The average monthly temperatures and precipitation totals for Southwest Florida Dan DeLuca/news-press.com
It's time to get out the thick sweaters and maybe even a hoodie because it's about to get cold in Southwest Florida.
A low pressure front from the mainland United States will soon move across the Gulf of Mexico and bring near-record low temperatures to Fort Myers and Naples.
Rain is expected on Thursday and Friday.
"Behind the front, Saturday it will begin to clear up and by Sunday we’re expecting those clear, sunny conditions with highs in Naples in the upper 60s," said Larry Kelly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. "It will still be fairly cool behind the front as well. But the coldest temperatures will be early Sunday morning and early Monday morning."
The all-time low for a Dec. 9 is 42 degrees, set multiple times but most recently in 1984.
NWS is calling for a low of 44 degrees, which is just a few degrees shy of the record. Although temperatures will near record lows, there's nothing abnormal or strange about the system.
"We’re in the winter season and we do get cold fronts," Kelly said. "Some are stronger than others and this is just a stronger system. So it’s not, not normal."
The record lowest high for a Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 is 69 and 70 degrees, both of which will be broken if NWS predictions come true. Other weather forecasting outlets are calling for similar conditions.
The expected high for both those days is 65 degrees, according to the latest NWS forecast.
Rain will come first, possibly a quarter-inch or more in some localized areas.
"You’ll have a slight chance of rain in Lee, about 20 percent Thursday," said Larry McMichael, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, which covers the Fort Myers area. "The rain will move into the region Thursday night into Friday and then rain chances increase to 70 to 80 percent of rain the first half of Saturday. Then drier air will move in ... and we’re looking at a second half of the weekend it being drier and a lot cooler than it’s been."
Temperatures have been high in recent weeks as La Nina has continued to dominate weather patterns across the state.
La Nina typically brings drier, warmer winters to this region, and it also increases the likelihood of tropical storm and hurricane formation in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for above average temperatures and its likely we'll also get below average rainfall between now and March.
Temperatures are expected to rise slightly for a few days after this strong front, before the next cold weather works its way through Southwest Florida.
"There will be a gradual warm-up through Tuesday and then there will be another front on Tuesday and Tuesday night and then we’ll get into temperatures that are below normal again," McMichael said.
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