Freezing weather ahead for area

Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Although North Central Florida escaped wicked weather that spawned tornadoes in the Panhandle Friday, freezing temperatures are expected to move through the area on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
The area was under a tornado watch until late Friday, but there were no reports of twisters or hail, said Phil Peterson, a forecaster with the weather service.
A cold front from the northwest is expected to bring a chilly Canadian air mass and windy weather through the area today with a high near 54 degrees, Peterson said. Winds between 17 and 23 mph were forecast for today and 5 to 10 mph on Sunday, Peterson said.
No severe storms are expected this weekend, but the area will likely see freezing temperatures in the upper 20s early Sunday morning. Conditions are expected to warm up Sunday to the low 60s. The wind chill, or what the temperature feels like with a combination of the wind and temperature, early Sunday could dip to between 23 to 28 degrees.
In Baker County on Friday, a tornado tore a section of roof from a school, causing minor injuries to 13 children as a series of storms moved through the Panhandle on Friday.
The National Weather Service in Mobile, Ala., said the storms damaged a post office and several mobile homes in Baker, about 50 miles northeast of Pensacola. Homes also were damaged in the Milton area. Trees were reported down in other sections of Okaloosa County.
"There was quite a bit of damage," said meteorologist Gary Beeler.
Beeler said golf ball-sized hail fell at Perdido Key beach on the Alabama-Florida state line.
Ken Wolf, emergency management director for Okaloosa County, said the only injuries occurred at the Baker School, which houses 1,363 kindergarten through 12th-grade students. The children had minor cuts and bruises and were treated at the scene, he said.
Neighboring Santa Rosa County also reported tornado damage to nine homes and minor injuries to some residents.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or

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