- Kimberly Miller Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A charging winter storm making its way across the country is forecast to clear the clouds from South Florida skies this weekend and drop temperatures by double digits.
Ice and snow will spread from the Mississippi Valley to the lower Great Lakes before the storm’s trailing cold front whips through Florida late Friday into Saturday.
“We could see the metro areas with low temperatures in the upper 40s to 50s,” said Chuck Caracozza, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “The cooler air really gets in there Sunday morning.”
South Florida has been stuck this week under the influence of an upper-level low in the Gulf of Mexico that has sent moisture-rich winds in from the east and southeast causing clouds and rain.
The overcast skies will stick around through Friday with a 40 percent chance of rain forecast for Thursday and abnormally warm temperatures near 80 degrees expected Thursday and Friday.
That all changes Saturday when the temperature is forecast to reach just 72 degrees at Palm Beach International Airport. Sunday is expected to be even cooler with a high of 67.
Both nights could see temperatures on the coast dip to 50 degrees.
The normal daytime temperature for this time of year is 74 degrees, with an overnight low of 57.
Caracozza said the coming front won’t be as potent as the one last week that kept the overnight temperatures below 50 for five days straight. Three days didn’t reach highs above 64 degrees in West Palm Beach.
“Every cold front is different,” he said. “It’s basically just the strength of the system and where the cold air is coming from.”
While the jet stream digs deep enough to let some arctic air creep as far south as Key West, it quickly retreats allowing the high temperatures to rebound into the 70s Tuesday.
AccuWeather is forecasting this storm to bring near-blizzard conditions from the northern Plains to the upper Great Lakes into Thursday night. Freezing rain, sleet and some snow are forecast to occur in eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, southeastern Missouri, western and middle Tennessee, western and central Kentucky,
“Ice and snow are likely to penetrate southward into areas that rarely receive wintry precipitation,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.