Pre-holiday warm-up in forecast for Florida, most of U.S.

WCFL lows

(Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

Visitors usually come to Florida to chill out — but this isn’t what they had in mind!

Early morning temps (from Weather Underground unless otherwise noted):

Low- to mid-60s in the Keys; Low- to mid-50s around the southern tip of the peninsula, from Miami over to Naples; mid-50s around the Fort Myers area over to West Palm Beach, where it was in the upper 40s.

It was in the low 40s north and west of Lake Okeechobee, and Palmdale in Glades County reported a low to the National Weather Service of 37 degrees. Another cold night was in store for the peninsula, and forecasters said patchy frost was possible in Glades and Hendry counties.

Temps were in the low- to mid-40s in Central Florida, except low 50s in the St. Petersburg area. The 40s extended all the way to North Florida, and the only 30s were in the extreme northwest corner of the Florida panhandle, where a Weather Underground observer reported a temperature of 34 degrees in McDavid.

Apparent lows from the National Weather Service: Miami, 54; Fort Lauderdale, 50; West Palm Beach, 45; Naples, 53; Vero Beach, 38; Melbourne, 39; Orlando, 41; Ocala, 44; Brooksville, 43; Tampa, 46; Tallahassee, Lake City, and Jacksonville, 43.

A dry cold front with another shot of even cooler air is forecast for the peninsula Tuesday, driving Wednesday morning temperature even lower than they were on Tuesday morning.

Gradual warming is expected after that, but then another cold front rolls down the peninsula this weekend, according to forecasters. But at least for now, temperatures post-cold front won’t be as cool as they were with the front that pushed through on Sunday.

SFL highs

WARMING TREND: Temperatures  in South Florida climb back up to near normal as we approach the weekend. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)


(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

An interesting scenario may be developing for the pre-Christmas week, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Above normal temperatures are in the forecast from coast-to-coast, with holiday weekend temperatures in the 40s in as far north as Chicago and points east.

In fact, the AccuWeather forecast high for New York for a week from Saturday — the start of the long Christmas weekend — is 50 degrees. The forecast high for Washington is 55; 58 in Atlanta.

Highs are forecast to be around 80 in South Florida.


Tampa area slammed with more than 3 inches of rain; frigid start to week

WCFL lows

A chilly night/ early Tuesday is in store for the Florida peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

West-Central Florida was the rainfall winner with the passage of Sunday’s cold front. The National Weather Service in Tampa reported a hefty 1.74 inches of rain, the most significant precipitation event so far this month.

CoCoRaHS observers reported more than 3 inches in parts of northern Pinellas and Hillsborough counties

Gainesville checked in with 1.11 inches while Jacksonville recorded 0.63 of an inch.

The panhandle received up to 2 inches from the system — Panama City had a 24-hour total as of 7 a.m. Monday of 2.02 inch.

Rainfall amounts began to fizzle out as the line of showers associated with the front moved down the peninsula.

East-Central Florida still picked up decent rainfall with 1.19 inches falling in Orlando; 0.94 of an inch in Sanford; 0.71 of an inch falling in Daytona Beach; 0.12 in Melbourne and 0.01 of an inch in Vero Beach.

The cold front slid through South Florida with only a few showers — Fort Lauderdale reported 0.20 of an inch, but Miami and Naples only picked up 0.01 of an inch while West Palm Beach reported 0.04 of an inch. That’s going to leave December precipitation deficits in the area of around a half-inch.

And we’re going into yet another dry week in South Florida. The National Weather Service in Miami is predicting no rainfall through at least Thursday as the cool, dry air takes hold.

Another front increases rain chances next weekend, forecasters said.



WINTER BLAST: Parts of North Carolina were buried by almost a foot-and-a-half of snow over the weekend, but rising temperatures this week mean it won’t be sticking around long. Taylorsville, north of Charlotte and east of Asheville, reported 17.5 inches of snow. Map above credit NWS-Greenville/ Spartanburg.

Double shot of wintry weather in Florida forecast; chronicling the Martian wind

FL severe weather

Threats of severe weather are highest in Central Florida, but most of the peninsula could see thunderstorms as the latest cold front rolls through. (Image credit: NWS-Tampa)

Another shot of cool air blows down the peninsula this week following Sunday’s strong cold front.

How cold will it get?

Here are Florida’s early to mid-week forecast temperatures from the National Weather Service:

West Palm Beach, Tuesday morning low: 51, Tuesday high, 65; Miami, 55 and 66; Orlando, 43 and 60; Tampa, 47 and 61; Melbourne, 45 and 60; Gainesville, 38 and 58; and Jacksonville, 41 and 57.

Tallahassee’s coolest weather will be Wednesday morning, with a forecast low of 34. Monday’s forecast high is 51.

And yet another blast of cool air may arrive next Saturday, forecasters said. Like this weekend’s front, it could be preceded by a bout of severe weather.



A camera mounted on InSight’s robotic-arm shows the instruments on the spacecraft’s deck, with the Martian surface in the background. (Image credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech)

GOOD WEATHER TO FLY A (MARTIAN) KITE: It’s been a breezy week on Florida’s East Coast, with wind gusts in the mid-20 mph range from Palm Beach down to Miami.

Where else has the wind been kicking up? Well, on Mars, apparently.

NASA released an audio recording of the Mars lander InSight on the Martian surface, providing proof that the planet is not only desolate — it’s breezy. Winds were clocked at around 10-15 mph when the recording was made on December 1, NASA said.

Of course scientists knew it was breezy enough to kick up massive dust storms, but it’s interesting to actually hear the “other worldly sounds” of the winds playing across the lander’s instruments.

The space agency held a news conference on the discovery on Friday.

“The InSight lander acts like a giant ear,” said Tom Pike, InSight team member. “The solar panels on the lander’s sides respond to pressure fluctuations of the wind. It’s like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it. When we looked at the direction of the lander vibrations coming from the solar panels, it matches the expected wind direction at our landing site.”

NASA said winds were consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, observed in orbit prior to landing.

NOAA warms to long-term outlook; Florida braces for stormy Sunday


(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The Midwest and Northeast had early tastes of winter with snow and cold temperatures right after Thanksgiving. The takeaway may have been to strap on your seat belt for an unusually wicked winter.

But now some interesting things are happening with long-term forecasts — there seems to be a decided lack of blue, NOAA’s symbol for below normal temperatures.

In the contiguous U.S., from coast to coast and North to South, no below normal temps are forecast through at least January 4. The latest three- to four-week forecast from NOAA, published Friday, predicts above normal temperatures everywhere, including the Florida peninsula over the Christmas holidays from December 20 to January 4.

A chunk of the South and Southwest, from the Florida panhandle west through Texas and the Desert Southwest, have equal chances of above or below normal temps.

In fact, the only patch of blue — representing a call for below normal temperatures — appeared on the December forecast map for a small area of Utah, Nevada and Idaho. That’s it.

The NOAA forecasts are reflected in the ultra-long-range city forecasts. Starting Sunday, Chicago is forecast to have above-freezing temperatures every day through Saturday, January 5. New York is forecast to be mostly in the 40s for the rest of the month and into the first week of January.

Close to normal temperatures are predicted for Florida, with warmer temps over the holiday week.


Storm setup Tampa

(Image credit: NWS-Tampa)

STORMY SUNDAY: Rain and even some potentially severe weather will be on the radar Sunday as a storm system rolls along Florida’s northern tier of counties, the National Weather Service says. Highest rain totals will be in the western panhandle, according to NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center, which is calling for up to 3 inches west of Tallahassee.

Totals of up to an inch may fall in North-Central Florida, tapering off to around a half-inch in northern parts of South Florida, from around Fort Myers east to Lake Okeechobee and over to West Palm Beach.

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has parts of Florida’s West Coast, from around Fort Myers to the Tampa area, under a Marginal threat for severe weather on Sunday. Thunderstorms could pop up anywhere on the peninsula.

Sunday storms

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

The National Weather Service in Melbourne says: “Make sure to stay weather aware this coming Sunday as some strong storms are in the forecast. Isolated severe storms will be also be possible, but a lot of specifics remain uncertain. Keep checking back as the forecast will be fine-tuned as we get closer.”

More heavy rain forecast in North Florida; drought conditions ease

Weekend rain

ANOTHER WET WEEKEND: Tallahassee already has racked up 7.96 inches of rain for the first week of December — that’s more than 7 inches over normal. All of that fell last weekend and into Monday. Now, more heavy rain is in the forecast for the panhandle in yet another weekend event. “River flooding is still ongoing from the previous event so this additional rainfall will keep the river levels high with additional river flooding possible,” the National Weather Service in Tallahassee said. “Flash Flooding is also possible, especially in areas west of Tallahassee.” (Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)

A low pressure system that develops over the Florida panhandle on Saturday could bring heavy rain to the Tallahassee area and a few strong storms to parts of the Florida peninsula on Sunday and Monday, the National Weather Service says.

The low is expected to slide over the Jacksonville area, but the effects of a trailing cold front will reach all the way down into South Florida.

NWS Miami: “The confluence of instability, moisture, and shear may not be close enough to create an event for South Florida, but it will be worth monitoring as it does not take much instability this time of year to bring the potential for strong storms to the region if the moisture and shear exist for convection to tap into.”

NWS Melbourne: “High Rain Chances Sunday with a Risk of Strong Storms… The primary concern will be strong straight line winds however an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.”

NWS Tampa: “Possibility of some strong storms mainly across the Nature Coast in the early morning hours Sunday.”


NORTHEAST DROUGHT DISSIPATES: Moderate Drought conditions in the Jacksonville area were washed away over the last week, but parts of the area remain Abnormally Dry, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday. Jacksonville finishes the first week of December with about a quarter-inch precipitation surplus thanks to last weekend’s rainfall.

Moderate Drought continues to plague much of Florida’s East Coast from Brevard County south to Palm Beach County, and areas west of Lake Okeechobee. All of the southern peninsula with the exception of coastal Collier County area is also Abnormally Dry.

Chilly temps will be on the rise this weekend

CFL temps

What goes up must come down, and what goes down must come back up. That’s the story on December weather around the Florida peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Winter weather in Florida can be kind of roller coaster ride — as forecasters from the National Weather Service in Melbourne correctly point out.

After a blistering record high on Monday of 90 degrees in Melbourne, Wednesday’s low came in at 46 degrees, a 44 degree temperature drop. Thursday morning’s apparent low was 43.

This latest blast of winter weather, Florida-style, will gradually give way to another warming trend over the weekend, the National Weather Service said. But then another batch of cool air rolls down the peninsula on Monday.

Thursday morning’s apparent low in West Palm Beach 48; it was 54 in Miami; 51 in Fort Lauderdale; and 49 in Naples.

Unofficially, from Weather Underground observers, it was in the low 50s on Florida’s southeast coast; the mid- to upper-40s on Florida’s southwest coast; and mostly mid-40s in Central Florida, except a temperature of 36 was reported in Plant City.

Some near-freezing temperatures showed up in North-Central Florida, including 33 in Dunnellon and Ocala; and 32 in Lake Butler, near Gainesville.

It was also 32 in Perry, in the Florida Big Bend area; and in the upper-20s to low 30s north of I-10 going into Florida’s panhandle.

Coldest Thursday morning weather in the U.S.: 10 below zero in Grand Forks, ND!

On the other hand, it was 64 in Key West and in the 70s in most of the Bahamas (except 65 in Freeport).

More than an inch of rain soaks parts of Florida East Coast

Sunrise sunset

EARLIEST SUNSET: Sunset in Miami has been at 5:29 p.m. in December, but the evenings start to lengthen slightly on Saturday, when sunset will be at 5:30 p.m. By December 31, sunset in Miami will be at 5:40 p.m. The days overall continue to shorten, though, until December 21, the winter solstice. That’s because sunrise continues to be later. The sun rises at 6:53 a.m. this week, but 7:07 a.m. on December 31. The latest sunrise is 7:09 a.m. from January 10-15, after which the mornings begin to lengthen. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)

Some decent rainfall accompanying the latest cold front soaked parts of the Florida peninsula Tuesday as the record December heat wave finally broke.

According to CoCoRaHS, the heaviest rain occurred in the Port St. Lucie area, where almost an inch and a half was reported by observers.

The National Weather Service reported 1.08 inches in Fort Pierce; 0.89 of an inch in Lakeland; 0.69 of an inch in Orlando; 0.65 of an inch in Melbourne; 0.39 of an inch in Winter Haven; 0.20 of an inch in Tampa; and 0.08 of an inch in Daytona Beach.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale only reported a trace of precipitation while Naples posted goose eggs.

Pre-cold front, Key West did manage to put up some record warm numbers: A high of 86 tied a 138-year-old record high for the date of 86. That record was set in 1880. The low of 79 broke a record warm low of 78 set in 1978,

It was the fifth warm temperature record set or tied in Key West this month.

A record high minimum temperature was also posted at Naples Tuesday — 71, matching a mark set in 1964.

Freeze Warning

DOWNRIGHT COLD: A Freeze Warning was posted for parts of North Florida, from the Georgia state line as far south as Gainesville.  Lows in the upper 30s and 40s are forecast for Central Florida, 40s for interior South Florida but 50s on the coast, according to the National Weather Service.  Lows in the Keys are expected to be in the 60s to around 70 in Key West. (Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)