Get ready: Hard freeze expected overnight


Published: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Watch over the pets, plants and pipes tonight: Gainesville is having a hard freeze.

Facts

Area forecast

  • TODAY: Low temperatures were expected to hit 30 degrees in the morning hours today, followed by a high temperature in the low 50s. Overnight temperatures may be as low as 24 degrees.
  • TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY: Lows expected in the 30s.
  • THURSDAY: A high near 71 and low around 55.

The temperature is expected to drop to as low as 24 degrees overnight, staying below freezing for eight to 12 hours. That means the conditions qualify as a hard freeze, said Jason Hess, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.

It will mark one of the few freezes this winter. While a typical winter has 15 days of freezing conditions, Hess said there were just two freezes in December and one in January before Sunday night.

"It's definitely well below where we should be at this time of year," he said.

A hard freeze can be a good thing by killing bugs and weeds, he said. But the weather service recommends keeping pets indoors, moving potted plants inside and covering exposed pipes during a freeze.

The cold conditions followed a storm that swept through Gainesville on Saturday night. Gainesville police reported scattered power outages at several locations, knocking out electricity to homes and a few traffic lights.

Hess said the storm had 30 to 40 mile-per-hour gusts and dropped three-tenths of an inch of rain.

Cold air came into the area in the wake of the storm. Low temperatures were expected to hit 30 degrees in the morning hours today, followed by a high temperature in the low 50s.

The normal high is 67 degrees and the low 43 degrees.

Tonight's temperature could near the record low for the day of 21 degrees, set in 1940. But it will be nowhere near the record low for the month of 10 degrees, set in 1985.

The weather service predicts temperatures will rise on Tuesday and Wednesday, with lows expected in the low-to-mid 30s. Then Thursday will bring a return to the warm winter, with a high near 71 and low around 55.

Gainesville's frosty temperatures this winter may be coming to an end soon. Hess said the last freeze of the season usually happens Feb. 12.

Nathan Crabbe can be reached at 338-3176 or crabben@ gvillesun.com.

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