Finally, rains douse Gainesville
The area will see noticeably cooler weather this weekend as a front moves through.
Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.
Rain soaked North Central Florida on Wednesday afternoon and evening, but most area counties that have burn bans in effect plan to keep them in place.
National Weather Service forecast for Gainesville
Thursday: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 61. West wind between 8 and 13 mph.
Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 35. West wind between 5 and 8 mph.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 61. Breezy, with a west wind 5 to 8 mph increasing to between 15 and 18 mph. Winds could gust as high as 32 mph.
Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 34.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 59.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 33.
Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 61.
Sunday night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43.
Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 67.
Alachua County let its ban lapse Tuesday, saying the expected rain and stabilized conditions for wildfires warranted the move.
But on Wednesday, emergency management officials in other counties said they plan to keep their bans in place.
"It has been quite successful for us as far as cutting down on problems," said Ron Mills, Gilchrist County's emergency management director. "We had only 11 calls over the weekend on somebody violating the ban for one reason or another — all of them misunderstandings or that no one had told them."
Bradford and Putnam counties also plan to keep their bans until they are scheduled to expire and then will evaluate whether extensions are needed, officials in those counties said.
Mills said Gilchrist County has large wooded expanses and that the ban is a hardship on people who need to burn waste wood and other debris. But he said residents understand the severity of the drought and the need for a ban.
The front that moved across North Central Florida Wednesday brought nearly half an inch of rain as of 5 p.m at Gainesville Regional Airport. The front will usher in cooler weather that might include light freezes in Gainesville and surrounding areas over the weekend.
Skies are expected to begin clearing this morning, and by Friday look for lots of sunshine, cool breezes and day time highs in the low 60s. Light freezes are expected early Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The cooler weather will move out on Sunday night, leaving North Florida with at least a few days of dry, sunny weather, with highs around 70 degrees.