PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE KEY WEST FL
400 AM EST MON JAN 1 2007

...END OF YEAR FLORIDA KEYS WEATHER RETROSPECTIVE...

WITH 2006 OFFICIALLY BEHIND US...HERE IS A LOOK BACK AT SOME NOTABLE
WEATHER-RELATED EVENTS IN THE FLORIDA KEYS LAST YEAR.

WE BEGAN THE YEAR IN A PROLONGED STRETCH OF EXTREMELY DRY WEATHER.
THE 175 DAYS FROM NOVEMBER 22 2005 THROUGH MAY 14 2006 WERE THE
DRIEST STRETCH EVER RECORDED IN KEY WEST...WITH A TOTAL OF ONLY 1.05
INCHES OF RAIN FALLING IN NEARLY SIX MONTHS...AND ONLY 0.06 INCHES
FALLING IN THE LAST 77 DAYS OF THAT PERIOD (FEBRUARY 27 THROUGH MAY
14). THE NORMAL RAINFALL TOTAL FOR NOVEMBER 22 THROUGH MAY 14 IN KEY
WEST IS 11.80 INCHES. DURING THE LONG DRY STREAK KEY WEST NEARED OR
BROKE SEVERAL RECORDS INCLUDING ITS DRIEST DECEMBER (2005) AND
SECOND-DRIEST APRIL EVER. MARATHON WAS ALSO MUCH DRIER THAN NORMAL
(ALTHOUGH NOT AS DRY AS KEY WEST) OVER THE PERIOD FROM NOVEMBER 22
2005 THROUGH MAY 14 2006...RECORDING ONLY 3.35 INCHES OF RAIN DURING
THAT TIME.

ON THE MORNING OF JANUARY 16 THE TEMPERATURE AT KEY WEST
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FELL TO 48 DEGREES...BREAKING THE RECORD LOW
FOR THE DATE. THIS WAS THE COLDEST TEMPERATURE RECORDED IN KEY WEST
IN 2006...AND IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE TEMPERATURE HAD DROPPED
BELOW 50 DEGREES SINCE JANUARY 24 2003.

VALENTINES DAY MAY WARM THE HEARTS OF THE ROMANTIC BUT IN 2006 IT
WAS THE COLDEST DAY OF THE YEAR IN KEY WEST...WITH A HIGH
TEMPERATURE OF 61 DEGREES AND A LOW TEMPERATURE OF 51 DEGREES
COMBINING FOR AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF ONLY 56 DEGREES. THE
MARATHON AIRPORT RECORDED A LOW TEMPERATURE OF 48 DEGREES THAT
MORNING...THE COLDEST READING OF THE YEAR AT THAT LOCATION.

ON MARCH 20 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN KEY WEST HELD ITS FIRST
OPEN HOUSE...OFFICIALLY OPENING ITS NEW FACILITY ON WHITE STREET TO
THE PUBLIC FOR THE FIRST TIME. SEVERAL HUNDRED KEYS RESIDENTS AND
VISITORS TOURED THE OFFICE AND SPOKE WITH METEOROLOGISTS. ONLY EIGHT
DAYS LATER ON MARCH 28...WEATHER BALLOON LAUNCHING OPERATIONS MOVED
FROM THE OLD FACILITY AT THE KEY WEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO THE
NEW WHITE STREET OFFICE...THUS COMPLETING TRANSITION OF NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE KEY WEST OPERATIONS TO THE NEW SITE.

ON APRIL 6 A VERY RARE SIGHT IN THE FLORIDA KEYS MADE LOCAL
HEADLINES AS A DUST DEVIL FORMED ON STOCK ISLAND...ALONG U.S. 1 NEAR
THE BURGER KING RESTAURANT...LASTING ABOUT 20 MINUTES AND CROSSING
THE HIGHWAY TWICE CAUSING POLICE TO CLOSE THE ROAD TEMPORARILY. THIS
EVENT UNDERSCORED THE EXTREMELY DRY CONDITIONS GRIPPING THE KEYS AT
THE TIME.

THE LONG DRY STREAK THAT PERSISTED THROUGH THE SPRING FINALLY BROKE
IN MID-MAY...WHEN A COLD FRONT STALLED NEAR THE FLORIDA KEYS FOR A
COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE PUSHING THROUGH. ON MAY 15-17 THE STALLED
FRONT PRODUCED 1.34 INCHES OF RAIN AT THE KEY WEST AIRPORT AND 1.57
INCHES AT THE MARATHON AIRPORT. THE 1.06 INCHES RECORDED IN KEY WEST
ON MAY 16 ALONE WAS MORE THAN FELL DURING THE ENTIRE 175-DAY STRETCH
PRECEDING THE EVENT. AFTER THE FRONT PASSED THROUGH...KEYS RESIDENTS
WERE REWARDED WITH SEVERAL UNSEASONABLY COOL AND PLEASANT DAYS. ON
THE MORNING OF MAY 19 THE LOW TEMPERATURE IN KEY WEST WAS 66 DEGREES
AND ON THE 20TH IT WAS 67 DEGREES. BOTH WERE RECORD LOWS FOR THEIR
RESPECTIVE DATES...AND THE 67 DEGREES IN KEY WEST AND 69 DEGREES IN
MARATHON ON MAY 20 WOULD BE THE LAST TIME THE TEMPERATURE WOULD DROP
BELOW 70 DEGREES AT EITHER LOCATION UNTIL OCTOBER 24.

IN THE EARLY MORNING OF MAY 30 A SERIES OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS
PERSISTED FOR SEVERAL HOURS THROUGH MUCH OF THE LOWER
KEYS...RESULTING IN 2.83 INCHES OF RAIN FALLING AT THE KEY WEST
AIRPORT. THIS CAUSED SUBSTANTIAL STREET FLOODING THROUGHOUT THE
CITY...AND IT WAS THE HIGHEST SINGLE-DAY RAINFALL TOTAL OF THE YEAR
IN KEY WEST.

TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO FORMED ONLY 10 DAYS INTO THE OFFICIAL
HURRICANE SEASON...PASSING NORTHWESTWARD THROUGH THE YUCATAN CHANNEL
THEN TURNING NORTHWARD OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO ON JUNE 11.
THE EFFECTS WERE MINIMAL IN THE KEYS...WITH GENERALLY CLOUDY AND
BREEZY CONDITIONS PREVAILING FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS. THE SYSTEM DID
PRODUCE 1.68 INCHES OF RAIN IN KEY WEST...HELPING TO FURTHER
MITIGATE THE RAINFALL DEFICIT STILL BEING SUFFERED FROM THE DRY
WINTER AND SPRING.

AS JULY TURNED TO AUGUST THE SUMMER HEAT REACHED ITS PEAK. THE SIX
DAYS FROM JULY 29 THROUGH AUGUST 3 WERE THE WARMEST STRETCH OF THE
YEAR IN KEY WEST...WITH HIGHS OF 89-91 DEGREES AND OVERNIGHT LOWS OF
82-84 DEGREES ON EACH OF THOSE DAYS. HOWEVER IT WAS NOT UNTIL AUGUST
13 AND 14 THAT THE AFTERNOON HIGH TEMPERATURE WOULD REACH 92
DEGREES...THE HIGHEST READING IN KEY WEST THIS YEAR.

IN LATE AUGUST THE FLORIDA KEYS SUFFERED A MINOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
SCARE...THE ONLY SUCH THREAT IMPOSED ON THE KEYS THIS SEASON.
TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO FORMED IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SEA ON AUGUST
24...THEN MOVED WEST NORTHWESTWARD AND NORTHWESTWARD NEAR HAITI AND
OVER THE MOUNTAINS OF EASTERN CUBA...EVENTUALLY EMERGING FROM THE
NORTH COAST OF CUBA ON THE MORNING OF AUGUST 29. THE TROPICAL STORM
THEN MOVED NORTHWEST OVER THE CAY SAL BANK...MAKING LANDFALL ON
PLANTATION KEY AROUND MIDNIGHT THAT NIGHT WITH SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR
45 MPH. DAMAGE IN THE KEYS WAS MINIMAL AND MOSTLY CONFINED TO THE
UPPER KEYS. IN KEY WEST THE STORM PRODUCED VERY LITTLE WIND AND ONLY
1.35 INCHES OF RAINFALL AT THE AIRPORT.

LATE ON THE NIGHT OF OCTOBER 23...THE MONDAY OF FANTASY FEST
WEEK...THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT COLD FRONT OF THE SEASON PASSED THROUGH
THE KEYS BRINGING THE TEMPERATURE THE FOLLOWING MORNING (THE 24TH)
DOWN TO 68 DEGREES IN KEY WEST AND 67 DEGREES IN MARATHON...THE
FIRST TIME IT HAD DIPPED BELOW 70 DEGREES AT EITHER LOCATION SINCE
MAY 20. BEHIND THE FRONT CONDITIONS WERE MILD...BREEZY...AND
GENERALLY COMFORTABLE FOR THE REMAINDER OF FANTASY FEST. THIS FRONT
EFFECTIVELY BROUGHT AN END TO SUMMER AS THE HIGH TEMPERATURES IN KEY
WEST ON THE PRECEDING TWO DAYS (OCTOBER 22 AND 23) WERE 87 AND 86
DEGREES AND THE HIGHEST TEMPERATURE RECORDED SINCE THEN HAS BEEN 84
DEGREES.

ON THE NIGHT OF DECEMBER 14 A WEAKENED COLD FRONT SETTLED NEAR SOUTH
FLORIDA AND THE KEYS...STALLING AND REMAINING NEARBY FOR SEVERAL
DAYS. THE RESULTING WET WEATHER GAVE KEYS RESIDENTS AND VISITORS
ALMOST THREE FULL DAYS OF CLOUDY SKIES AND NEARLY CONTINUOUS
RAIN...TOTALING 3.10 INCHES AT THE KEY WEST AIRPORT AND 4.65 INCHES
AT THE MARATHON AIRPORT. 3.07 INCHES OF THE KEY WEST TOTAL FELL ON
DECEMBER 15-17...MAKING IT THE WETTEST THREE-DAY STRETCH SINCE
OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 2 2005 WHEN 4.20 INCHES FELL. THE 1.07 INCHES
THAT FELL ON THE 17TH PUSHED KEY WEST TO 0.13 INCHES ABOVE NORMAL IN
YEAR-TO-DATE RAINFALL...THE FIRST TIME AN ABOVE-NORMAL LEVEL HAD
BEEN REACHED ALL YEAR. THUS IN TERMS OF YEAR-TO-DATE RAINFALL
DEFICIT KEY WEST DID NOT FULLY RECOVER FROM THE RECORD DRY STRETCH
OF THE PREVIOUS WINTER AND SPRING UNTIL TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE END OF
THE YEAR. KEY WEST RECORDED 4.82 INCHES OF RAIN FOR THE MONTH OF
DECEMBER...MAKING IT THE EIGHTH-WETTEST DECEMBER EVER. THIS IS A
STARK CONTRAST TO THE PREVIOUS DECEMBER (2005)...WHICH WAS THE
DRIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD WITH ONLY 0.05 INCHES OF RAIN.

HERE ARE THE ANNUAL STATISTICS FOR 2006 ALONG WITH OTHER RECENT
YEARS AND NORMALS FOR KEY WEST AND MARATHON:

                 AVERAGE TEMPERATURE     TOTAL RAINFALL
                 ===================     ==============
KEY WEST 2006    77.6                    39.65
KEY WEST 2005    77.4                    53.70
KEY WEST 2004    77.7                    30.10
KEY WEST NORMAL  78.1                    38.94

MARATHON 2006    78.7                    38.08
MARATHON 2005    78.5                    MM
MARATHON 2004    78.6                    23.00
MARATHON NORMAL  77.5                    41.00

$$

LEE

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