How hot will it get — and then how cold will it get? What the Florida forecast says

MATIAS J. OCNER/Miami Herald File

Florida is poised to go from hot to cold as if by the flick of a light switch.

On Wednesday and Thursday, look for seasonable South Florida temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s. But Friday’s high could climb to the mid-80s, said forecaster Shawn Bhatti at the National Weather Service in Miami.

Then break out the blankets. A cold front is coming.

The cold

“This front has a pretty good punch of cooler, drier air behind it this weekend, late Saturday and early Sunday morning,” Bhatti said. Saturday night should be in the low 60s. Sunday night drops temperatures to the low to upper 50s and upper 40s in interior regions and around Lake Okeechobee.

“Definitely not record cold but certainly it will be a little chilly, especially for South Florida standards,” Bhatti said.

The Florida Keys also will feel the chill, with temperatures dropping from highs of 79 on Saturday to a high of just 71 Sunday, with lows falling to about 63.

The cold front won’t linger as temperatures warm again at the start of the week through Tuesday. Look for upper 70s highs and upper 60s lows in South Florida as the winds veer to the southeast.

“That allows us to gradually warm up fairly quickly. Call it fortunate or unfortunate depending on how you look at it,” Bhatti said. “I like cooler weather. I’m from up north and it’s kind of a nice break. But some people don’t prefer it.”

The rain

The forecast includes some rain Saturday afternoon ahead of the front in South Florida — mostly showers but borderline on whether the region sees thunderstorms. The rain chance peaks at 40% Saturday and drops to 20% Sunday.

Isolated thunderstorms with lightning as the main threat could begin earlier in the Keys by Thursday across the Straits of Florida and the deep Gulf coastal waters, according to the weather service in Key West. The Keys’ rain chance jumps from 20% to 40% Saturday before returning to 20% Sunday.

Small craft advisories issued for Wednesday for the Keys likely will resume through Thursday and again on Saturday afternoon, according to the service.

Rip currents

A risk for dangerous rip currents at coastal Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach beaches is in effect through Friday evening, the weather service announced Wednesday.

Given the warm and mostly clear skies, you may be inclined to hit the beach before the brief cold front. Heed these familiar tips from the weather service on how to deal with rip currents:

Swim near a lifeguard.

Relax and float if caught in a rip current. Don’t swim against the current. If you’re able, swim in a direction following the shoreline.

Face the shore and call or wave for help if you’re caught and can’t escape the pull of the waters.

Other parts of Florida

Taking a Florida road trip this weekend? Here’s what to know about some destinations.

Bradenton, Tampa Bay area: Friday high of 81 degrees and low of 61. The cooler air moves in Saturday, boosting rain chances to 40%. Saturday high of 71 and low of 52. Sunday high of 66 and low of 49. Sunny and breezy Sunday into the work week as temperatures begin to go up to 72 Monday with a low around 54 and a high of 79 Tuesday. Friday night has the highest rain chance at 40%, dropping to 30% Saturday.

Orlando: A hot Friday at 86 degrees and 30% rain chance. The front arrives Saturday with a 40% rain chance. The high should only reach about 69 Saturday and 64 Sunday. Both weekend days should see a low of 46.

Gainesville: A Friday high of 81 and low of 53. Saturday temperatures range from a high around 60 to a low of 40 and a 50% rain chance. Sunday should range from a high of 62 to a low of 38 with bright, breezy skies before the resuming warm trend into Tuesday when the forecast calls for a high of 78.

Tallahassee: Temperatures are warm, in the upper 70s Wednesday and Thursday, but by Friday rain moves in, at an 80% chance, and the temperatures slide. Florida’s capital city will reach about 71 Friday and drop to 49 Friday night. Saturday and Sunday highs will be in the upper 50s with lows dipping to 40.