JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We were under a Weather Authority Alert through 8 p.m. because of a line of strong storms that moved quickly across our area.
The showers and thunderstorms began to move into our inland areas, from Waycross to Lake City around 4 p.m. Just before 5 p.m., Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were up for Clinch and Columbia counties. As the rain pushed through, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam St. Johns, Camden and Glynn were under Severe Thunderstorm Warnings until 7:30 p.m.
The primary concern with the storms on Christmas Eve was the potential for damaging wind gusts of 30 mph or more -- a wind gust was measured at 54 mph at NAS Jacksonville. This could knock down dead or weak trees and limbs and cause minor structural damage. Power outages will be isolated. The greatest threat for damaging wind gusts lies within the initial line of storms, the showers that follow will be less intense.
Good news: The storms will not affect Santa’s rounds. His sleigh encounters far higher winds when crossing the Swiss Alps and most of the rain will be offshore by the time he makes it to us.
The cold front behind the storms will push through and clear our skies out and significantly lower our temperatures, we are waking up around freezing Christmas morning and expecting a widespread freeze Christmas night with temperatures in the upper 20s by sunrise Saturday.
This will be the coldest Christmas that we’ve seen since 2004, according to meteorologist Mark Collins.