(Image credit: NWS-Tallahassee)
The polar vortex is coming! The polar vortex is coming!
So says The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, which published a story Tuesday about an upcoming “severe and punishing winter weather pattern” that will likely result in snow and bitter cold for the eastern U.S. starting as early as next week and continuing into the middle of February.
Meteorologists are saying that the vortex “broke apart” around the first of the year, and that tends to send temperatures tumbling in the lower latitudes as the atmospheric flow adjusts.
The first blast of Arctic air is due to hit the Southeastern U.S. on Sunday and Monday, and some freezing temperatures are possible in North Florida and even on the Nature Coast north of Tampa.
However, National Weather Service forecasters said Wednesday that the cold snap will be “short-lived,” since the high pressure system responsible for the frigid outbreak will move quickly to the east, pulling mild air off the Atlantic and moderating temperatures around the Florida peninsula by Tuesday.
The upcoming weekend looks seasonably warm, ditto for the final weekend of the month, and it remains to be seen how cold temps will get in Florida after the next front rolls through after that.
Wednesday morning temperatures were nippy, but generally less than 10 degrees below normal. Apparent lows: West Palm Beach and Naples, 48; Miami, 53; Fort Lauderale, 51; 60 in Key West but in the 50s in the Middle and Upper Keys.
It was in the low 50s in Miami-Dade County; mid-40s on the southwest coast; low- to mid-40s in Central Florida; and 30s in North Florida and the panhandle.
Highs Saturday should be in the upper 70s in South Florida, the mid-70s in Central Florida and the low- to mid-70s in North Florida, forecasters said.
SPACE: THE FINAL (WINE MAKING) FRONTIER: The country of Georgia, which lays claim to being the oldest wine making region on Earth, is making plans to open up shop on another planet — Mars. Scientists are trying to figure out which grapes would grow best in a controlled environment that would still involve harsh weather conditions and radiation bombardment.
The goal is to have a wine making system in place if SpaceX founder Elon Musk follows through on a plan to undertake a manned mission to the planet in 2024.
The early conclusion is that white wine would work best on Mars. “Whites tend to be more resistant to viruses,” Levan Ujmajuridze, director of Georgia’s vineyard Laboratory, told The Washington Post. “So, I’d imagine they’ll do well against radiation, too. Their skin could reflect it.”
Which means that the first Martian settlers will have to live on chicken and fish in order to avoid committing a dining faux pas.