The first cold front of the season breached Florida’s northern border Monday, promising to drop temperatures by 10 degrees in areas from Jacksonville to Walt Disney World.
But the earthy breath of autumn is only a tease for South Florida, which will get showers and clouds from the feeble front, but no significant heat relief.
“Close, but no cigar this time,” said Dan Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist with the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather. “The drier air will come to a halt over the central part of the state, and the very moist, humid air will stay in place over the south.”
It’s not unusual for cold fronts to punch into the state this time of year, but fizzle out before reaching South Florida. A deep dive in the jet stream is needed for the Canadian chill to reach the peninsula’s tip. With this week’s front, the jet stream only makes it as far as the Tennessee Valley before lifting back to the north.
That means high temperatures this week in Palm Beach County will remain in the mid-80s, which is about normal for this time of year, and dip into the mid-70s overnight, which is slightly warmer than normal.
Rain chances are as high as 70 percent tonight, but dip to 50 percent Wednesday night and Thursday.
Northern reaches of the Sunshine State, however, will begin to feel fall.
In Jacksonville, today’s forecast high is just 75 degrees – 16 degrees below Monday’s high of 91. Orlando is expected to reach 84 degrees today, down from Monday’s high of 90.
And in Tallahassee, today’s high is forecast to reach just 74 degrees, nearly 15 degrees cooler than Monday.
Don Harrigan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, said the front is being celebrated as the opening event for full throttle fall to begin.
The real difference will be felt overnight. It’s only been cooling down into the high 60s and low 70s overnight when the normal overnight low for mid October is 57 degrees.
“It’s the first (cold front) and it’s been so hot, so everyone is looking forward to it,” Harrigan said.
It’s not expected to be super robust even in the north, with part of the cooler temperatures that will follow attributable to increasing cloudiness.
Harrigan said the system is a little late this year, with cold fronts usually appearing in late September to early October.