Summer-like heat and humidity is finally coming to an end in North Florida. The first major cold front of the season will move through the Florida Panhandle Monday, then slide into northern and central sections of the state Tuesday.
The front was already making a huge difference in temperature over 24 hours Monday.
Thunderstorms mark front's arrival
Rain chances will be on the rise ahead of the front, with even a few thunderstorms marking its arrival Monday evening along the I-10 corridor. Added moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will aid in the likely development of another round of rain and thunder Monday Night from the Nature Coast to the First Coast. Some of this rain could be locally heavy through the predawn hours Tuesday morning near Gainesville and Ocala.
Reality check on temperatures
Temperatures behind the front will return to normal by mid-October standards. 13 of the first 15 days of the month were warmer than the 30-year average for this time of year at the Gainesville Regional Airport. Afternoon highs will fall to the upper 70s Tuesday, then slowly rebound to the lower 80s for the rest of the week. Overnight lows will drop to the lower and middle 60s starting Wednesday morning, with even a few locations near the Georgia border dipping into the upper 50s.
Noticeably drier air arrives
The air mass behind the front will not only be noticeably cooler, it will be sharply drier as well. Dew points are expected to fall nearly 20 degrees by Tuesday, The dew point is a measure of how much moisture the air can hold, and for many months it has been mostly in the 70s. This will make the air feel much more comfortable in the coming days, especially at night and in the morning hours.
Not so fast South Florida
The front will put on the brakes near the I-4 corridor Tuesday, which will prevent the cooler and drier air from reaching central and south Florida. In fact, an area of low pressure is likely to form along the front just offshore of the Space Coast Wednesday, further enhancing the easterly wind flow off the Atlantic Ocean. This will keep the rain chances elevated from Jacksonville to Miami for several days, with the occasional shower or thunderstorm moving inland and to the southwest toward Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers.
Temperatures will begin warming again across all of Florida by week’s end, and the humidity will be on the rise as well. This will be in response to a more southerly flow developing ahead of the next front, which is on target to arrive next week. This time of year, cold fronts typically begin to visit the Sunshine State about every 7 to 10 days.
UF Forecaster Bryan Boggiano contributed to this report.