JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Get ready for a series of polar cold fronts that will put the breaks on typical Florida weather. In fact the only heat to be found will be from the warm embraces of your spouse by Valentines Day weekend.
Here's what we know:
A strong polar cold front is currently scheduled to move through our region on Thursday night. This cold front has its origins in Canada where current temperatures are ranging in the -30s to -40s, seen at right. Several pieces of that arctic cold will plunge well south into Florida by Friday night.
Despite bright sunshine, temperatures will remain stuck in the upper 40s to near 50 all day with a cold north wind as strong cold air advection (movement of cold from north to south) keeps our area refrigerated.
The first of the freezing temperatures are expected to arrive Friday night into the early morning hours of Saturday. This freeze will affect mainly areas west of I-95 and most of southeast Georgia. The beaches will likely escape freezing Friday night.
We'll see a slight reprieve in afternoon temperatures on Saturday with temperatures climbing in the upper 50s to near 60 degrees ahead of another even stronger cold front that will plunge our area into the deep freeze heading into Saturday night, Sunday, Sunday night and Monday night.
So far in Jacksonville, we have recorded eight freezes for the season. It is possible that we could record 50% of that total in just four days. Therefore all precautions to protect new or budding vegetation will be warranted by the end of the week.
However the latest computer model guidance has backed off the more extreme numbers (in the 20s) to a more tolerable lower 30s for many areas in Jacksonville.
Here's a general idea of what you can expect by region for overnight lows. Keep in mind that all of this is subject to change:
Temperatures here are likely to remain a few degrees warmer than surrounding areas due to the heat-island effect. It is possible that Jacksonville could record four back-to-back freezes in a row with the coldest temps settling in around 30 degrees. Temperatures in western Duval including Baldwin will likely drop to the mid 20s to upper 20s (26 to 28 degrees) while other areas near downtown will remain near 32. Areas near NAS Jacksonville, on the river, will likely hover around freezing. Hard freeze warnings are possible for areas west of I-95 with a freeze warning possible for areas east of I-95. All P's west of I-95 will need to be protected with areas east of I-95 needing to cover plants, protect pets and people. Pools and pipes should be okay.
Temperatures could be below freezing for five straight nights from Friday night to Tuesday night. The coldest morning here will be Sunday night into Monday morning where temperatures may plunge as low as the mid 20s (25-29 degrees). Hard freeze warnings are unlikely in this area because the National Weather Service does not issue freeze advisories after the first freeze of the year. All P's need to be protected including plants, pets, pipes, people and pools.
Inland Florida, including I-75 and Gainesville:
Our inland Florida zones could record four in a row from Friday night to Monday night. Temperatures from Lake City to Gainesville will likely be recorded in the upper 20s (26-29 degrees). Hard freeze watches are possible for these areas. All P's should be protected in these areas.
The beaches will likely escape all of the freezes coming by the weeks end. However, temperatures are still expected to drop into the middle 30s. We're continuing to monitor just how cold the air will be but freeze watches are possible heading into the weekend. The relatively warm Atlantic will insulate areas east of the Intercoastal just enough to keep you out of the freezing zone. Plants may need protecting a few of the nights but no other issues are expected for coastal regions. Of course, this is subject to change.
26.2 with Donna:
If you're planning on running the Donna on Sunday, the forecast has changed quite a bit since Tuesday. Still expect cold temperatures to dominate the forecast on Sunday but not as cold as previously thought. It'll be one of the colder Donna's we've seen in the last couple of years.
The marathon will kick off at 7:30 a.m. with temperatures in the mid 30s, climbing into the mid 40s by the afternoon. Either way, it's going to be cold. Here is the forecast, seen above, as it stands Tuesday. This will likely change so stay tuned!