Monday highs will “struggle” to reach 70 degrees in South Florida

The first significant cool front of the season with drier air and temperatures dipping as deep as 59 degrees overnight moved through South Florida yesterday, nearly two months later than normal.

Typically, late November is when the first arctic pushes of frigid air come streaming down from the north. But a high pressure system locked in place east of Florida and near Bermuda had the entire east coast feeling more tropical than frigid this Christmas.

National Weather Service meteorologists noted in Sunday’s forecast that “even under clearing skies Monday, high temperatures will struggle to reach 70 degrees.”

Morning lows are expected in the high 50s to low 60s. December ended the month at an average 76 degrees, 5.5 degrees above normal.

“Cooler and drier air streams into the area behind the front, giving all of South Florida the first decent shot of cool air of the winter (delayed by a good 4-8 weeks from normal),” forecasters in the Miami office of the NWS wrote.

The last time West Palm Beach saw a temperature reading in the 50s was March 2015.

While rain was expected overnight, they should dissipate this morning with drier air moving in.

“A rare coolish day is in store for the area Monday,” forecasters wrote.

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Tuesday morning temperatures will be the lowest this season.

Hot Christmas week with 80-plus temperatures

National Weather Service forecasters are expecting a warm week after the brief reprieve of cooler temperatures over the weekend.

According to Miami meteorologists, today could reach a high of 82 degrees with even warmer temperatures to follow.

By Christmas Day, temperatures should hit 83 degrees, eight degrees above normal.

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“Suffice it to say that Christmas looks very warm for this time of year,” forecasters wrote.

Normal temperatures for this time of year are a high of 75 degrees and lows in the high 50’s.

Overnight low temperatures this week are only expected to dip to 75 degrees.

Forecasters are blaming a high pressure system parked over the the east coast for the above-normal temperatures.

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Star Wars weather: West Palm Beach, it’s like Yavin 4 out there

Want to know what planet in the Star Wars universe your weather most resembles?

Well, one intrepid video and web producer has created a website where you can pop in the name of your town and find out what planet you’d most likely be living on if you were a Star Wars character (and what character would you be?)

Tom Scott created Star Wars Weather Forecast.

When I typed in West Palm Beach last week, it told me I may as well be living in Dagobah  – “Hot and wet, and not in a good way. Also, Yoda might be hiding somewhere.”

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This  morning, it’s apparently more like Yavin 4, the jungle-covered 4th moon in orbit around the gas giant Yavin.

I came across Scott’s site while reading a great blog by Marshall Shepherd in Forbes. Shepherd is director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia.

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He is a self-proclaimed weather and Star Wars geek and wanted to put the two together for his students.

“While many of the planets/moons in the series likely were monoclimes (e.g. snowball climate or other other extreme climate state), I would like to present them in a way to teach about Earth’s climate system,” Shepherd wrote.

The ice planet Hoth is a monoclime, like many planets in Star Wars.
The ice planet Hoth is a monoclime, like many planets in Star Wars.

It can get a little technical, but he goes into explain that Tatooine would likely be an area of large-scale sinking motion, similar to most major deserts of Earth, which are located in the sinking branch of the Hadley Circulation. 

The planet Hoth is also explained, as well as Dagobah and Mustafar.

It’s an interesting discussion that also brings in Dan Zehr’s discussion, “Studying Skywalkers” the Meaning of Weather in Star Wars. 

“Weather matters,” Zehr writes. “Poe used it often to reflect the fall of the Usher household in the titular short story, and Twain used it to mirror Huckleberry Finn’s loneliness and melancholy in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Star Wars often offers this insight as well.”

Forecasters alert to dense fog in Palm Beach County

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement this morning warning of dense fog for all of Palm Beach County.

Visibility is less than a half mile in coastal and western Palm Beach County.

Drivers should use low beam headlights and slow down while driving through the fog early this morning.

The statement is in effect through 7 a.m. but fog could linger until shortly after sunrise.

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Light fog on State Road 7 extension north of Okeechobee Boulevard Tuesday morning, April 2, 2013. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

Weather observations at Palm Beach International Airport reflect the fog started to form just before 5 a.m. as northwest winds stilled to 3 mph and the air temperature and dew point temperature met at 66 degrees.

The relative humidity shot to 100 percent and cloud heights plummeted from 3,000 feet to near ground level. Without strong winds or the sun’s dispersing rays, the low fog will linger.

The National Weather Service sends out a special weather statement, like the one this  morning, when visibility is reduced to one-half mile. If visibility dips to one-fourth mile, a fog advisory is issued.

Dense fog is rare in Florida. Between 2000 and 2011, NOAA’s storm events database recorded just 35 days during which dense fog was present statewide. But those incidences can be lethal.

The database lists five deaths and 17 injuries directly attributable to dense fog, while Palm Beach Post archives list multiple car accidents in which fog was involved.

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Dense fog obscures islands in the Intracoastal this morning. Photo by Eddie Ritz

In March 2007, Boynton Beach resident Anita Zoet died after her car plowed into an 18-wheeler on Florida’s Turnpike in heavy fog. Four others were also killed in the accident that included a 12-vehicle pileup.

A year earlier, two people were killed and 20 injured in western Palm Beach County when smoke combined with fog to reduce visibility on State Road 80 and U.S. 27.

Meteogram at PBIA shows where dew point temperature and air temperature meet, helping to initiate fog.
Meteogram at PBIA shows where dew point temperature and air temperature meet, helping to initiate fog.
Dense fog this morning obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz
Dense fog this morning starts to break up shortly after sunrise, but still obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz
Dense fog this morning obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz
Dense fog this morning obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz