There is an addition I’d like to add to Ben’s excellent E-mail below, that is any water on roadways is going to freeze tonight and from past experience with the cold waves that will include cracked irrigation systems near the (major) roadways. I am not sure what can be done to turn some of these off, if anything, but anybody dealing with transportation will want to be aware of this possibility. Roadways (especially higher speed urbanized roadways) may go from clear to ice covered in a very short distance where these systems have either been turned on to protect vegetation or may have broken. The most likely time for this to occur will be after midnight and through the morning commute in most areas.
Al Sandrik (Warning Coordination Meteorologist)
An arctic cold front is charging eastward through southeast Georgia and the Suwannee Valley early this morning. This front will blast through the rest of our area this morning, accompanied by scattered showers. In the wake of the front, the coldest air in several years will plunge into our region. Morning high temperatures mainly in the 50s and 60s will fall into the 40s this afternoon as northwesterly winds abruptly increase to 15-25 mph with higher gusts. Lake Wind Advisories have been posted for all of our region through at least the early evening hours tonight.
The coldest weather of this outbreak will occur tonight and Tuesday morning, with low temperatures in the teens across inland locations, with low/mid 20s for north central Florida and along the immediate coast. A hard freeze warning is in effect tonight through Tuesday morning, with 6 to 12 hours of hard freeze conditions (temperatures 27 degrees or lower) possible. In addition, brisk northwest winds near 15 mph, with occasional higher gusts, will drive wind chill readings during the predawn hours on Tuesday down to near zero in inland southeast Georgia, with single digits expected elsewhere inland and 10-15 degrees closer to the coast. A wind chill warning has been posted from the overnight hours tonight through the mid-morning hours on Tuesday throughout our region.
Not much of a warm-up is expected Tuesday, with high temperatures only reaching 35-40 degrees. Northwest to northerly winds will remain in the 10-15 mph range, keeping wind chill values in the 20s and 30s all day. Another hard freeze is expected Tuesday night for inland locations, with lows in the upper teens to lower 20s. Locations closer to the coast will experience a light freeze, with lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s. A hard freeze watch will likely be posted later today for all inland areas for this expected event on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
By Wednesday afternoon, temperatures will finally begin to warm into the 50s and lower 60s across north central Florida. A warming is then is store for the rest of the week.
In addition to the very cold temperatures and wind chill readings, conditions across the coastal waters will worsen. There is a Gale Warning hoisted for the offshore coastal waters beginning at 10 AM this morning through 6 AM Tuesday morning, and a Small Craft Advisory is in effect for the near shore waters through 9 AM Tuesday.
– These low wind chills may result in frostbite to exposed skin, and will lead to hypothermia with more prolonged exposure.
– An extended period of hard freeze conditions may cause exposed water pipes to burst. These conditions are also potentially hazardous to sensitive vegetation, people (especially children and the elderly) as well as pets.
– Residents and businesses should practice fire safety and be sure to use safe sources of indoor heat.