Talk about the bottom falling out.
Fort Lauderdale’s temperature climbed to a record 86 degrees on Wednesday afternoon and on Sunday morning plunged to 45 degrees, a drop of 41 degrees in three days.
Although it might seem unusual, it’s actually the general pattern whenever a cold air mass approaches; temperatures first climb and then tumble.
Long before chilly air arrives, low pressure associated with a cold front shifts the winds out of the south or southwest, allowing warm air to flow in, said meteorologist Steven Ippoliti, of the National Weather Service in Miami.
“It’s like the calm before a storm, only it’s before a cold front,” he said.
The stronger the approaching cold front, the higher the temperatures first rise and the lower they fall, Ippoliti said. Such dramatic changes are common nationwide. For instance, New York can see 60s one day, “and the next day it’s snowing,” he said.
Just the same, going from the balmy mid 80s to the raw mid 40s was quite a turnaround for many residents.
“We had the air-conditioning on in our house on Friday,” said Marshall Rosen, a Delray Beach retiree. “We put the heat on just to get the chill out of the house on Sunday.”
In the wake of the strong cold front, the lowest readings on Sunday morning included 44 degrees in West Palm Beach, 45 in Fort Lauderdale and 46 Hollywood. Monday morning, the mercury dipped to 45 in Weston and 46 in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
It’s not uncommon for South Florida to see freezing conditions through early March. On the other hand, this winter has been warmer than usual, and for now no more cold weather is in sight, Ippoliti said.
Tuesday’s forecast: Partly sunny with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 60s.
“We see a gradual warming and high temperatures in the 80s by the of the week,” he said.
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