Looking for warmer weather? Try Alaska!

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Monday’s low temperature in Anchorage was 37, 2 degrees warmer than the low in Orlando.

Temperatures in Alaska have been running more than 20 degrees above average, while parts of Florida have been about 15 degrees below normal.

Jax wind gusts
Windy conditions are forecast to move into the Florida peninsula on Tuesday. (Credit: NWS Jacksonville)

A couple of nights of heavy jacket weather is fine as a novelty in Florida, but we don’t want anybody throwing cold water on our reputation as a winter retreat. Unfortunately, another dry cold front is poised to sweep down the peninsula Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning, providing a fresh shot polar air.

Tourists who were expecting to spend some time at the beach this week cannot be happy.

Tuesday morning was another rinse-and-repeat moment for the state, with lows plunging into the 30s in South Florida’s interior,

In fact, a South Florida Water Management District weather station south of I-75 between Naples and the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve posted an unofficial low of 32 degrees at 4:45 a.m. Just to the north, it was 37 in Immokalee.

The National Weather Service in Miami said in its early morning forecast discussion: “Isolated frost may be possible west of the lake, but not widespread enough to warrant an advisory.”

Other apparent lows around the state: 44 in West Palm Beach; 46 in Naples; 48 in Miami; and 50 in Fort Lauderdale. Out near the lake, it was 37 in Palmdale and 36 in Belle Glade.

To add insult to injury, winds are forecast to whip up as the next cold front barges in Tuesday night and Wednesday, Winds may gust well into the 20-25-mph range from north to south, forecasters say.

The National Weather Service is predicting a return to more normal temperatures on Sunday and Monday — that’s upper 70s to near 80 in South Florida. But the Tuesday morning run of the GFS insists more below normal weather may pay a visit to the Florida peninsula through Christmas Day.

We’ll see, as next week’s pre-holiday forecast comes into better focus toward the end of the week.


Fort Lauderdale, Naples set cold temperature records Sunday

(Image credits: NWS-Miami)

Two South Florida cities logged record cool highs on Sunday as nature kept Florida wrapped in a wintry grip.

The high in Fort Lauderdale was 62, which beat the previous record for the date of 63 set in 1981. In Naples the high was only 59, which also broke the record cool high set in 1981.

It was 64 in Miami and 62 in West Palm Beach.

Lows Monday were actually a degree or two cooler than Sunday around the state.

Apparent (unofficial) lows: West Palm Beach, 43; Mami, 52; Fort Lauderdale, 48; and Naples, 42. Inland, it was 36 in Palmdale; 35 in Belle Glade; and 36 in Immokalee.

East-Central Florida: 38 in Fort Pierce; 40 in Melbourne, 39 in Orlando; and 38 in Daytona Beach.

North Florida: 29 in Ocala and in Brooksville; 44 in Tampa; 44 in Sarasota; and 43 in Fort Myers;

In the Keys, it was 58 in Key West and 56 in Marathon.

Overall, early morning temperatures were in the mid-30s in Northeast Florida,  and the upper 20s in Northwest Florida and the panhandle, according to Weather Underground.

A warm-up is due toward the end of the week. By the weekend, highs should be back up near 80 in South Florida, according to the National Weather Service.

Key West forecast

(Credit: NWS-Key West)


LET THERE BE (A LITTLE MORE) LIGHT: If you’re not a fan of the early sunsets this time of the year, take heart. The days have already begun lengthening in the evening, even though the shortest day of the year doesn’t occur until the winter solstice on Thursday, December 21.

In southeastern Florida, the sun has been setting at 5:27 p.m. since Thanksgiving. But on Friday, December 8, sunset was at 5:28, and on Wednesday it sets at 5:29.

The sunrise continues to get pushed back until early- to mid-January, when sunrise in Palm Beach is at 7:10. The first day the morning lengthens is January 20, when sunrise is at 7:09 a.m. By that time, the sun is setting at 5:53 p.m.and twilight lingers until 6:18 p.m.

Hot chocolate weather arrives in Florida

Sunday was the kind of morning in Florida where you like to sip your coffee (or hot chocolate) with both hands.

Even the alligators catching the early morning sun in some of the more up-scale coastal communities were spotted wearing 2-Ply Cashmere half-zip sweaters.

It was 44 West Palm Beach; 47 in Fort Lauderdale; 50 in Miami; 48 in Homestead; and 46 in Naples.

It was 40 nearly everywhere in Glades County and a reading of 39 showed up at a South Florida Water Management District weather station in Belle Glade.


(Image credits: NWS-Melbourne, left; NWS-TampaBay, right)

Immokalee, in inland Collier County, also checked in with a low of 39, but it was generally in the mid- to upper-40s in inland Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

In East-Central Florida, it was 41 in Vero Beach; 40 in Melbourne; and 40 in Orlando. Winter Haven reported a low of 39.

On the West Coast, where the Nature Coast north of Tampa was under a Freeze Watch, Fort Myers hit 45 degrees; Sarasota and Tampa were 43; Brooksvile was 37; but to the north Cross City made it all the way down to 25 degrees.

By 8 a.m., Weather Underground showed temperatures in Florida at or near freezing in the panhandle and North Florida; the 40s from around Spring Hill on the West Coast to Daytona Beach on the East Coast; the mid- to upper-40s in inland South Florida and some low 50s popping up in coastal areas of the extreme southern peninsula.

The Keys were mostly in the upper 50s and it was 62 in Key West.

Even East- and Central-Cuba was in the low- to mid-60s and the Bahamas were in the mid-60s, although one observer in Nassau reported 70 degrees.

Reviews were generally positive, although some occasional grumbling could be heard.

“Been waiting all those long hot months for this weather,” one Central Florida resident posted  on Facebook. “Lovin’ it!”

“Might as well move back to PA—NOT!” another said.

Temperatures warm up slightly through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, but then another dry cold front sweeps down the peninsula and gives the state a fresh shot of temperatures 10-15 degrees below normal.

Seasonal temps return for next weekend, forecasters say — that’s mid-70s in South Florida, low 70s in Central Florida and upper 60s in North Florida.

The Christmas Day forecast from AccuWeather suggests seasonal temps for the holiday, the holiday week and New Year’s Day.


RECORD WATCH: Fort Myers reported record rainfall on Saturday of 1.45 inches. That broke the previous record for the date of 1.34 inches set in 1977.

More than 3 inches of rain slams North Florida

Freeze Watch NFL

Wintry temps moved into the Florida peninsula Saturday for an extended stay. (Image credit: NWS-Jacksonville)

Heavy rains socked North Florida as the season’s strongest cold front rolled through Friday night and Saturday/

An observer in southwest Alachua County reported more than 3 inches to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network as of noon on Saturday. Just to the northeast, in Bradford County, another observer reported a 24-hour total of 3 inches, an areas just west of Jacksonville checked in with more than 2.5 inches.

Saturday rainfall
(Image credit: NWS-Tampa)

Highest totals in Central Florida were in Okeechobee County, where an observer measured 2.72 inches, while in Brevard County there was a report of 2.06 inches on the coast.

An observer in Okeechobee reported 1.86 inches; while 1.44 inches fell just west of the lake; 1.42 inches in Fort Myers; 0.16 of an inch in Tampa; 0.77 of an inch in Sarasota;

National Weather Service totals as of 12 p.m. included 0.47 of an inch in Melbourne; and in Orlando, 0.35 of an inch.

The National Weather Service in Miami said 1.05 inches fell in Naples; 0.61 of an inch fell in West Palm Beach; 0.36 of an inch fell in Miami; and 0.24 of an inch fell in Fort Lauderdale.

In the Keys, Marathon had about a quarter of an inch.

I’ll have a roundup of the state’s low temperatures on Sunday morning.  Some freezing temperatures may occur in North Florida, and frost may form inland from the Nature Coast northeast of Tampa.

South Florida should see mostly 40s with lows closer to 50 on the Southeast Coast, the National Weather Service says.

Severe storms could hammer peninsula in advance of powerhouse cold front

FRIDAY PM UPDATE: Miami set a new record high with 87 degrees as southwest winds dragged up warm tropical air ahead of Saturday morning’s cold front. That beat the previous high of 86 recorded 75 years ago in 1942. In Central Florida, Melbourne tied a record high with 86. That matched the mark set on December 8, 1948.

CFL storm forecast

ORIGINAL POST: “Winter has arrived,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Friday as the season’s strongest cold front began bulldozing its way down the Florida peninsula.

By Monday morning, areas north of Brooksville outside of Tampa could see sub-freezing temperatures, NWS forecasters in Tampa said.

Up to 2 inches of rain will precede the front across a wide swath of the central peninsula late Friday night and early Saturday, accompanied by gusty winds and some isolated severe weather.

Highs on Monday — even in Southeastern Florida — may only make it into the low 60s, forecasters said.

Another shot of cold air around mid-week will keep temperatures below normal into following weekend, but then temperatures around the state should return to normal during the week preceding Christmas and Christmas week. Normal highs are in the mid-70s in South Florida, low 70s in Central Florida and mid-60s in North Florida.

(Image credits: NWS-Melbourne, above; NWS-Miami, below)

Severe weather threat

Unusually cold temperatures are in the forecast for all of the Eastern U.S. through December 17, followed by a return to more normal December weather, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says. (Credit, below: NOAA/ CPC) 


NOAA boosts Florida rainfall forecast, but drought concerns continue

5 day rainfall

(Credit: NOAA/ WPC)

Palm Beach on Florida’s East Coast — and over to Fort Myers on the West Coast — could be in for almost 2 inches of rain over the next several days before the season’s strongest cold front finally clears the peninsula.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center also predicts a swath of heavier rainfall through the center of the state north of Okeechobee. This rain will be beneficial since almost all reporting stations around Florida, from the Keys to the panhandle, are looking at growing precipitation deficits since the end of November.

The rain should start Thursday in the north and continue into Friday and Saturday in South Florida, the National Weather Service said.

Thursday temps
(Image credit: NWS-Tampa)

As is often the case with winter cold fronts, forecast highs and lows have been trending down across the state. Even South Florida may not get out of the mid-60s on Sunday and Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

The adjacent forecast map from the National Weather Service in Tampa shows the progress of the front as of Thursday morning, with cold temperatures already edging into northern counties.

Once the front does clear, rain chances across the peninsula fall to near zero, which brings us to the subject of potential winter drought — not only in Florida but the southern tier of states. The U.S. Drought Monitor published its updated drought status on Thursday, with drought or Abnormally Dry conditions in the Florida panhandle and spreading down to the Nature Coast north of Tampa.

Incredibly — despite Hurricane Harvey pounding East Texas with almost 60 inches of rain at the end of August — many of the affected areas are now Abnormally Dry or already entering drought conditions.

“In Texas, areas of drought expanded across the eastern portion of the state as the warm and dry pattern continued,” the Drought Monitor noted in its Thursday analysis. “According to NOAA’s NCEI [National Centers for Environmental Information], Texas experienced its 12th driest and 6th warmest October-November period on record.”

Texas drought

Much of Eastern Texas is either Abnormally Dry or already in drought conditions. (Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor)

Wintry weekend — Florida-style — dead ahead

Saturday temps

Areas north of Tampa could be dealing with near-freezing temperatures Saturday night and into Sunday morning. (Image credit: (NWS-TampaBay)

Jacket weather alert!

Even the Keys won’t make it into the 70s on Sunday, the National Weather Service says.

Sunday’s forecast high in Key West is 68 with an overnight low of 61, downright chilly by Florida Keys standards. On the peninsula, South Florida may only make it into the mid-60s with lows dropping into the 40s at night in interior locations, forecasters said.

It’ll be in the low 60s in Orlando on Sunday, and North Florida will only be in the mid-50s over the weekend with lows in the 30s.


THE BING CROSBY EFFECT: Floridians who are traveling out-of-state for Christmas may be looking forward to a Currier & Ives holiday with children frolicking amid pristine white snow banks. Don’t count on it this year, says the Farmers’ Almanac.

“Dreaming of a White Christmas? Keep dreaming! Turning unseasonably mild with showery rain as a storm takes a track well inland,” says the Almanac’s forecast for the U.S. Northeast.

The Midwest could get a little wet snow but it will probably be mixed with rain as temperatures turn milder following next week’s Arctic blast. The Almanac is predicting “a big warm-up” for Florida and the rest of the Southeast.

The only people likely to wake up to a white Christmas are those in the Rocky Mountain States, from the Canadian border to northern New Mexico.The West Coast is expected to be stormy but some of that precip may translate into snow for the western mountain ranges.

Speaking of winter wonderlands, the Great Lakes area is set to get slammed by lake effect snow this week as the aforementioned Arctic air sweeps across the relatively warm water. Buffalo was under a Winter Weather Advisory for late Wednesday with up to 5 inches of snow in the forecast.

Cleveland was expecting 3 inches with winds gusting up to 33 mph by Thursday.

Western Michigan was also under a Winter Weather Advisory for up to 5 inches of snow and heavier amounts locally.

Chicago is expecting only flurries, but with a low Wednesday night/ Thursday morning of 22, along with 25 mph winds, the wind chill should be in the single digits.