Snow skips Gainesville, dusts Ocala


Ava Zacco, 5, made snow angels on her trampoline on Saturday in Ocala after the area received a dusting of snow.

Ashton McLeod/Special to The Sun
Published: Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 12:11 a.m.

Darn that dry air. It snowed in Ocala and other spots to the south of Gainesville Saturday morning, but here there was nary a flurry because of some relative aridness.

It was definitely cold enough to snow — temperatures were in the 30-degree range in the morning. But National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Peterson in Jacksonville said the snow and sleet that fell to our south was caused by moisture in an upper-level system that blew in from the Gulf of Mexico, and that system just didn't reach far enough north.

"There wasn't enough moisture. Areas south of Gainesville in the Ocala area had just enough moisture to have snow flurries," Peterson said. "There was some sleet and snow up there (in the sky over Alachua County), but it was so dry that it evaporated before it hit the ground."

Those who had snow in Ocala had some fun with it while it lasted — which wasn't very long.

Silver Springs Shores resident Sally Bunting went outside about 7:45 a.m. to discover an accumulation of snow by her van's windshield wipers and on the roof of her home.

"I took a little bit of snow off the hood of my husband's car and made a teeny tiny snowball, which he would not let me throw at him. I threw it at the house," said Bunting, who has lived in Alaska. "It was exciting. The last time I saw snow was several years ago on a visit up north."

The Marion County Sheriff's Office reported that Southwest 66th Street off Southwest 27th Avenue was closed Saturday between 8:45 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. due to an icy road.

Authorities closed the road after a pickup reportedly hit ice, lost control, slid off the north shoulder and down an embankment. A second vehicle lost control but didn't slip down the embankment. The portion of closed road included the overpass at Interstate 75 and State Road 200.

Meanwhile, sleet was reported in Brevard and Volusia counties, along with a mixture of rain. Even Naples, far to the south, had a few snow flurries.

After this initial cold blast, warmer weather is coming.

Low temperatures for North Central Florida will be in the low 20s Monday morning, warming to the low 30s Tuesday morning.

Today's high is forecast to be 45 degrees. Daytime readings will gradually climb into the 60s by Wednesday. Next Saturday's high is expected to be about 69 degrees.

Peterson said, however, that the outlook for the next 90 days is for conditions to be colder and wetter than usual.

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