Ah, it's finally autumn, when leaves change colors and mornings are crisp and cool. But not here.
We usually don't see a real cool-down until early November, when nighttime temperatures might temporarily drop into the 50s. Until then, the afternoons stay in the upper 80s and the low 90s.
"In South Florida, fall is not the same as it is in other parts of the country," said meteorologist Robert Molleda, of the National Weather Service. "We're still very much in a tropical rainy season environment, and there's no break in that for the foreseeable future."
Still, there will be some changes. By Halloween, the wet season will have transitioned into the dry season. Humidity levels will ease, regular afternoon storms will disappear and evening readings will occasionally dip into the 60s.
By the first week of November, the first strong cold front generally arrives, temporarily dropping temperatures into the 50s.
"Days get shorter, and that alone starts knocking down temps just a little," Molleda said.
Within the first two weeks of December, a potent arctic air mass usually arrives, temporarily plunging readings into the 40s. Meanwhile, the normal high temperatures drop into upper 70s and normal lows into the upper 60s. It's not unusual to see temps in the 30s by the end of December.
That's not to say we won't see some shiver weather within the next month. Temperatures have fallen into the 40s in October several times in the past century, including South Florida's all-time record low for the month of 44 degrees, set on Oct. 24, 1923, in Fort Lauderdale.
The record cold in September was a relatively warm 61 degrees, set on Sept. 22, 1897, in West Palm Beach and again on Sept. 26, 1965, in Fort Lauderdale.
How fast the atmosphere shifts from summer heat to winter cool "depends on whether we start getting strong fronts earlier than normal," Molleda said, but there's no indication so far that cooler weather will arrive ahead of schedule.
Jim Lushine, a retired weather service meteorologist, said October can have a "wet and windy" side, as stalled cold fronts produce copious amounts of rain.
"Such events occurred in October of 2010, 2008 and 2001, when rainfall of a foot or more caused serious flooding in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties," he said.
Strong tornadoes also have formed in October, including one with 135 mph winds that damaged more than 130 structures in Sunrise and Plantation on Oct. 18, 2011, he added.
Delray Beach retiree Marshall Rosen said he and wife Terry look forward to cooler weather.
"We open up the windows when fall comes, and the air feels beautiful," he said.
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