The coldest weather in 11 years is nearly here, South Florida. What you need to know

National Weather Service in Miami
·6 min read

The coldest air in more than 11 years is almost here, South Florida.

We’re talking the mid- to upper 30s from Homestead in South Miami-Dade all the way up to Palm Beach County.

And that’s not the wind chill factors — what it will feel like. For wind chill readings, try 10 degrees colder, with wind chills predicted in the mid- to upper 20s all along the lower half of the state from Miami to Naples.

The potential lows are colder than the National Weather Service in Miami forecast on Thursday, and have led to freeze and wind chill watches for Saturday night in parts of South Florida.

Even the Keys, usually a warmer retreat, is going to shiver.

“Temperatures dropping into the lower 40s combined with north winds around 20 mph will produce wind chill values from 30 to 35 degrees in the Upper Keys Saturday night into early Sunday morning, and a wind chill advisory will likely be needed,” the National Weather Service in Key West said Friday morning in its hazardous weather outlook.

Boating in the Keys or elsewhere along the east coast? Don’t think so.

The coldest weather in a decade is coming for two whole days, and Miami can’t deal

The cold front blasting through the Keys Friday night will be followed by strong northerly winds. The weather service in Key West issued a gale watch for late Friday night and Saturday for all Keys coastal waters except Florida Bay. Expect northwest to north winds of 25 to 30 knots with frequent gusts around 35 knots. Seas will build to 5 to 8 feet in the deep waters of the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Similarly, hazardous marine conditions ahead of the cold front prompted a gale warning across South Florida by early Saturday morning, the weather service in Miami posted.

‘Pretty historic’

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Brian McNoldy, a research scientist at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School, posted on his Twitter feed one explanation for the big chill. “Ocean temperature anomalies will aid in the explosive deepening of this weekend’s storm,” he wrote.

As such, McNoldy sees temperatures around 25 degrees below normal for South Florida on Sunday morning to the upper 30s. “Pretty historic.”

The National Weather Service in Miami said temps in Miami-Dade and Broward haven’t dipped that low since December 2010.

When will the cold air arrive?

The drop begins Friday night. But the lowest temperatures in the 30-degrees range with wind chills in the upper 20s are expected Saturday night, according to meteorologist Barry Baxter’s report for the weather service.

“Frost will also be a concern, especially Sunday night,” Baxter wrote.

Cold weather shelters in Miami-Dade, Broward

Miami-Dade and Broward counties activated emergency shelter plans for cold weather. COVID-19 protocols are in effect, so expect to wear masks.

In Miami-Dade, county officials in coordination with the Homeless Trust, set 2 p.m. Friday as activation point for the plan that will continue to operate until Monday. The county will then reassess whether the cold weather plan should continue, said Charles Cyrille, interim director of Miami-Dade’s Office of Emergency Management.

If you need help to access this assistance or need more information, contact the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust Helpline at 877-994-4357 or 305-375-2273.

Broward County’s cold weather emergency shelter plan runs from 6 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Monday.

People who may be homeless in this period can report to the following shelters no later than 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday night:

The Salvation Army, 1445 W. Broward Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale.

The South Homeless Assistance Center, 2056 Scott St. in Hollywood.

The Pompano Beach shelter at 1700 Blount Rd.

A bus will leave from The Salvation Army at 1445 W. Broward Blvd. at 5:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday nights to provide transportation to the other locations as need arises. If you need this service, you have to be at the Salvation Army by 5:30 p.m. to get on the bus.

Questions about Broward’s homeless plan can be answered via the Homeless Helpline at 954-563-4357.

For those who don’t seek the shelters, partnering agencies with Broward’s Homeless Continuum of Care plan to distribute blankets, socks and stocking hats to people on the street, Broward spokeswoman Lori Shepard said in an email to the Miami Herald.

Winter safety tips

Miami-Dade’s Office of Emergency Management issued several winter safety tips in anticipation of this weekend’s chill.

Among them:

Stay indoors as much as possible.

Check on friends, family members and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards such as young children, older adults and the chronically ill.

Dress in multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing if going out. Hats, scarves and mittens aren’t a bad idea.

Eat well-balanced meals to stay warmer. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages as booze can cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.

Bring pets out of the cold.

Heat your home safely. Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by never using generators, charcoal grills or gas grills indoors.

When will it warm up again?

The National Weather Service in Miami eyes Monday with a high of 70 degrees and a low of 55 at night as the start of the next thaw.

By Wednesday, expect a temperature range from upper 70s down to upper 60s.

Rain is not in the forecast and is just at 20% after 1 a.m. Tuesday into Thursday.

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