PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – It always seems to go so quickly. The brief stretch from roughly mid-November to March offers South Florida a break from its famous sweat-inducing humidity and searing temperatures. But as spring rolls in, the cold fronts that bring the relief soon begin losing the horsepower necessary to push refreshing air as far south as South Florida.
So those who enjoy the crisp nights and mild afternoons should savor each late-season cool-down during this transition time, as they will soon come to an end.
We have such a temperature dip on the horizon. A cold front will surge out of the Great Plains and pass through South Florida Thursday evening. Behind it, our recently humid weather will be swept away and temperatures will drop by about 10 degrees.
That 10 degrees may not sound like much, but feels-like temperatures (heat index) will be about 15 degrees lower during the peak heat of the afternoon. Lows Friday morning will be in the low-mid 60s, though a spot or two in the upper 50s is not impossible, with Friday afternoon in the mid-70s.
Similar temperatures will hold through Easter weekend. Normal temperatures for this time of year are 66 for a low and 82 for a high, for comparison. Put another way, we started the week with temperatures normal for early May, but we end it with what is average for New Year’s Day.
Another bit of good news is much-needed rain will pop up as the frontal system kicks by. We have been running a little dry so far in 2021, even by dry season standards.
Fort Lauderdale has only seen 4.37 inches of rain as of March 30, which is roughly half the normal value by the end of March. Miami is faring better with 5.27 inches at Miami International Airport, closer to the normal value of 6.64 inches.
Rain looks to favor the late afternoon and evening. Precipitation totals will vary greatly depending on if your location is under a thunderstorm or only gets skirted by the edge of a shower, but the general idea is 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch is likely, give or take.
On average, the last date that sees lows hit 59 or less in Miami is April 11. But recent years have seen a trend toward the cool nights coming to an end earlier in the year. Just last year, Miami’s final night recorded in the 50s was March 1 — the earliest on record.
Time will tell if this is our last potent cold front of the season. We will still see them swing by on occasion through mid-May or so, but likely a little weaker each time. April and May fronts tend to reduce humidity more than bring much cool weather.
The “wet season” officially begins May 15, marked by the average time each year that we switch to increased showers and relentless muggy weather.