Miami heat gives way to winter cool

Miami has mostly had a warm winter, with the region’s last cold snap in late November.
Miami has mostly had a warm winter, with the region’s last cold snap in late November. emichot@miamiherald.com

Winter finally showed up in South Florida, and likely stole Miami’s chance at setting another weather record.

Up until Friday, Miami was on track to beat last year’s record high December temperatures, with Thursday marking yet another daily high for the month, according to University of Miami tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy. But with Friday and Saturday’s chilly forecast tossed into the mix, the month will almost surely have to settle for a tie or second, he said.

“It will be VERY close!” he said in an email.

December 2015 ended with an average temperature of 77.2 degrees, he said. This year was so far averaging 77.4 degrees. That’s a slim lead, aided by an 85-degree high on Thursday. But on Friday temperatures plunged to 61 degrees in Miami and 59 degrees in West Kendall, according to the National Weather Service.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hot all year. The year will is slated to go down as the third hottest on year, behind 2011 and 2015, the warmest ever on record.

The cool weather, expected to sail through the region over the weekend, is also bringing a high risk for rip currents and worsening drought conditions, the weather service said.

The frosty air is related to a massive front pushing across the Great Lakes and into the Central Plains and the Northeast, said NWS meteorologist Maria Torres. Temperatures Friday night should dip into the low 60s in Florida’s east coast, with residents in the interior feeling lows in the 50s and west of Lake Okeechobee and Naples plunging into the 40s, she said.

But thankfully, the snap will be quick.

With winds shifting back to the east, Torres said temperatures should return to the mid-70s.

“It’s going to be very short, and then we’ll be back again to warm.”

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