Miamians take pride in being able to shrug off levels of summer heat that border on nuclear radiation. We regularly debate which windshield sun shades work best to keep our cars from baking while parked outdoors in July. It's not uncommon to see people jogging in hoodies in 90-plus-degree heat as if it were winter.
But we don't mess with the cold. And tonight, thanks to the insane "bomb cyclone" transforming the rest of the United States into a frozen tundra, the National Weather Service has officially issued a "frost advisory" for parts of South Florida tonight, meaning actual ice crystals are expected to form in Western portions of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Frost isn't expected in coastal areas such as the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, but western areas, such as Homestead, Kendall, and Wellington, should perhaps stock up on extra blankets and take measures to protect their outdoor foliage.
"A frost advisory means that widespread frost is expected," the NWS announced after 10 a.m. today. "Sensitive outdoor plants may be killed if left uncovered." The agency says low temperatures could hit 33 to 36 degrees. Coastal areas in Palm Beach and Broward Counties are also under a wind-chill advisory, and a rip-current warning is in effect along the Miami-Dade coastline.
In perhaps worse news, the western, agricultural areas of Palm Beach County near Lake Okeechobee have been issued a full-on "freeze warning," as have most of the other farming-heavy counties around Lake O. The NWS is begging people in those counties to take outdoor pets and livestock inside and prepare warm-weather plants for an extremely rough night.
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"These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation," the agency warned.
The polar plunge comes days after Miami wrapped up one of the most insane weather years: The area got walloped by Hurricane Irma at the tail end of its hottest summer in history. July 2017 was the hottest single month in Miami-Dade history, and the area eclipsed its yearly record for the most 80-plus-degree days. Thanks to climate change, this year also tied 2015's record for
Yesterday it snowed in Tallahassee for the first time in almost 30 years, and it might freeze in sunny Miami overnight.
For people who grew up north of the Florida-Georgia line, a frost advisory doesn't sound like much. Just be sure to protect your pets and plants. According to the Miami Herald, multiple South Florida counties are working to open more homeless shelters this week. The frost advisory has been issued from midnight until 9 a.m. Friday.