After a numbingly cold Christmas, weekend temperatures will be on the rise across the Sunshine State. However, as Floridians approach the final holiday weekend of 2020 a cold front is expected to carve through the region.
High pressure will continue to dominate the Southeast for the first part of the week with winds becoming more east-southeasterly across much of the state through Thursday. This will help increase temperatures into the lower 70s state-wide by midweek with portions of the Peninsula climbing close to 80s degrees by Thursday.
These warm temperatures will lead up to the passage of a cold front which is expected to push through the Panhandle New Year’s Eve and cross the Peninsula New Year’s Day. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible for Thursday and into Friday morning. Weather models are indicating high vertical wind shear levels and low instability, especially in the Panhandle for Thursday. A strong to severe squall line ahead of the front will be possible, similar to the one that crossed the region Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning. A few storms could produce damaging straight-line winds and heavy rainfall but this will all depend on if the cold front maintains enough energy by the time is moves through the Deep South and Southeast.
Once the cold front moves through the Florida Panhandle, the loss of daytime heating could help to weaken the showers and thunderstorms as the line of storms crosses through the Peninsula. Nevertheless, heavy rainfall and isolated strong thunderstorms will be possible throughout the overnight into New Year’s morning. Much cooler temperatures are expected once the cold front moves completely through the area to start the first day of 2021. The Florida Panhandle will be celebrating with temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s while the Peninsula stays primarily in the 60s. Parts of South Florida are expected to be comfortable New Year’s Day with highs in the lower 70s.