Tis the season for good tidings, so for the moment forget about climate change. Ditto El Niño.
Let’s talk Bermuda High and the Christmas miracle it’s delivering to South Florida.
The appearance of the high, which normally parks itself over the peninsula in spring and summer, is wrapping South Florida in unseasonably balmy weather. Good news for tourists, maybe not so good for locals hoping for something other than frigid office temperatures.
“It’s going to take an atmospheric bulldozer to move it out of the way,” said National Weather Service forecaster Kurt Van Speybroeck, who called for a week of “carbon copy” days.
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Temperatures will hover in the low to mid 80s for the holiday and likely through the end of the year, he said. With a little prodding from the sun, Miami might even break a 1941 Christmas day record of 85 degrees. Temperatures are just as out of whack across the eastern U.S.: Accuweather meteorologists say parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England could be as warm as the Fourth of July because of a northward bump in the jet stream.
For pagans, there’s also a little lunar gift this year: the first Christmas day full moon in 38 years. Forecast to peak at 6:11 a.m., it won’t happen again for 19 years.
Over the next week, forecasters predict lows in the mid 70s, with some inland temperatures possibly dropping to the 60s. Passing showers are expected, but nothing like the downpours that soaked the region in recent weeks. Breezy conditions will likely kick up strong rip currents, so beachgoers need to be cautious. While the moon and strong winds will increase tides by six to eight inches, Van Speybroeck said forecasters do not anticipate flooding.
The front could begin to weaken next week, he said, giving South Florida its first shot at a winter chill between Jan. 1 and Jan. 4.
If this winter feels familiar, that’s because it is.
Last year, the region endured its fourth consecutive winter with above average temperatures. The year before, Miami had its third warmest winter on record. Forecasters had expected the El Niño weather pattern brewing over the Pacific this year to make the winter wetter and cooler. But Van Speybroeck said Wednesday as long as the Bermuda High remains parked over the region, any fronts powered by El Niño will have a hard time squeezing by.
So crank up the AC. Light the yule log. And don’t forget to leave Santa a cold beer.