Time to bundle up

Temperature may dip into 20s Thursday morning

A brown pelican, perched on a pole on Dock Street in Cedar Key, has his feathers ruffled by the incoming offshore winds, gusting up to 20 mph, accompanying the cold front entering North Central Florida on Tuesday evening.

ICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 1:09 a.m.
Those who enjoyed last weekend's sunny, balmy weather will have to wait at least until Friday to see more of the same.
Early this morning, temperatures were expected to fall into the lower 30s in the Gainesville area, and it's expected to get even colder early Thursday morning, with temperatures possibly moving down into the mid- to upper-20s.
Forecasters with National Weather Service issued a freeze watch for Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Marion and Putnam counties Tuesday for early Thursday morning and expect to upgrade it to a freeze warning today, said Phil Peterson, a National Weather Service forecaster in Jacksonville. They recommend that people protect tender vegetation, outdoor pets and exposed water pipes, he said.
"People should take any preparations for all things that are susceptible to the cold," Peterson said.
The high today is expected to be about 55.
Temperatures should begin to rise on Friday, with forecasters expecting a high in the mid- to upper-60s and a small chance of rain, Peterson said. Saturday morning lows are expected to reach the lower 40s.
The warm weather will continue into the weekend with highs expected in the upper 60s and lows in the 40s, he said.
"This time of year it's pretty common to have these cold snaps," Peterson said.
Judy Brown, manager of Garden Gate Nursery, 2406 NW 43rd St., said tonight employees will be bringing inside all tropical vegetation or plants that could be burned by the frost, and they will be covering flowering and young citrus plants.
Temperatures were not expected to drop low enough this morning to worry Brown, but she said it is very important for her to take precautions tonight because just a little frost can damage the appearance of many of her plants.
She recommended that area residents also take steps tonight to protect their garden and potted plants. She said vegetation should be helped out by rains from earlier this week. Plants do better in freezing conditions when they are well watered and not stressed from bad weather, she said.

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