Forecasters see possible strong cold front next week


Temperatures should hit the 80s everywhere in the peninsula on Tuesday, with even warmer highs on tap for Wednesday in South Florida. Cooler weather is coming for the end of the week — with possibly a stronger front arriving next week. (Credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Will South Florida finally get a genuine winter cold front next week that puts a bona fide chill in the air?

Such fronts have been rare occurences this season. The low since Dec. 1 is 51 in Miami, 48 in Fort Lauderdale, 43 in West Palm Beach, and 42 in Naples. Those lows occurred in conjunction with the strongest front of the season so far, which swept across the peninsula at the end of January and put a wintry chill in the air during the final three days of the month.

Since then — and throughout December — cold fronts have simply brought warm temperatures back to near normal.

Incredibly, Miami has only had nine days since Dec. 1, the start of the meteorological winter, with below-average temperatures.

The National Weather Service, meanwhile, is watching model runs of a cold front that is expected to impact Florida the middle of next week. This is pretty far out for any kind of concrete forecast, but forecasters in Miami note in Tuesday’s analysis: “This front makes it into the Gulf as Monday draws to a close and will bear watching over the next week as it could pack a bigger punch compared to the frontal systems that preceded it.

“With it being so far out in time, confidence at this point is quite low but worth watching as both major global models have remarkably similar solutions so far out in time.”

The most aggressive model is the Canadian (CMC), which has temperatures dropping into the 40s Wednesday night (Feb. 22) over much of the peninsula after daytime highs in the 60s. Both the GFS and the European (ECMWF) have the front moving through as well, but a bit later in the week.

And the GFS has it stalling over the Keys.

For now, AccuWeather is predicting lows in the mid- and upper 50s on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 26 — below normal temperatures for late February but nothing particularly dramatic.

This is a stay-tuned situation and forecasts should come into sharper focus over the upcoming weekend.

In any case, South Florida is rapidly running out of time for any kind of cover-your-backyard-plants winter weather. Lows can and have dipped into the 30s as late as the first week in March, but average temperatures are on their way up in serious fashion.

The normal high ticked up to 77 Tuesday (Feb. 14) in West Palm Beach; the normal low is 59. The normal high and low in Miami is 78 and 62 in Miami, and the high climbs to 79 on Sunday. The average high is already 79 in Kendall.

Late afternoon twilight is pushing toward 6:30 p.m. Sunrise in Palm Beach is 6:57 a.m., with sunset at 6:12 p.m. In Key West, Tuesday’s sunrise was at 7:01 a.m., with sunset at 6:21 p.m.


Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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