Florida temps sink into 40s; mobile home growth sparks weather concerns

It was the weekend that open-window weather reigned supreme.

Sunday was another surprisingly cool morning around South Florida — by May standards — with even coastal lows sinking into the 50s as far south as West Palm Beach and inland lows into the 40s in interior Collier County.

Apparent lows included 59 in West Palm Beach, 66 in Miami, 64 in Fort Lauderdale, 61 in Naples, 57 in Homestead, 59 in Margate and 50 in Immokalee.

Some of the coolest temps were in Glades County, where Palmdale was 46.

10 day temps
A cool mid-May is on the horizon — except for Florida, parts of the Southwest and the Upper Midwest. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)

A site run by the Bureau of Land Management in Collier County at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge reported a low of 42 degrees.

Temperatures were in the low- to mid-50s around most of the rest of the peninsula at 8 a.m. Sunday, with a few 40s in the panhandle.

It was in the low- to mid-60s as far south as Central Cuba.

Saturday’s highs were also on the cool side with breezy conditions that helped boost the size of crowds at SunFest in downtown West Palm Beach. The temperature topped out at 79, the first sub-80-degree high in the city since April 23.

Temperatures are forecast to stay below normal into mid-May in most of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River and west of the Rocky Mountains. The only pockets of above normal temperatures in the forecast are for South and Central Florida, West Texas and southern New Mexico, and the far Upper Midwest. The cool temps are expected to be accompanied by below normal precipitation.

After that, the final week to 10 days of the month may see a return to above-normal temperatures around most of the country east of the Rockies, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

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FEMA_-_44747_-_Tornado_damage_to_a_mobile_home_in_Minnesota

A mobile home in Wadena, Minnesota was destroyed by an EF-4 tornado in June 2010. (Credit: Michael Mancino/ Federal Emergency Management Agency via Wikimedia Commons)

The number of mobile homes in the U.S. has skyrocketed over the last 60 years to around 9 million — and that’s not a good trend as climate change potentially boosts severe weather incidents and in particular, tornadoes.

As a result, the chance of “massive property damage and deaths is even higher in coming decades,” Michigan State University says in a new study.

The U.S. is already the most tornado-prone country in the world with an average of 1,200 per year, and MU scientists say a warming climate will fuel more unstable weather.

“If the climatologists are right about the continuing effects of climate change,” said Mark Skidmore, a professor of economics and co-author of the study, “then people living in mobile homes could be particularly vulnerable to tornadoes in the years to come.”

Researchers said there were 2,447 tornado-related deaths from 1980 to 2014, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast. They found that counties with double the number of mobile homes compared to other homes had 62 percent more fatalities than other counties.

The number of mobile homes has increased from 315,218 in 1950 to 8.7 million in 2010. Florida has the highest number of mobile homes in the country, and the third-highest number of tornadoes annually.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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