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Stalled front means stalled weather for Southwest Florida

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A cold front snuck through southwest Florida overnight. It’s arrival was announced with widespread cloudiness, scattered showers (generally less than a quarter of an inch of rainfall), a wind shift from southwest to north, a small lowering of temperatures and, by early Monday morning (Dec. 30, 2013), much lower surface dew points in parts of Collier and Lee counties. However, as is the case so often in southwest Florida, advancing cold fronts become stationary in or near the Florida Straits (Fig. 1). This front will be no different, and its cooling and drying will again be confined only to the lowest atmospheric levels.

A few thousand feet above the ground, the warmth and moisture remain. This means that low-level clouds cover the landscape. Early this morning, fog (linked to nighttime cooling and the abundance of enough lingering atmospheric moisture) has resulted in fog across many areas of southwest Florida. A dense fog advisory has been posted until 9:00 a.m. E.S.T. for much of the peninsula south of an Immokalee-Boca Raton line.

Once the fog lifts, due to solar heating, low clouds (and some mid-level and upper-level cloudiness) will persist for the next four days. This is because winds at upper levels (at altitudes of 5 to 10 miles above ground level) will be blowing parallel to the front. As a stronger cold front advances southward on Thursday, the stationary front may try to move northward briefly as a warm front.

Throughout the next four days, with the front just south of Collier and Lee counties, the risk of scattered light showers remains in the forecast, as well. Temperatures will range from the mid 60’s at night to the upper 70’s by day. Nighttime readings will be some 6 to 10 degrees warmer than average, while daytime highs will be near seasonal average.

By Thursday night, the next cold front passes through Southwest Florida. This will bring southwest Florida a delight Friday with sunny skies, lower dew points and a coolish high of only about 70 degrees.

Then, this cold front will become stationary in the Florida Straits by Saturday, re-establishing the cloudy, showery weather pattern.

Even this somewhat non-hospitable “Sunshine State” weather pattern still beats what is happening up north. One arctic air mass after another will keep the northern tier locked in the deep freeze.

© 2013 H. Michael Mogil

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