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Miami’s winter warmth a near record

While much of the rest of the country has shivered through snow and ice storms, South Florida is in the midst of an unusually warm winter.

For Miami, it was the fourth-warmest January on record, the National Weather Service said on Friday. The average temp of 73.2 was five degrees above normal, a figure elevated by 15 consecutive days when highs reached at least 80 degrees, a hot streak that tied an all-time record. Only 1937, 1964 and 1990 were warmer.

Fort Lauderdale’s average temperature of 73 degrees was four degrees above normal and the fifth warmest on record.

Forecasters said a subtropical high-pressure area anchored over South Florida blunted cold fronts that typically roll through the region.

So far, November has actually proved the coldest month of the winter, a pattern that has happened only four times in the last 100 years, the Weather Service’s Miami office said.

It also was a dry month, which has increased the risk from wildfires. The threat could grow worse in February, with long-term forecasts calling for continued dryer-than-normal conditions during a period that is historically produces little rainfall.

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