Without knowing about the NAO, climatologists were only half right: While Florida is experiencing dry conditions, the statewide temperature for December in Florida was more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit below the 20th century average, according to Clyde Fraisse, climate Extension specialist with the University of Florida and a key partner in the Florida Climate Center’s work with the Southeast Climate Consortium.

The NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has determined that December 2010 was the coldest December on record for Florida, and several cities within the state, including Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona, Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee, experienced record cold temperatures in December.

But there is good news on the way. Medium-range weather prediction models are forecasting a break from this negative NOA pattern, which would allow the strong La Niña to re-establish its influence over the weather patterns in the Southeast.

“Warmer and continued dry weather is still the best forecast for the remainder of the winter and the transition to spring in the Southeast,” O’Brien said.