South Florida to get a big cool down by the end of the week

By Eliot Kleinberg

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The words “wintry mix” still won’t appear in your local forecast, but with Christmas decorations already up, you have been hoping for South Florida to finally get out of what would for most be summer weather.

There was that brief cold front in mid-November. But then temperatures last week were as much as 8 degrees above normal.

Now your wish has been granted. Things will get a little cooler later this week in South Florida, the National Weather Service’s Miami office says.

Check The Palm Beach Post’s storm tracking map.

Highs will stay in the low 80s through Thursday, but by Friday and Saturday will get only up to the low 70s, with overnight lows dipping as far down as the low 60s along the coast and the high 50s around Lake Okeechobee.

Weather Service forecaster Larry Kelly said it’s too early to predict next week, but that this is around the time things start getting really pleasant.

“We start to get some of these cold fronts come through the area,” he said. “Give us a break from the (hot) weather.”

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

 

Federal investigators scheduled to visit Miami forecasting office

Investigators with the Government Accountability Office are expected to visit the Miami office of the National Weather Service today as they query the reasons for high vacancy rates in critical forecasting jobs.

Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, said investigators have already been to at least one other office, but that Miami is a key visit because it has had one of the highest number of open positions in recent months.

They will visit the Tallahassee office on Tuesday.

Read: National Weather Service wants to slash tech jobs by 80 percent. 

In January, The Palm Beach Post reported the Miami National Weather Service office was running at about 60 percent capacity even as an increased number of tornadoes spun through South Florida under the influence of El Niño.

Photo by Tom Knapp, Jr., Palm Beach Post weather watcher, at the Jupiter Inlet on April 15, 2016
Photo by Tom Knapp, Jr., Palm Beach Post weather watcher, at the Jupiter Inlet on April 15, 2016

As of this late March, the Miami office was still down five positions, including three meteorologists, according to a count by the National Weather Service Employees Organization. The National Weather Service is part of NOAA.

Joe Maloney, the union steward for Miami, said interviews have been completed for most of the positions.

“However, the inefficient workforce management process means we are unlikely to see any new bodies before summer,” he said.

The National Weather Service Employees Organization counted 672 total vacancies at the National Weather Service as of Thursday, including 330 in forecasting offices.

The Government Accountability Office opened an inquiry in December into vacancies at the National Weather Service after concerns from elected officials that forecasters are being stretched too thin in the face of severe weather.