed in Monroe County at the end of the month. Between October 1999 and May 2001,  Key West was 11.17 inches or about 20% below normal in rainfall.

The rainy season began (dry season ended) in the Keys on May 22nd as many locations in the Keys began receiving rainfall for several days in a row and the surface dewpoints, a measure of moisture expressed in terms of temperature, climbed above 70 F and remained above 70 F through the end of the month.

June 2001 in Key West continued the dry trend of the last year and a half.  In Key West, rainfall was 2.70 inches below normal for June. June is normally one of the wettest months of the year averaging over 5 inches of rain. This year, only 2.39 inches of rain fell, making the rainfall deficit in Key West about 15 inches since November 1999.

A significant surplus of rain fell in Key West during July for the first time in several months. With the increased amount of cloud cover, average temperatures were cooler than normal and almost 2 degrees cooler than July 2000.  A total of 6.82 inches of rain fell in Key West during July making it only the 2nd time since 1980 that Key West has received over 6 inches of rain in July.  The total was 3.21 inches above normal, reducing the yearly deficit to about 2 ½ inches.

Above normal rainfall continued for the Keys and south Florida during August, helping the drought conditions and allowing water restrictions to be lifted for many areas, but not the Keys. Key West received 6.60 inches of rainfall, 1.57 inches above normal.  Heavier rain fell in the Upper Keys as Islamorada received 13.82 inches of rain during August.

On the first few days of August, the Keys experienced widespread thunderstorms and strong winds. Unfortunately, a migrant boat from Cuba with about 30 people on it sank about 17 miles southeast of Key West in the early morning of the 1st. The boat sank due to high winds and waves and one person drowned. A peak wind gust of 40 mph from the east was recorded on the 1st  in Key West.

On August 14th, a woman in Islamorada was struck by lightning. She was taken to intensive care and fortunately, she recovered fully. This is an example of the dangers of lightning. It is important to remember that all thunderstorms contain lightning.

Rainfall was well above normal again for the Keys and Key West during September. In Key West, 10.01 inches of rain was recorded. This is 4.16 inches above normal for the month bringing the yearly total to near normal. On the 28th and 29th, 4.48 inches of rain fell creating the greatest rainfall in 24 hours for the year.  John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo recorded 15.73 inches of rain during September.

Tropical Storm Gabrielle formed in the southeast Gulf on the 13th and moved northeast, affecting the Keys with tropical storm force winds and some rain. Only Dry Tortugas received any significant rain,  2.54 inches. All other reporting locations in the Keys received around 1 inch from the storm. Tropical storm force winds, > 39 mph, occurred over the Keys coastal waters for several hours late on the 13th and through the 14th. The highest wind gust, 62 mph, across the area from the storm occurred at Sand Key around 5 am on the 14th. The highest sustained wind, 46 mph, was measured at Sombrero Key around noon on the 14th. The peak gust at Key West, during the storm, was 48 mph on the 14th.

There was an indirect death in the Keys related to Tropical Storm Gabrielle. On the 13th, a man fell off his boat and drowned in Florida Bay just north of Tavernier Creek. Intoxication, engine trouble, strong winds and rough seas were all causes of the accident.

The Keys were affected by a non-tropical but strong system late in the month. From the 28th through the end of the month, Key West observed 6.32 inches of rain and most locations in the Keys had over 4 inches of rain for the storm event. Some severe thunderstorms rolled through the
Keys early in the morning of the 29th. A few trees were knocked down by strong winds in Plantation Key, blocking U.S. 1 for a short while around 130 am. Minor roof damage also occurred to a convenience store in Islamorada about the same time. A peak wind gust of 60 mph was recorded at Molasses Reef offshore of the upper Keys. There was also some minor damage to a hardware store in Big Pine Key and to a hydrogen gas company on Stock Island from strong winds around 400 am on the 29th. A wind gust of 47 mph was measured in Key West during the thunderstorm which caused the damage.

October continued the trend of above normal rainfall in the Keys, helping to erase the rainfall deficits from late last year and early this year. The 7.27 inches of rain which fell in Key West was 2.85 inches above normal. Tavernier recorded 13.50 inches of rain during October.  A cold front passed through the Keys late in the month on the 27th. This was the first cold frontal passage through the Keys since mid May 2001.

In November, Hurricane Michelle moved over central Cuba and northeast over the southern Straits, brushing the Keys on November 4th and 5th with some heavy rains and minimal wind and surge damage. The maximum sustained wind of 50 mph was observed at the Sombrero Key C-MAN station around 3 am on the 5th. The peak gust was 58 mph, also occurring at Sombrero Key a little after 3 am on the 5th. Rainfall, generally around 2 inches, was fairly uniform over all
of the Keys.  Tavernier observed the maximum of 2.73 inches during the storm. No significant reports of flooding associated with storm surge were received.

The rainy season ended and dry season started, on November 6th. After Michelle passed by, significant widespread rain did not occur for the rest of the month.
 
Weather conditions across the Keys in December were generally warm with above normal rainfall. The average monthly temperature was 1.9 F above normal. The bulk of the rain for the month fell on the 31st when 1.99 inches fell, setting a daily record.

Overall, temperatures averaged slightly below normal for the year in Key West and after a dry start, Key West ended the year 7.84 inches above normal in rainfall.  Two tropical systems affected the Keys, Tropical Storm Gabrielle and Hurricane Michelle but thankfully, neither caused much damage to the Keys.

**The previous climate data is unofficial. For official climate data, contact the National Climatic Data Center at 828-271-4800 or visit their web page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov or the southeast regional climate center at http://www.dnr.state.sc.us/climate/sercc or 803-737-0849.


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