MIAMI – The weekend started out with gorgeous weather Saturday, loaded with sunshine and cool temperatures, but Sunday will not be as pleasant in South Florida.
Strong storms are expected, tied to a system with the slang term “Saskatchewan screamer.” The “Saskatchewan” part refers to the origin place of the low pressure, and “screamer” refers to the speed at which these types of systems tend to move: Fast. They can also bring thunderstorms ahead of them, along with snow and ice on the rear flank.
You may have heard of similar systems called “Alberta clippers,” which are much the same, except they start life in Alberta. “Clipper” refers to swift ships from the 1800s, alluding to the speedy nature of these lows. “Manitoba maulers” and “Ontario scari-os” are other examples with funny nicknames based on the Canadian provinces from which they originate.
The thunderstorms will form a single-file line, marching from west to east. The morning may end up mainly dry for Dade, Broward and the Keys, but storms will already be underway on the Gulf side of the state. It will be a quick hit of strong storms around lunchtime into early afternoon on the east side of the peninsula, with rain likely shutting off mid-late afternoon.
Some of the storms could be strong, with damaging winds being the primary threat. Frequent lightning and a few brief tornadoes or waterspouts are also possible. As with any heavy rain in South Florida, flooding is a possibility, but the quick in-and-out nature of the storms should limit this threat.
This storm system will also bring a windy Sunday, with gusts in the morning from the south clocking in at 30-35 mph (even before it rains). These winds shift to the northwest and drop off some by the afternoon. A Small Craft Advisory is in effect for the waters off Dade and Broward, with seas expected to 5-8 feet. Even higher seas are possible off Palm Beach County, along with large breaking waves of 4-8 feet at the beaches.
Elsewhere, the storm will produce snow and ice as far south as northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Atlanta could see as much as 2 inches of snow, mixed in with ice. Frozen roads and power outages are possible from freezing rain and snow through the Carolinas and Virginia, with a foot or more of snow possible from Pittsburgh to Buffalo.
But this is winter in South Florida, and great weather doesn’t hide for long. Monday will see a return of velvety-blue skies, along with a return to cool temperatures. Temperatures dip once again to the low 50s by Monday night.