South Florida’s year of action-packed weather: In 2021, we faced tornadoes, high temperatures and dangerous winds

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The top temperature hit 98 degrees, two tornadoes struck and 30 waterspouts spun over the ocean, as South Florida recorded another year of hot and action-packed weather.

The National Weather Service on Friday released its weather summary for 2021 across South Florida and Southwest Florida. The report found the year was hotter than normal, although not the hottest on record.

Although the region once again came through hurricane season without a direct hit, the area experienced some dangerous winds.

The top wind in a thunderstorm was a 73 mph gust that hit Davie on June 14. On Aug. 25, a cluster of thunderstorms produced winds of up to 55 mph, killing a kitesurfer in Fort Lauderdale who was blown into the side of a house.

The region experienced two tornadoes, in the weak form common in the region called “landspouts.” One hit Palm Beach County in August, the other hit Broward in September, when a waterspout made landfall. There was no damage.

The region also experienced 30 waterspouts.

Global warming has produced record temperature readings across the world over the past few years. Although 2021 was hotter than normal, it was not South Florida’s hottest on record. The hottest year for South Florida was 2020, which globally tied for the hottest year in recorded history.

Temperatures recorded at South Florida’s three major airports found this to be the fifth-warmest year on record for Miami-Dade County and the sixth-warmest year for Broward and Palm Beach counties.

For the region as a whole, temperatures were about 1 to 2 degrees above normal last year, the weather service said.

The hottest temperature recorded in South Florida last year was 98 degrees, reached in July and August at four places: Oasis Ranger Station at Big Cypress National Preserve, Miles City in eastern Collier County, Homestead General Airport and the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation.

The low temperature was 33 degrees in the Glades County town of Ortona, when the cold extended across the region and caused frost in western Palm Beach County.

David Fleshler can be reached at dfleshler@sunsentinel.com and 954-356-4535.

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