Temperatures plunged up and down the state Tuesday morning, the first day of meteorologial winter 2020-21.
Morning lows were chilly to downright cold across Florida, and forecasters said temps may dip even lower on Wednesday — wind chills in the 30s were forecast for interior South Florida — before a warm-up begins.
The National Weather Service said Miami bottomed out at 61, while West Palm Beach reported 55, Fort Lauderdale, 60, and Naples, 57.
It was 69 in Key West, the mid-60 in the Middle Keys and the low 60s in the Upper Keys and southern tip of the peninsula, including Homestead, according to Weather Underground.
Mid- to upper-50s were the rule in coastal South Florida with low 50s in the interior. Upper 40s stretched across the peninsula north of Lake Okeechobee, with low- to mid-40s north of a line from around Tampa over to Palm Bay.
A few upper 30s started creeping in north of Dade City and into the Nature Coast, and low- to mid-30s dominated from around Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast west to St. Augustine on the East Coast.
Quite a few locations north of Gainesville hit the freezing mark. It was 31 in Lake Butler, for example, and 32 in Lake City, although it was in the upper 30s in the Jacksonville area.
As expected, the coldest temperatures were in the central and western panhandle. There were a few 29 degree readings in the Tallahassee area and the town of Altha, Florida in the western panhandle reported a wintry 27 degrees.
The season’s introductory cold snap will be short-lived, however, as winds swing around to the east on Wednesday off the warm Atlantic. So, all-in-all, unseasonably cool temperatures across Central and South Florida may last for around 36-48 hours. Another cold front is on the docket for this weekend, but the National Weather Service says temps won’t be as cold as they were this morning and as they are expected to be on Wednesday morning.
Thursday morning lows should be around 10 degrees warmer than Wednesday’s, at least on the East Coast.
Still, the general trend will be temps around 5 degrees below normal through the weekend, and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is maintaining its outlook for below normal temperatures in Florida through December 14.
Longer-range forecast models suggest above normal temps for the latter part of December and into January.