First frost in Central Florida?
Orlando, Fl - Now that we have had our first legit cold front, I, of course, am looking ahead to see when we should expect our first frost. To produce a frost down here in Central Florida it requires a very potent cold front, and aligning the pressure systems (sometimes the stars) just right. We need to get a direct north-northwest wind that is blowing from about 340 degrees direct from Georgia and farther north. The current hyper-exaggerated jetstream pattern is perfect to tap into cold, arctic air and drive it all the way down here into Florida. This pattern will set itself for about 3-5 days, then fade and may not return for many weeks. The timing has to be just right and, of course, it must occur from mid-December through mid-February.
It has been a rare event to get cold air down into Central Florida the past five years. We have averaged 2-3 nights below 30 degrees in Orlando, but we have not had any freezing nights. The main reason for the scarcity of freezing weather points to the lack of multi-day north-northwest winds for us. If you are anticipating a freeze this year, you may be dissapointed again. Event though I am anticipating some wild swings in temperatures this winter season, I am expecting very quick bouts of cold weather. These short bursts will not be sufficient in pulling the coldest air direct into Florida.
During the past 100 years, we have averaged one freezing night every three years. We are way overdue! The odds of getting a frost are near 95% for metro Orlando. I expect at least two nights of frost this winter in metro Orlando and, of course, several more once you get out in the suburbs. Here is the 100-year average of when we get our first frosty night.
Even with no La Nina in place, and a jetstream pattern that will vary greatly, I do expect a normal arrival of frost for Central Florida with the holiday season being the most likely time for metro Orlando. Let's hope so, because I would love to see our mosquito population knocked down to size. - Glenn Richards