Chilly temperatures in the 40s and 50s reigned over the Florida peninsula Monday morning as the cool weather season seemed to kick off in earnest.
Dade City, northeast of Tampa, checked in with a low of 39, according to Weather Underground, with a bone-dry dew point of 19 degrees. It was in the upper 30s in North Florida and there were some mid-30s in the panhandle.
In South Florida, extreme southeastern Miami-Dade was in the low 60s and it was in the upper 60s in the lower Keys.
The National Weather Service said it was 59 in Miami, 55 in Fort Lauderdale, 52 in West Palm Beach, 53 in Naples, 47 in Fort Pierce, 45 in Okeechobee, 46 in Vero Beach, 47 in Melbourne, 48 in Orlando, and 38 in Ocala.
Temperatures should rebound to more normal readings, with highs in the 80s and lows in the low 70s, for the week after winds swing around to the northeast and east on Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters said.
(Image credit: NWS-Miami)
This week’s shot of cool, dry weather is a taste of the season to come, according to the NWS, which issued its November-April forecast last week. Due to a developing La Niña in the Pacific — cooler than normal water in the tropical Pacific — Florida is most likely to have a warm and dry winter, with precipitation in the 70-85-percent-of-normal range and temperatures 1-3 degrees above average.
In a La Niña year, storm tracks tend to be farther north, keeping Florida dry. Cold fronts still make it into the state, of course, but they usually have less moisture as they move through. The northern tier of states usually have a colder and wetter winter, so forecasts for a La Niña winter are music to the Florida tourism industry’s ears.
“The main concern of a drier and warmer than normal winter and dry season is the resulting likelihood of developing droughts,” the Weather Service outlook says. Each of the last four weak La Niña winters have led to moderate to severe drought by spring over at least parts of South Florida. Droughts in South Florida typically lead to an increased threat of wildfires such as what was experienced last spring.”
(Image credit: NHC)
TROPICS WATCH: The disturbance in the Central Atlantic being monitored by the National Hurricane Center had a 40 percent chance of developing into a depression, or Tropical Storm Rina, over the next five days. It was expected to meander between the Azores and Bermuda.
Other than that, major forecast models show clear sailing over the next week to 10 days for Atlantic coastal areas. There are 31 days left in the 2017 hurricane season, which has been one for the record books.