Badgers football: Leave parkas at home when heading to the Orange Bowl

December 18, 2017 GMT

It’s the kind of tweet from the National Weather Service in Miami that leaves people living in frigid Wisconsin dripping with jealousy.

“Miami dropped below 50 degrees (on Dec. 12) for the first time since Jan. 24, 2016!” the tweet brags. “That’s 687 days in a row above 50, the longest streak ever in Miami.”

The high in Madison that day was 21.

With highs normally in the upper 70s to low 80s in late December, Wisconsin Badgers football fans will be dumping coats, boots and caps for flip-flops, tropical shirts and big hats once off the plane in Miami, heading to the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

The night game against the Miami Hurricanes will be at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on the far north side of Miami-Dade County and about 12 miles from iconic South Beach.

At night, it could drop into the 50s in South Florida, or (gasp!) the upper 40s.

Larry Wahl, Orange Bowl vice president of communications, said this is the time of year when the weather in South Florida is great.

“It’s cool at night and there isn’t the oppressive humidity during the day like you see in summer,” Wahl said. “I haven’t had to use my air conditioning for about a week.”

Winter in South Florida is usually very nice, and this winter is shaping up to be a good one.

“This is why the snowbirds come down,” said meteorologist Andrew Hagen of the Miami office of the National Weather Service. “Leave the winter parkas at home.”

Statistics don’t lie, especially those kept by the Weather Service. The hottest Dec. 30 in Miami was in 2015 when the thermometer hit 84 and there have been three readings of 89 in Miami in December.

Hagen said the long-range forecast for Miami, between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5, calls for temperatures to be a little warmer than average and chances for rain a little below average.

It hardly rains in winter anyway in Miami, unlike summer when afternoon thunderstorms are common.

“Nine out of 10 days there will be no rain,” Hagen said.

For those making their first trip from the frozen tundra to Miami, there are many things to do besides go to the bowl game, from South Beach to the Everglades.

“Great golfing, cruises, the zoo and Seaquarium, and tours of the Everglades,” Wahl said. He also clicked off great restaurants and clubs, music, shopping and all that’s Miami.

“The (football players) will have a good time,” Wahl said. “We have a beach party for each team, a dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse, the coaches luncheon and plenty of gifts.”

Hagen said bring sunscreen when heading to the beach, since there’s hardly been a cloud in the sky in recent days.

“The beaches are very crowded when the weather is good,” Hagen said. “Plus this is winter break time for many colleges so the kids will go to the beach, and we get people from all over the world coming here.”

As far as attire, dress like it’s early summer in Wisconsin.

“I had to wear a light jacket with my shorts and flip-flops this morning,” Wahl said with a chuckle.