Coldest weather yet heads for area

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 11:21 p.m.
The coldest blast of weather this season will hit North Central Florida Thursday night, dropping temperatures to near 20 degrees, forecasters predicted Tuesday.
An Arctic air mass that took temperatures below zero in the northern states will reach North Florida Thursday, said Parks Camp, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
After a high temperature of only 48 Thursday, the mercury could drop to 20 degrees in Gainesville Thursday night and into Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
The record for Jan. 24 stands at 18 degrees, set in 1960.
And the freezing nights will continue through most of the weekend, with low temperatures of 25 degrees Friday night and 30 Saturday night.
High temperatures will remain frigid Friday, still not making it out of the 40s, forecasters said.
Watertown, N.Y., recorded a low Monday night of 30 below zero. Clayton Lake, Maine, had an afternoon temperature Tuesday of 7 below with a wind chill of 28 below zero. In northern New Hampshire, the Cannon Mountain ski area reported an afternoon wind chill was 60 below.
The highest temperature in the country was 84 in Leesburg.
There will be one last day of warm temperatures today before the cold front moves through, with a high of 68, winds of up to 20 mph and a good chance of showers.
Temperatures in Alachua County will begin a slow rebound Saturday, with highs in the mid-50s and then in the lower 60s Sunday. Low temperatures Sunday night will be in the upper 30s, according to the National Weather Service.
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at 338-3109 or ciotolk@ The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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