Lows may dive into 30s and 40s next week followed by month-ending warm-up

Florida seafood festival

SOMETHING FISHY GOING ON IN THE KEYS: It’s the Florida Keys Seafood Festival at Bayview Park on Truman Avenue in Key West. The National Weather Service will have a booth at the festival and forecasters will be on hand to answer questions. The weather will be breezy but seasonably warm, with highs in the upper 70s. The cold front doesn’t arrive until late Monday. (Image credit: NWS-Key West) 

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BLUSTERY: Winds were gusting over 30 mph in many South Florida locations overnight Friday into early Saturday morning, with a few gusts over 40 mph in Miami-Dade County. The University of Miami reported a maximum gust of 45 mph while Fowey Rocks in Biscayne Bay reported 41 mph.

Gusts were in the upper-20s mph range in East-Central Florida. Key West and Marathon reported maximum gusts of 32 mph.

Winds are forecast to calm on Sunday before The Big Cold Front approaches and ushers in what may be some of the coldest air of the season. Lows will be in the 30s northwest of Lake Okeechobee on Wednesday morning before a slow warming trend begins, according to the National Weather Service.

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RECORD WATCH: Naples tied a record high Friday with 87, matching the mark set back in 1947. Record warm lows were set at St. Petersburg (68), and Sarasota (67). The Sarasota low busted an old record of 65 set in 1937.

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NO FOOLIN’ AROUND WINTER WEATHER: While Florida braces for early week lows in the 30s and 40s — and highs that “struggle to get into the 60s,” according to forecasters in Miami — the Upper Midwest and Northeast are getting an old-fashioned winter thumping, with Blizzard Warnings and white-out conditions from North Dakota south into Minnesota and Iowa.

Other areas are under Winter Storm Warnings or Winter Weather Advisories.

But nature is determined to take the Central and Eastern U.S. on a roller coaster ride as temperatures jump well into January-thaw territory at the end of the week.

Chicago is dealing with rain, fog and snow this weekend with winds of up to 45 mph, followed by falling temperatures and wind chills as low as 17 degrees below zero. Sunday morning’s actual forecast low is 5. Friday’s forecast high: 41.

Cleveland is looking for up to 8 inches of snow this weekend — followed by an end-of-the-week rebound with a forecast high Friday of 47.

Boston is looking for up to 4 inches of snow this weekend, with a forecast high Friday of 45.

Tampa smashes 73-year-old high temperature record; a birthday cake for NOAA

WCFL forecast temps

FALLING TEMPERATURES are on the docket for next week across the Florida peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

RECORD WATCH: Tampa broke a record high Thursday that had been on the books for 73 years. It was 86, easily beating the old record of 83 set back in 1947. It was 83 in Sarasota, beating the previous mark of 82 also set in 1947.

Fort Myers tied a record high with 85, matching the record set in 1943. And on the other side of the peninsula, Vero Beach tied a record high with 83 degrees, a record originally set in 1989.

Sanford tied a record warm low with 65.

There’s now some question of how cold it might get next week, as least in South Florida. There are differences between the two main forecast models, NOAA’s GFS and the European (ECMWF), with the latter forming a low pressure system in the Atlantic that funnel more cold air down the peninsula, according to the National Weather Service. The GFS suggests winds could switch from northwesterly to easterly as early as Wednesday afternoon.

“Such large differences between potential outcomes lowers confidence in the temperature forecast for this time range and beyond as the amount of cold air advected southward will be greatly influenced by this feature which models continue to struggle to consistently resolve,” forecasters in Miami said in their Friday morning discussion.

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UPSWING: Today is the latest sunrise of the year — 7:10 a.m. in Palm Beach, the eastern-most spot on the Florida peninsula. Actually, it’s been stuck at 7:10 a.m. since January 7. But Saturday’s sunrise will be at 7:09 a.m. and the amount of daylight gained in the morning this time of the year accelerates into February. On January 31, sunrise is at 7:06 a.m.

Sunset in the evening, on the other hand, has been getting later since December 11, when it edged from 5:27 p.m. — the earliest sunset of the year — to 5:28 p.m. Today’s sunset is at 5:50 p.m. and it reaches 6 p.m. on January 30.

It’s not coincidental, of course, that normal/ average temperatures around the peninsula begin slowly inching up next week.

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Meteorologist Robert White, pictured writing a message in 1970 in newsletter NOAA Week, was the agency’s first administrator and served until 1977. (Image credit: NOAA)

LIGHT THE CANDLES: NOAA, the agency that oversees the National Weather Service as well as the National Hurricane Center, is marking its 50th birthday this year.

The agency has its roots in organizations that originated a century earlier with the Survey of the Coast in 1807 and the Weather Bureau and U.S. Fish Commission in the 1870s.

“Our nation’s oldest science agencies came together, as one, with a vision to protect and enrich life by better understanding our ocean and atmosphere,” said Cheryl Oliver, director of the NOAA Heritage program, which honors the legacy of NOAA through special events and exhibits across the country.

“Today, people depend on NOAA science and services every day, in our homes, on the coasts we love, in our daily commerce, in the seafood we eat and in our personal safety.”

NOAA unveils February forecast; more Florida temperature records fall

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(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

NOAA issued its February forecast today, calling for a return to above normal temperatures in Florida after a cool end to January. Chances are particularly good for a warmer than normal February in South Florida, the agency said.

“The area where above normal temperatures are favored extends westward from Florida across the immediate Gulf Coast, into Texas and the Central and Southern Rockies, terminating at the West Coast,” forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center said Thursday.

“Across the Great Basin, above normal temperatures are favored by trends and some models, though signals are weaker in the older model runs and much stronger in more recent runs.”

The Upper Midwest is expected to have a colder than normal February, as is New England.

Of course, we’ll have to see if the groundhog verifies all of this on February 2.

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THE COLD FACTS: Wednesday morning forecast lows: Tallahassee, 30; Jacksonville, 34; Orlando and Tampa, 39; Miami, 52; and Key West, 60.

RECORD WATCH: Jacksonville tied another record high Wednesday with 83 degrees, matching the mark set in 1989. It was the fourth straight day of high temperature records in Jacksonville. It was also the seventh high temperature record, or warm minimum temperature record, set so far in January.

Sanford broke a high temperature record with 85, surpassing the old record of 83 set in 1989.

Orlando broke a 73-year-old record warm low temperature Wednesday with 67, busting the old mark set in 1947. The low was 66 in Sanford, beating the old record warm low of 62 set in 2013.

Hot-off-the-presses news about the polar vortex

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(Image credits: NOAA/ CPC)

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The polar vortex is coming! Well, sort of. Hey, at least it’s a chance for weather journalists to get it into a headline.

Next week’s well-advertised cold snap is really the first unleashing of Arctic air of the 2020 winter, and temperatures are expected to fall even in South Florida early next week. But it doesn’t appear that anything dramatic is on the horizon — temps will be a little below normal for a change, and the National Weather Service expects lows to sink into the 40s in interior areas of South and Central Florida.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting below normal temps for the eastern U.S. through the end of January, and the long-range CFS climate model suggests that might continue into the first part of February before above normal temps return around mid-month.

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang had this explanation from Judah Cohen, a meteorologist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research: “There is some elongation of the polar vortex going on,” which will push colder air from Canada down into the States. But, “it’s not an impressive weakening event,” so don’t look for breathless news broadcasts about it.

Accuweather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said in a post Tuesday that “a big breakdown and major shift of the polar vortex, which would allow an extremely cold discharge, is not anticipated.”

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RECORD WATCH: Record high temperatures were set or tied Tuesday in St. Petersburg (82); Lakeland (83); Jacksonville (82); and Apalachicola (76).

Record warm minimum temps were set or tied in Fort Lauderdale (73); West Palm Beach (75); Naples (70); Tampa (67); Lakeland (64); and Gainesville (64).

Record highs in Jacksonville, Tampa; temps to tumble next week

14 day outlook

(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

POST HOLIDAY COOL-DOWN: After a run of 80-degree temperatures and record breaking warm lows on the East Coast, the advertised Florida-style cold snap is set to begin next Tuesday, with highs below 70 degrees in South Florida and lows in the 50s.

That’s actually a little below normal for this time of the year.

On Tuesday, the back-to-work-day following the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, forecast highs and lows (according to Weather Underground) are: Miami, 69 and 54; Orlando, 58 and 43; Tampa, 59 and 41; and Jacksonville, 53 and 37.

In fact, the whole country is expected to be below normal to round out the month, with the exception of Southern California and the Desert Southwest.

Although the GFS is showing a brief rebound in temperatures late the following weekend (January 25-26), the model shows some significantly cooler weather for the final few days of the month.

NOAA releases its February forecast — and the longer-range forecast for February through April — on Thursday.

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RECORD WATCH: Jacksonville smashed a record high Monday with 84, busting the previous record for the date of 82 set in 2005. Tampa tied a record high with 83 and Sarasota tied a record high with 85. Sanford broke a record high with 84, beating the previous record of 83 set in 1993.

Record warm minimum temperatures were set or tied in Gainesville (64); Naples (71); Orlando, 68; and Sanford (65).

90 or not, it was hot hot hot!

Naples record

(Image credit: NWS-Miami)

Any way you slice it or dice it, Naples had its warmest January day on record Sunday, reaching 89.6 degrees at 1:15 p.m. at Naples Municipal Airport.

It was rounded up to 90 degrees by MesoWest, a University of Utah project funded in part by the National Weather Service. But was announced as a high of 89 by the National Weather Service in Miami.

It’s an interesting distinction since no major weather reporting site in South Florida — or anywhere in the state, for that matter — has ever posted a high of 90 in January, the only month for which that can be said.

The closest was West Palm Beach, which had a high of 89 on January 4, 1942. All-time record January highs in Miami and Fort Lauderdale stand at 88.

Fort Myers tied a record high Sunday with 88. That also tied the record for the month, set on several different dates.

In the Keys, Marathon tied a record high with 84. And in North-Central Florida, Daytona Beach tied a record high with 83 and Orlando scored a record with 86; Sanford with 85.

Sunday was also Jacksonville’s warmest January day on the record books when considering average temperature for the day (high plus low). The high was 84 and the low was 69, for an average daily temps of 76.5. That smashed the old record for the month, 75 degrees set on January 7, 1998.

Record warm minimum temps were reported in Daytona Beach (68); Orlando (67); Melbourne (72); Vero Beach (69); Sanford (65); Miami (76); Fort Lauderdale (75); and West Palm Beach, (77). The West Palm Beach low beat the old record of 73 by a whopping 4 degrees.

The National Weather Service in Miami says of the long-term forecast: “Dry and fairly benign weather across South Florida for much of the long term period.”

However, forecast models are still showing cooler air filtering into Florida the week of January 20.

The first half of February may also be anonymously cool in Florida and much of the eastern U.S., according to the climate forecasting model CFS, but then above normal temperatures return for the second half of February.

Fort Myers, Naples smash record highs with 87; Melbourne ties all-time January mark

ECFL temps

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

It was a record hot start to the weekend around the Florida peninsula. Warm temps are forecast by the National Weather Service to continue through the upcoming week, but there was some indication from forecast models on Sunday that the month may go out on a cooler note.

First, the weekend warmth: Naples and Fort Myers each reached 87 degrees, record high temperatures for the date. Those are normal highs for mid-May — the average high this time of the year is around 75.

Tampa also scored a record high with 85, beating the old record of 83 set in 2013; and Sarasota checked in with 86, beating the old record of 85 set in 2013.

On the peninsula’s East Coast, record warm lows were plentiful. Melbourne smashed the record warm low for January 11 with 74 — the previous record was 69 set in 2014. In addition, that tied the warmest low ever recorded in January in Melbourne, 74 on January 9, 1975.

Ditto for Fort Pierce — its low of 74 busted a record of 71 that had been on the books for 83 years, and tied the record warmest for the month, set on January 23, 1999.

Other record warm lows were set or tied in Vero Beach (72); Sanford (68); Daytona Beach (68); Orlando (70); Jacksonville (66); West Palm Beach (76); and Fort Lauderdale (74).

Sunday’s run of NOAA’s GFS suggests that the warm spell may come to an end the week of January 19, with temperatures around Florida dipping into the normal, or even slightly below normal, range. Below zero weather is forecast by the model for the Upper Midwest.

The Canadian forecast model (CMC) has the heat hanging on a bit longer in Florida, with bitter cold temps taking hold from Minneapolis to New England.