JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Our warm winter jumpstarted spring in Northeast Florida. Winter officially ends March 20th this year but plants are springing into action and flowering early.
Models that predict the onset of early spring plants show Jacksonville’s spring season is more than 10 days ahead of average.
"This year, the Spring Leaf Index is being reached in the southern U.S. weeks ahead of schedule, as a result of recent warmth in these regions," says Theresa Crimmins, an ecologist and assistant director at the National Phenology Network.
The National Phenology Network provides mapping tools you can check to see where plants are blooming early.
Deeper shades of red include Alabama and Georgia which are nearly three weeks ahead of schedule. The map will continue to fill in as we inch closer to spring but typically is colored white indicating no difference in an average year.
People are posting pictures of Azaleas blooming well ahead of schedule on Stormpins and Jacksonville has hardly seen any wintry conditions at all this winter.
For the month, only one day has been cooler than average in Jacksonville as of February 15. Our last two freezes occurred the second week in January with a total of 5 freezes since November.
Last winter was much colder in Jacksonville compared to this season however, since March 2016 each month has been warmer than the 30 year average.