Polar Vortex meets Miami

Of all places, south Florida is among the coldest locations compared to “normal” in the Lower 48 today.


Temperature difference from average this morning across U.S. (WeatherBell.com)

Lows in south Florida this morning were generally 15 to 25 degrees below normal and dipped below freezing away from the ocean.  In Miami, it dipped to 46 – the coldest reading since last March 4 but well above the record of 30 set in 1841 (at a different observing location).


(National Weather Service)

The polar air which reached the sunshine state originated from northwest of Alaska, as the National Weather Service described on its Facebook page Thursday:

The air that is expected to be around the Miami area Friday morning (the 17th) around sunrise was northwest of Alaska near the Wrangel Island at 4 miles above the surface 5 days ago and near the Panama City in North Florida today (16th) around sunrise.

Model showing the path of cold air (NOAA)
Model showing the path of cold air over the last 5 days (NOAA)

Capital Weather Gang’s Jack Williams – who has been cruising around the Caribbean – described unusually chilly air on his travels due to the southward push of polar air.

“Yesterday, Jan. 16, we enjoyed a tour of Cozumel with temps in the 70s and low humidity,” Williams said in an email. “[On Wednesday] we were at Grand Cayman with steady rain from stratus clouds… no signs of convection …much of the day and brisk winds.”

Temperatures in south Florida are expected to moderate slightly through Saturday, but another cold front will push temps back down for Sunday.

While South Floridans may shiver due to highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s and 40s, consider the other location in the U.S. – comparably cold relative to normal – is northern Minnesota.  Its lows this morning were -10 to -20, with afternoon highs expected to be in the single digits.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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