"Christmas in July" is something you've probably heard before. How about July-like heat at Christmas? Numerous record highs and warm overnight lows are likely to be tied or broken in the next few days all over Florida, including on Christmas Day. All-time record maximum temperatures for the month of December are also within reach at a few locations Friday and Saturday. In most cities, even if a record is not achieved, the forecast highs and lows this weekend would be closer to normal for August or early September, some twenty degrees above normal in some spots!
The unusual persistent warmth is from a combination of factors, with the largest contribution coming from strong and stubborn ridge of high pressure just to the east of Florida. This feature hasn't budged in weeks and continues to prevent cold fronts from moving very far into The Southeast, which in turns keeps the cold air to our north. Another player to the recent warm spell is the current El Niño. During an event such as this, in particular during the early part of the winter, upper level winds are so strong out of the southwest that storm systems don't have the time to fully mature and pull down the wintertime temperatures they so often do this time of year.
Long range forecast data suggests that the stagnant pattern will begin to break down some next week, and temperatures will fall back closer to normal by the time we are ringing in the new year. Until then, the air conditions will keep humming and it will continue to feel more like late summer than early winter.