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Cold Front Approaching This Weekend; Tropics Active Again Next Week

A cold front will pass through the northern half of Florida this weekend, while attention turns to the Caribbean early next week for possible tropical development.

The high pressure system which has been responsible for the recent warm, dry weather is expected to move east and allow a cold front to move into the Florida Panhandle Friday. The front will then move into North Florida Friday night, before slowing to a crawl across central and south Florida on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

A sharp temperature gradient will develop across the peninsula Saturday, and a strong northeast flow behind the front will create rough surf and minor coastal flooding along the Atlantic Coast.

A shower or isolated thunderstorm is possible ahead of the cold front, but limited moisture will keep rain chances low in most areas through Saturday. Showers are more likely across south and east Florida Sunday thanks to a strengthening onshore flow bringing more moisture into the area.

Cooler and drier air will follow the passage of the front, dropping temperatures near or slightly below average for at least a day across the panhandle and portions of North Florida. Morning lows will fall into the 60s north of the I-4 corridor Saturday, and afternoon highs will only rebound to the upper 70s and lower 80s. Near-normal temperatures are expected across South Florida where the front will have less of an impact.

All eyes will then turn to the tropics early next week, where a disturbance in the southwestern Caribbean Sea has the potential to develop. The National Hurricane Center outlined the area as having a "low chance" of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next two to five days. Environmental conditions are then expected to become more favorable for development and long range forecast models suggest the system might move toward the north or northeast by late next week.

Hurricane season officially ends November 30th, but South Florida is generally more vulnerable to cyclones during the month of October. Storms typically develop this time of year in the Caribbean and off the Southeast coast of the United States, often giving residents little time to prepare due to the proximity to land.

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Dr. Athena Masson