Season's coldest wintry weather rolling in
Published: Friday, January 6, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 6, 2006 at 12:25 a.m.
Get ready to feel winter in North Central Florida this weekend.
A cold front sweeping in from the north is expected to make temperatures dip down to 27 degrees early Saturday morning, plunging the area and half of the state into a hard freeze.
State weather officials said it is the coldest weather to hit Florida this season. The freeze line was expected to dip below the Interstate 4 corridor Saturday morning, and patchy frost is forecasted over parts of inland South Florida early Sunday, weather officials said.
Today, forecasts call for a high around 53 degrees with partly cloudy skies and winds between 15 to 20 mph, making daytime temperatures feel like the 40s, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
A wind chill between 21 and 28 degrees is expected Saturday mid-morning with winds between 7 to 13 mph during the day, said Parks Camp, a forecaster with the NWS in Jacksonville.
The approaching cold weather has some farmers slightly worried about their crops. But others say if the hard freeze claims their crops, there's little they can do about it.
Curtis Davis, co-owner of Davis Bros. Farms 10 miles north of Alachua, said most of his crops should withstand the freezing temperatures. Davis said he doesn't plan on covering his broccoli, cabbage, turnips and mustard greens in advance of the chilly weather.
"These are winter cash crops," Davis said. "These crops will stand it pretty good as long as it doesn't stay in the 20s for more than eight hours."
But if the freezing temperatures hold for longer than he expects, Davis said he'll have to cut his losses and start all over.
"You can't help it," Davis said of the weather. "The broccoli and the cabbage should do fine, but I've lost the mustard greens before."
The cold weather is a stark contrast to the torrential rains that slammed the area earlier this week. Camp said it will be a long time before the area sees rain again, and that January is typically the coldest month of winter.
The temperatures, however, will have to dip a lot lower to beat the all-time record low for this month, Camp said. The lowest recorded temperature in Gainesville was an icy 10 degrees on Jan. 21, 1985, Camp said.
Camp advises area residents to mind the five P's of cold weather safety: Protect people, protect plants, protect pets, protect exposed pipes and practice fire safety. He added that since 27 degrees is the threshold at which exposed outdoor pipes are prone to freezing that people should insulate their pipes in order to avoid any problems.
The chill of Saturday's wintry temperatures will be repeated Sunday morning, with an expected low of 30. Then things will begin warming up Sunday afternoon and into next week with daytime highs hitting the upper 60s and lower 70s, Camp said.
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or email@example.com.
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