DISCUSSION: A massive blast of cold air is currently hitting Florida bringing overnight low temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit across much of the state. An exception to this is the southeast coast including Miami and Palm Beach which have overnight low temperatures in the 40s. The cause of the extreme cold temperatures to reach this far south is a massive ridge of high pressure across much of the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys as well as the very large low off the Atlantic Coast which is bringing heavy snow to the Northeast. There also is a heavy presence of sinking air which is pumping cold dry air down towards the ground which in addition to the cold air being advected at the surface is what is driving the temperatures to remain cold.
The cold air has also helped bring snow to parts of Florida including Tallahassee on Wednesday as the massive low was around the coast of Florida. The storm also brought above average precipitation values for much of the state (including over an inch of rain in Orlando). The below-average temperatures are expected to increase slightly through the weekend due to the ridge moving south as well as the massive low remaining over the Atlantic Coast which would increase a cold northerly flow. Many of the low temperatures recorded ranged from 12 to 18 degrees colder than average but were not record breaking by a few degrees.
The cold air has caused unusual events to occur such as iguanas fell out of trees frozen as well as sea turtles to become inactive. In addition, airports including Orlando International have had to use de-icing trucks on many of the planes parked there. Citrus growers were on high alert as well, because of the possibility that the cold air will damage or destroy the citrus plants.
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©2018 Meteorologist JP Kalb