Sea surface temperature difference from average. ( Water temperatures at the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and near South Florida are on fire. They spurred a historically warm winter from Houston to Miami and could fuel intense thunderstorms in the spring from the South to the Plains. In the Gulf, the average sea surface temperature never fell below 73 degrees over the winter for the first time on record, reported Eric Berger of Ars Technica . Galveston, Tex., has tied or broken an astonishing 33 record highs since Nov. 1, while neighboring Houston had its warmest winter on record. Both cities have witnessed precious few days with below-normal temperatures since late fall. Average temperature rankings along the coast of the western Gulf of Mexico this winter. (Southeast Regional Climate Center) More often than not, temperatures have averaged at least 10 degrees warmer than normal. “The consistency and persistence […]