Weather alert: South Florida temperatures dropping to 40s this weekend

Winter won’t officially be over for a few weeks but it’s already been a near-record warm one in South Florida — not including the cold front rolling through this weekend.

From December through February, Miami recorded the third warmest winter on record, the National Weather Service’s Miami office reported Friday. The average temperature of 72.3 degrees was 2.7 degrees warmer than normal.

Fort Lauderdale and Naples recorded the fifth warmest winters and West Palm Beach the ninth.

In Miami and Fort Lauderdale, November 2012 actually wound up colder than any of the three following winter months, the Weather Service said — something that has happened only twice since 1910.

South Florida will make up for some of that winter warmth with this weekend’s cold snap. Temperatures are expected to plunge to the 40s on Saturday and Sunday, with the wind chill making it feel more like the 30s.

In advance of the cold snap, advocates for the homeless are hitting the streets offering shelter.

The Miami-Dade Homeless Trust and the county’s Office of Emergency Management are coordinating the effort to expand shelter space. A hotline has been set up for homeless people in need of help: 877-994-4357.

“It’s a strong cold front for this time of year,” said meteorologist Barry Baxter.

Saturday will be mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain during the day and a 10 percent chance at night.

As the cold front moves through South Florida, it will dry out the area, leaving clear skies on Sunday and into Monday.

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