Cool, dry weekend in store for Florida after Friday cold front

Saturday Gulf satellite

Saturday’s Gulf of Mexico satellite image showed the cold front that brought the morning’s cool temperatures to Florida parked over the Central Bahamas. High pressure moves off the coast into the Atlantic on Sunday, bringing easterly winds and setting the stage for a slow rise toward summer-like temperatures across peninsula by the end of the week. (Credit: NOAA)

SATURDAY UPDATE: The temperature bottomed out at 63 in West Palm Beach Saturday, 6 degrees below normal but 14 degrees off the record low for the date of 49 set in 1921. Winds were gusting out of the northwest at up to 26 mph.

It was 66 in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Naples, but the low- to mid-70s in the Keys.

Temperatures were in the upper 50s in Glades County — although it was 53 in Palmdale — and in the upper 50s in inland Collier County.

Mid- to upper-50s ruled over most of the rest of the state, from Central Florida to North Florida and into the panhandle. There were also a few scattered 40s in the panhandle.

Another cool night in the low 60s and upper 50s inland is in the forecast Saturday night to early Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The winds swing around to the east late on Sunday and the Big Warm-up begins.

By the end of the week, lows will only be in the mid-70s in coastal South Florida with highs edging up near 90.

FINAL FRIDAY RAINFALL TOTALS: Miami, 0.47 of an inch; Fort Lauderdale, 0.18; West Palm Beach, 0.46; Naples, 0.62; Fort Myers, 0.14; Tampa, 0.37; Fort Pierce, 0.34; Vero Beach, 0.18; Orlando, 0.06; and Daytona Beach, 0.03.

Key West reported 0.07 of an inch and Marathon had 0.08 of an inch.

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ORIGINAL POST: Around a quarter to an inch of rain fell in interior areas of South Florida Thursday night as the first round of showers and thunderstorms drove through ahead of a cold front that is forecast to give the state a shot of crisp, March-like weather.

Humidity levels were forecast to plunged Friday afternoon on northwest winds and highs Saturday and Sunday are expected to top out at around 80 degrees on the East Coast — that’s the normal high for Miami on March 5.

North Florida locations had already fallen into the 50s early Friday and relative humidity levels were forecast to be in the 25-30 percent range with gusty 30 mph winds, leading to a weekend of high fire danger there and to the south through Central Florida and into interior parts of South Florida.

At 8 a.m., it was in the upper 40s in the Florida panhandle.

Showers and thunderstorms were just moving through South Florida Friday morning, but the front left some heavy rain totals in North Florida and the panhandle on Thursday night. Central Leon County near Tallahassee reported 3.65 inches of rain and several observers in nearby counties reported in excess of 2 inches, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).

East-Central Florida reported around a half-inch and West-Central locations received up to an inch.

The heftiest rain from Thursday’s storms in South Florida were in interior South Broward County, where up to an inch fell.

Despite the drier conditions and pleasant afternoon temperatures around the state over the weekend, lows should be well short of record territory. Forecast lows in Southeastern Florida are in the upper 60s Saturday and Sunday, low 60s in the interior and upper 50s in the interior areas of Central Florida.

Gainesville’s forecast low Saturday night is 53.

The record low in West Palm Beach for May 6 is 49 — the last record low in the 40s for the city until Oct. 20.

A return to higher heat and humidity, more typical of May and early summer, is set to return to most of the peninsula by mid-week, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, Florida’s drought conditions deteriorated on Thursday with the U.S. Drought Monitor putting an area northwest of Lake Okeechobee into D3 Extreme Drought category. At the same time, Thursday’s analysis extended Severe Drought into almost all of North Florida while Mainland Monroe County remained in Moderate Drought.

Only Southeastern Florida — most of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties — remained free of drought and/ or Abnormally Dry designations. Most of the panhandle is also Abnormally Dry.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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