Holiday weekend cold front will be ‘particularly intense,’ forecasters say

TANGLED UP IN BLUE: Most of the nation, from the Rocky Mountain States to the East Coast, is forecast to get socked by the winter’s coldest temperatures this weekend. (Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The upcoming holiday weekend will be capped off by some of the coldest air of the season in Florida, according to the National Weather Service and commercial forecasting services.

Monday morning lows could plunge into the 20s in North Florida, with freezing temperatures possible on the Nature Coast and inland Central Florida, forecasters said, and even coastal areas of South Florida will likely see early morning lows in the 40s.

The worst of the cold-snap looks short-lived, but another blast of Arctic air may be on the horizon for the last weekend of the month and the beginning of February.

This is the scenario that the long-range forecast models have been predicting for the last 10 days or so, and forecasters note that the outlooks will be further refined as we close in on the weekend.

While Florida gets a shot of no-fooling-around winter weather, the Upper Midwest will be in the deep freeze, with below zero temperatures in the forecast for the northern Plains States, and even the Great Lakes States.

Here are the Tuesday morning forecast discussions from the National Weather Service concerning Sunday’s cold front around Florida:

Miami: “Colder temperatures and a dry air mass arrive behind the front as a strong high pressure builds over the eastern half of the US. How low temperatures drop will become more clear as we approach next week.”

Melbourne: Maximum temperatures expected on Sunday have been trending down, with lows below 40 for northern areas of East-Central Florida lower- to mid-40s farther south, “with low wind chill readings likely throughout.”

Tampa: “… will need to monitor model temperature trends closely in the coming days, but if current model solutions hold then some near freezing temperatures will be possible across portions of the Nature Coast by early Monday morning and again Tuesday morning with some upper 30 degree readings extending south into central interior zones, so stay tuned to later forecasts.”

Jacksonville: “This cold front seems to be particularly intense, with temperatures dropping down to freezing levels on Monday, with apparent temperatures dropping down into the 20s due to winds 10 to 15 mph and gusty blowing through the forecast area early Monday morning.”

The National Weather Service is predicting Sunday night/ Monday morning lows around 50 on South Florida’s East Coast, but Weather Underground forecast temperatures are about 5 degrees colder, not only in South Florida but across the peninsula. Ditto for AccuWeather.

Weather Underground forecast temps for Monday: Orlando: low 35, high 51; Jacksonville and Gainesville, 27 and 47; Lake City, 26 and 46; Tampa, 36 and 52; Miami, 47 and 63; West Palm Beach, 43 and 55; and Key West, 57 and 63.

lightning awareness

SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK: Monday’s posts by the National Weather Service discussed lightning hazards Florida, and Tuesday’s looks marine hazards, including rip currents. (Image credits: NWS-Key West, above; NWS-Melbourne, below)

marine hazards day


30s expected in North Florida with weekend warm-up in forecast

7 day rainfall forecast

NO DROUGHT RELIEF: Look who’s expected to get skunked on precipitation over the next seven days — the Florida peninsula. The U.S. Drought Monitor releases its latest analysis on Thursday and it will be interesting to see if Moderate Drought conditions expand again. They already cover most of the southern and eastern portions of the Florida peninsula. Wednesday’s cold front was forecast to roll through with little or no rainfall. (Image credit: NOAA/ WPC)


POST-COLD FRONT FORECAST LOWS AND HIGHS: Miami, 56 on Thursday morning, high 67; West Palm Beach, 54 and 66; Naples, 52 and 64; Sebring, 39 and 62; Tampa and Orlando, 43 and 60; Gainesville, 34 and 57; Daytona Beach, 38 and 56; Jacksonville, 37 and 55; Lake City, 33 and 55; Tallahassee, 32 and 53.

Temperatures moderate on Friday, but then another cold front knocks temperatures back on Sunday.


LATEST SUNRISE: We’re in the period of January (and the season) with the latest sunrise, a phenomenon that will last through the rest of this week and most of next week. On Friday, January 18, the sun begins rising a minute earlier and the mornings continue to get longer until Daylight Saving Time intervenes on Sunday, March 10.

In Palm Beach, the eastern-most slice of the Florida peninsula, the sun rises this week at 7:10 a.m., the latest of the fall/ winter season.

Sunset has been getting later since December 5, when the sun set at 5:26 p.m. Sunset is at 5:44 p.m. on January 9 and it will set at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29.

This is also the week with the coolest normal high temperature in West Palm Beach — 74 degrees. That edged down from 75 on Sunday; it bounces back up to 75 on the same day as the sunrise turnaround — Friday, January 18. Normal highs continue to march higher until July 31 when they top out at 91.


AND: At the same time all of these astronomical changes are taking place, residents of North America will be treated to a total lunar eclipse, which will occur on the night of January 20-21.

This is what the media is calling the Full Wolf Moon, which will “glow an eerie coppery hue high in the dark and crisp winter sky,” says the Farmers Almanac.

A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the sun and moon — blocking the light from the sun and casting a shadow over the lunar surface.

The peak of the event should occur on the 21st at 12:16 a.m. EST.

Sarasota, Vero Beach notch record highs to kick off holiday weekend

Six warm temperature records were set or tied Friday as Florida’s summer-style holiday weekend began.

Sarasota-Bradenton hit 85 degrees, which set a new record high for December 28. The previous record was 84 set in 2015.

On the other side of the peninsula, Vero Beach tied a record high with 84, matching the mark set in 2015.

Four cities set record warm low temperatures:

  • Friday’s low was 71 in Daytona Beach, which obliterated the old record warm low for the date of 66 set in 2015.
  • Orlando International Airport broke a record warm low with 70, beating the previous mark of 69 set in 2015.
  • Sanford set a new record warm low with 68, which beat the old record of 67 set in 2015.
  • Gainesville also set a new record warm low with 67, beating the 2015 record of 66 degrees.

The unusually warm weather was forecast to continue into late next week, according to the National Weather Service, when a cold front approaches the state. “This will bring increased rain chances to the area and some relief from the warmer temperatures,” forecasters in Miami said Saturday.

However, forecast temps in South Florida are still expected to be in the 70s.


(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The crystal ball gets a little blurry long-term. NOAA’s new three- to four-week forecast, issued Friday, indicates below normal temperatures in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River through January 25 — including all of Florida.

At the same time, NOAA’s January forecast released a week earlier showed that while much of the U.S. Southeast would be below normal, temperatures would remain above normal in South Florida.

If we’re going to get some cold temperatures in Florida, mid-January to early-February is a likely time. Miami has seen lows in the upper 20s during that time period, although those January records were set back in 1940 and the February 3 low of 27 — the coldest temperature ever recorded in Miami — occurred in 1917.

Looking at the list of record lows in Miami over the 59-day period from January 1 to February 28, only five record lows were recorded in this century, and only one in February.

Only 12 record lows were recorded in January after 1950 and 11 in February.

On the other side of the ledger, 17 record warm lows were set in January after 1950; 24 were set in February.

Tampa area slammed with more than 3 inches of rain; frigid start to week

WCFL lows

A chilly night/ early Tuesday is in store for the Florida peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-TampaBay)

West-Central Florida was the rainfall winner with the passage of Sunday’s cold front. The National Weather Service in Tampa reported a hefty 1.74 inches of rain, the most significant precipitation event so far this month.

CoCoRaHS observers reported more than 3 inches in parts of northern Pinellas and Hillsborough counties

Gainesville checked in with 1.11 inches while Jacksonville recorded 0.63 of an inch.

The panhandle received up to 2 inches from the system — Panama City had a 24-hour total as of 7 a.m. Monday of 2.02 inch.

Rainfall amounts began to fizzle out as the line of showers associated with the front moved down the peninsula.

East-Central Florida still picked up decent rainfall with 1.19 inches falling in Orlando; 0.94 of an inch in Sanford; 0.71 of an inch falling in Daytona Beach; 0.12 in Melbourne and 0.01 of an inch in Vero Beach.

The cold front slid through South Florida with only a few showers — Fort Lauderdale reported 0.20 of an inch, but Miami and Naples only picked up 0.01 of an inch while West Palm Beach reported 0.04 of an inch. That’s going to leave December precipitation deficits in the area of around a half-inch.

And we’re going into yet another dry week in South Florida. The National Weather Service in Miami is predicting no rainfall through at least Thursday as the cool, dry air takes hold.

Another front increases rain chances next weekend, forecasters said.



WINTER BLAST: Parts of North Carolina were buried by almost a foot-and-a-half of snow over the weekend, but rising temperatures this week mean it won’t be sticking around long. Taylorsville, north of Charlotte and east of Asheville, reported 17.5 inches of snow. Map above credit NWS-Greenville/ Spartanburg.

NOAA warms to long-term outlook; Florida braces for stormy Sunday


(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The Midwest and Northeast had early tastes of winter with snow and cold temperatures right after Thanksgiving. The takeaway may have been to strap on your seat belt for an unusually wicked winter.

But now some interesting things are happening with long-term forecasts — there seems to be a decided lack of blue, NOAA’s symbol for below normal temperatures.

In the contiguous U.S., from coast to coast and North to South, no below normal temps are forecast through at least January 4. The latest three- to four-week forecast from NOAA, published Friday, predicts above normal temperatures everywhere, including the Florida peninsula over the Christmas holidays from December 20 to January 4.

A chunk of the South and Southwest, from the Florida panhandle west through Texas and the Desert Southwest, have equal chances of above or below normal temps.

In fact, the only patch of blue — representing a call for below normal temperatures — appeared on the December forecast map for a small area of Utah, Nevada and Idaho. That’s it.

The NOAA forecasts are reflected in the ultra-long-range city forecasts. Starting Sunday, Chicago is forecast to have above-freezing temperatures every day through Saturday, January 5. New York is forecast to be mostly in the 40s for the rest of the month and into the first week of January.

Close to normal temperatures are predicted for Florida, with warmer temps over the holiday week.


Storm setup Tampa

(Image credit: NWS-Tampa)

STORMY SUNDAY: Rain and even some potentially severe weather will be on the radar Sunday as a storm system rolls along Florida’s northern tier of counties, the National Weather Service says. Highest rain totals will be in the western panhandle, according to NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center, which is calling for up to 3 inches west of Tallahassee.

Totals of up to an inch may fall in North-Central Florida, tapering off to around a half-inch in northern parts of South Florida, from around Fort Myers east to Lake Okeechobee and over to West Palm Beach.

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has parts of Florida’s West Coast, from around Fort Myers to the Tampa area, under a Marginal threat for severe weather on Sunday. Thunderstorms could pop up anywhere on the peninsula.

Sunday storms

(Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

The National Weather Service in Melbourne says: “Make sure to stay weather aware this coming Sunday as some strong storms are in the forecast. Isolated severe storms will be also be possible, but a lot of specifics remain uncertain. Keep checking back as the forecast will be fine-tuned as we get closer.”

Chilly temps will be on the rise this weekend

CFL temps

What goes up must come down, and what goes down must come back up. That’s the story on December weather around the Florida peninsula. (Image credit: NWS-Melbourne)

Winter weather in Florida can be kind of roller coaster ride — as forecasters from the National Weather Service in Melbourne correctly point out.

After a blistering record high on Monday of 90 degrees in Melbourne, Wednesday’s low came in at 46 degrees, a 44 degree temperature drop. Thursday morning’s apparent low was 43.

This latest blast of winter weather, Florida-style, will gradually give way to another warming trend over the weekend, the National Weather Service said. But then another batch of cool air rolls down the peninsula on Monday.

Thursday morning’s apparent low in West Palm Beach 48; it was 54 in Miami; 51 in Fort Lauderdale; and 49 in Naples.

Unofficially, from Weather Underground observers, it was in the low 50s on Florida’s southeast coast; the mid- to upper-40s on Florida’s southwest coast; and mostly mid-40s in Central Florida, except a temperature of 36 was reported in Plant City.

Some near-freezing temperatures showed up in North-Central Florida, including 33 in Dunnellon and Ocala; and 32 in Lake Butler, near Gainesville.

It was also 32 in Perry, in the Florida Big Bend area; and in the upper-20s to low 30s north of I-10 going into Florida’s panhandle.

Coldest Thursday morning weather in the U.S.: 10 below zero in Grand Forks, ND!

On the other hand, it was 64 in Key West and in the 70s in most of the Bahamas (except 65 in Freeport).

Cold snap could test record-cool highs around Florida Wednesday

Get out the sweaters and bring on the hot chocolate. It was in the 40s early Wednesday morning as far south as Homestead in Miami-Dade County — the coldest weather since March.

Here were some of the (unofficial) 7 a.m. temperatures around the state, via Weather Underground:

Homestead, 48; Immokalee, 43; LaBelle, 39; Okeechobee, 37; Sebring, 42; Sarasota, 47; St. Petersburg, 48; Lakeland, 37; Winter Haven, 38; West Palm Beach, 46; Fort Pierce, 44; Kissimmee, 38; Titusville, 36; and Citrus Springs, 34.

The freezing line was running from just north of Cross City on the West Coast, Gainesville in North-Central Florida, to the Atlantic coast north and west of Jacksonville. There were some upper 20s north of I-10 but it was hovering around the freezing mark in Tallahassee. The coldest temperature on the map was in Altha, Florida, south of Marianna, where a reading of 26 degrees was reported.

The coldest temperature in South Florida reported by the National Weather Service was 34 in Palmdale in Glades County.

It was 63 in Key West and 60 in Marathon.

The apparent low in Miami was 51, the coldest since March 15. It was 43 at Palm Beach International Airport and 48 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International. Still well off record lows, but ….

Record cool highs

Some record cool highs could be approached or even challenged in South Florida on Wednesday.  Some of these record cool highs have been on the books for more than 100 years. Below: Highs may not get out of the 50s along the West Coast north of Tampa. (Image credits: NWS-Miami/ NWS-TampaBay)

WCFL forecast highs

A gradual warming trend starts Thursday and if you miss the hot weather, take heart.

“Temperatures will … be on the rise this weekend and early next week,” National Weather Service forecasters said in Miami.  “Afternoon highs will be back in the mid- to upper-80s for much of South Florida and possibly reaching 90 along the western and extreme southern portions of the peninsula.”

And NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal temperatures in Florida through the first half of December, although temperature forecasts gets murky after that.  The CPC says there are equal chances of above-normal or below-normal temperatures through December 21 in Florida.

Rainfall is forecast to be above normal through December 21, and in fact rain chances are on the rise this weekend in South Florida as winds swing around to the east and, late in the weekend, south.