It’s rare that a bomb cyclone affects spring break in South Florida. But that’s what’s expected to happen Saturday night and into Sunday morning when low temperatures could dip to the mid- and low-50s across the region, forecasters say.
The bomb cyclone, defined as the central pressure of a low-pressure system dropping at least 24 millibars in a 24-hour period, is expected to deliver frigid temperatures and wintery conditions as it travels north along the East Coast over the weekend.
The cold weather will pay only a brief visit to South Florida, but it’s forecast to bring windy conditions and a chance of rain that could make things uncomfortable for beachgoers.
“Not a good weekend for spring breakers at all,” meteorologist Paxton Fell of the National Weather Service said regarding beach conditions.
“We’re going to have very dangerous, very hazardous seas and rip currents.”
Spring break warmth resumes early in the week. Monday’s high temperature is expected in the upper 70s, and Tuesday’s high is expected in the 80s.
And there’s more good news — it won’t be unseasonably cool for long Sunday. The high temperature is forecast for the low 70s.
That follows a hot Saturday in South Florida, when the high temperature is expected in the upper 80s with some areas hitting 90 degrees in the afternoon.
The timing and speed of the cold front will play a role in Saturday afternoon’s temperatures. If the cold front comes through early in the day and passes slowly, temperatures might not hit the upper 80s.
“But it’s looking like it’s going to come through after daily heating,” said Lary Kelly, senior meteorologist for the National Weather Service, “so it looks like we’re still going be able to get to those upper 80s, near 90, and then the rain comes through and begins to cool us off.
“And with the wind surge behind the front, that cold air filters down the peninsula to drop us into the 50-degree temperatures for Sunday morning.”
In counties such as Glades and Hendry, and possibly even in the northern parts of Collier, wind chills could be in the 30s Sunday morning.
“That cold front is forecast to move through the [South Florida] area on Saturday, bringing with it about a 50% chance of rain for the east coast, and maybe a little higher, 60-70%, up by the lake region,” Kelly said.
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As strange as it sounds, South Florida should have a decent weekend despite the brief temperature drop, rip currents, windy conditions, and chance of rain, especially when compared to other areas of the state.
Fell said there’s still some uncertainty about the overall potency of the cold front.
“But what models do agree on,” she said, “is that the higher chance for severe weather is going to remain over North and Central Florida.”
There’s also uncertainty whether this is the last blast of cold air we’ll see in South Florida for the spring.
“It’s hard to say whether this will be the last one,” Kelly said. “We could get another front. It’s still March. But they begin to become a little less frequent.”
Chris Perkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org