Cold snap strikes the city hardest


Published: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 4:09 a.m.
Alachua residents aren't imagining things when they feel a little warmer leaving the city limits.
The city is usually colder than the rest of Alachua County and is even colder than some cities to the north, said Larry Treadaway, director of Florida Automated Weather Network. He's not exactly sure why that's the case.
The observation comes from eight years of collecting data for the network, which provides weather information to farmers and others. The data comes from weather stations positioned in rural areas often not covered by the National Weather Service, he said.
"Their data tends to come from metropolitan areas," he said.
No matter where the data originated, it revealed freezing temperatures across the region. Temperatures were expected to dip as low as 26 degrees in some areas west of Gainesville on Saturday night, said Andrew Shashy, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
Highs could get into the upper 60s today and lows should be closer to the average of 42 degrees, he said. Temperatures could top 70 degrees in the days to follow.
"Things rebound quite a bit," he said. The freezing temperatures are especially of concern to farmers, who must worry about damage to their crops. Calls to the weather network rise as much as eight times during freezing temperatures, Treadaway said, to as many as 4,000 from the daily average of 500.
The network uses solar-powered stations to collect weather data and transmit it every 15 minutes to a computer in Gainesville.
There are 33 stations, including locations in Alachua, Bronson, Citra and Putnam Hall.
The stations measure air temperature, soil temperature, wind speed and direction, rainfall, relative humidity and other information.
Data from the stations is available by phone at (352) 846-3100 or (866) 754-5732 or on the network Web site at fawn.ifas.ufl.edu.
Nathan Crabbe can be reached at 352-338-3176 or crabben@ gvillesun.com

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