Palm Beach County to open cold weather shelter

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for areas west of I-95 in Palm Beach County beginning at 10 p.m.

The advisory will remain in effect through 10 a.m. Thursday.

Check The Palm Beach Post’s radar map. 

Wind chills are forecast to range from the mid-20s to mid-30s for Palm Beach County, where officials announced the opening of one cold weather shelter at the West County Senior Center in Belle Glade. The shelter will open at 7 p.m.

A wind chill advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create “feels-like” temperatures lower than the actual temperature. Overnight lows are forecast to dip to the low 40s and 30s.

Freeze watches were issued for areas of Hendry and Glades counties.

The advisories comes as a potent winter storm approaches South Florida after sending freezing rain and snow down on areas of the Panhandle.

According to the National Weather Service in Miami, the high temperature at Palm Beach International Airport on Wednesday will reach 72 degrees, but drop to 43 early Thursday.

Forecast for Palm Beach International Airport

Wellington could also see the low 40s Thursday morning with the upper 30s possible around Lake Okeechobee. High temperatures Thursday are forecast to remain in the low 60s through most of Palm Beach County.

“The cold air invasions have been unusually relentless,” said Chris Dolce, a digital meteorologist with Weather.com. “It’s just been one system after another.”

A bucking jet stream is to blame for the pulses of frigid air that have harassed the Northeast since mid-December and fed a pipeline of arctic air into the Sunshine State.

On Tuesday, the winter storm dubbed Inga by The Weather Channel, left snowfall totals in western Kentucky of up to 9 inches, snow covered roads in Nashville and a wintry mix of sleet, ice pellets and snow pelted areas near Austin, Texas.

“We haven’t seen this kind of persistent cold weather in quite some time,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. “Sometimes, the winter pattern just sets up this way.”

Frost and ice in Pensacola this morning where the temperature dipped to 22 degrees. Photos by Elizabeth Eubanks

Frost and ice in Pensacola this morning where the temperature dipped to 22 degrees. Photos by Elizabeth Eubanks

In West Palm Beach, about half of January has come with below normal temperatures as measured by the average daily mean at the airport. The normal daytime high for this time of year is 75 degrees, with a normal overnight low of 57.

The coldest temperature this month was 38 degrees recorded on Jan. 4.

The Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, had forecast this winter to be warmer and drier than normal for Florida because of La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific. Florida Climatologist David Zierden said that prediction could still hold true.

“We’re kind of off script a little bit,” he said. “But we still have to look at the season as a whole before we decide if the forecast was wrong.”

December was the 22nd consecutive month that Florida was warmer than average, but that streak may end this month, Zierden said.

“Even when warmer than normal winters are forecast, there will still be swings of weather up and down with cooler temperatures,” he said.

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