Going to weather extremes


Bob Drinkwater returns from fishing for bass on Holden Pond at the public boat ramp at Holden Park off Southeast 75th Avenue on a warm, sunny day in Hawthorne on Tuesday.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 11:27 p.m.

After near-record high temperatures hit Gainesville on Tuesday, it's finally time to put away the flip-flops and dig out the coats. The cold weather is coming, and no one should be caught by surprise, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's gonna get cold because it is December," meteorologist Jason Hess said. "In fact, this is real close to normal for this time of year."

According to weather records maintained by the office in Jacksonville, the average first date for a freeze in Gainesville is Dec. 3. This year, the weather service has issued a freeze watch for late tonight into Thursday morning. A freeze watch means sub-freezing temperatures are expected for at least two hours. Hess said there was a 60 percent chance of freezing temperatures on Thursday morning.

A freeze watch is issued to alert residents to make plans to protect their plants, pets and pipes to protect them from the cold weather.

Hess said the freeze watch was issued because a cold front has begun to sweep across North Florida behind showers and thunderstorms. Once the rain clears out, North Florida will be left with cool, clear conditions at least through the weekend. The front arrived late Tuesday. After Tuesday's high in the mid-80s, expect temperatures to plummet. Today's high is expected to reach only into the low 60s, and the afternoon high temperature might not reach 60 on Thursday.

The colder weather will be stunning to some residents after near-record setting warm weather on Tuesday. According to the weather service, the highest temperature recorded under Tuesday's overcast skies in Gainesville was 85 degrees. The record high for the date was 86 degrees set in 1978, Hess said.

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