It’s possible Miami could see a record low Sunday morning when a frigid Arctic air mass seeps into South Florida, bringing gusty winds that will make it feel like it’s in the upper 20s, forecasters said.
The official forecast low for Key Biscayne is 39, two degrees warmer than the 37 degrees predicted for Miami International Airport, said Robert Garcia, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
“Temperatures will nosedive after sunset Saturday,” he said. “The really large concern for Key Biscayne will be the wind chill threat.” Winds are forecast at 22 miles-per-hour Saturday night, with gusts as high as 29.
He said residents should think about bringing sensitive plants indoors, and to be careful about pets. But he said there’s little chance of freezing conditions, as are posted for upstate counties.
And of course, there is the likelihood that iguanas will drop from trees because of the cold.
The record low in Miami for Jan. 30 is 38 degrees, set in 1940. It wouldn’t take much for that record to be broken.
But what’s more interesting about the cold snap to meteorologist Brian McNoldy at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School isn’t the cold itself — it’s that it doesn’t happen more often.
“It used to be fairly common for Miami to get into the 30s each winter, multiple times. Since 2010, it has not happened once,” he said. “What used to be a fairly regular occurrence is now becoming exceptionally rare.”
He said that sometimes, people don’t understand that climate change doesn’t make cold weather impossible – it just makes it happen less often.
Another cold night is expected Sunday night into Monday, forecasters said, with temperatures only coming up slightly.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.