February will end warm with high temperatures in South Florida in the low-to mid 80s this week, but Old Man Winter still has a cool front or two up his sleeve.
A storm system hitting the northwest coast today will make its way to the mid-Atlantic region later this week and through Florida on Friday.
That leaves Friday overnight temperatures dropping into the 50s and Saturday’s daytime highs in the low to mid 70s.
“If the models solutions are correct, the front will barrel southward across our coverage area late Friday into Saturday,” forecasters at the National Weather Service in Miami said Monday. “This pattern has the potential to bring the return of dry northerly flow along with the maximum temperatures back down in the mid 70s.”
AccuWeather’s long-range forecast calls for the cool down to begin March 3 and linger through the week with temperatures dipping into the 50s along Palm Beach County’s ocean-warmed coast, with colder temperatures inland.
The normal high in West Palm Beach for early March is 78, with a normal low of 62.
One reason for the cold push is an unusual weather pattern that also roared to life during the frigid winter of 2009-2010.
A so-called “Greenland block” is a particularly strong area of high pressure that sets up over eastern Canada and Greenland, creating a pathway for cold air to flow south into the eastern U.S.
In January 2010, it made for a spectacular cold spell in South Florida with a high temperature Jan. 10 of that year reaching just 50 degrees and the low plunging to 32.
“It doesn’t look like the cold air will get into Florida with that kind of gusto this time,” said Evan Duffey, an AccuWeather meteorologist. “But it’s worth keeping an eye on.”
According to the Capital Weather Gang, the 2009-2010 winter was Washington’s snowiest on record when a strong Greenland Block was in place “setting the stage for big snow events.”
“There are certain things for which weather forecasters look when it comes to favorable pattern for snow in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast,” wrote Ian Livingston in the Capital Weather Gang blog. “One that gets snow lovers particularly excited is the ‘Greenland Block.’”
Forecasts out past 5-7 days can be notoriously tricky, and models often get it wrong, so there’s that caveat.
Also, March “is known for its volatility as the seasons begin to change,” Livingston wrote.
But Duffey said there is some confidence in at least one more shot of cooler air for Florida this winter.
“Right now, I don’t know if this will be as cold as the outbreak in January,” Duffey said, referring to last month’s cold snap that measured a 38-degree temperature in West Palm Beach on Jan. 4. “My instincts are to say it won’t get that cold, but we’re also still a week out.”
If the forecast holds true, it will be a nice break from a warm February. Many cities in South Florida, including West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are on track to have their warmest February on record, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.