Approaching Arctic air to drop temperatures to 20s

Brendan Hamilton, 4, is pushed up a hill by his dad, Matt, with mom, Melissa, as they take a bike ride on the Hawthorne Trail in Gainesville.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Su
Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 8:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 8:59 p.m.

The season's first major freeze is expected at daybreak Tuesday, leaving behind a temperate December and forcing parents to retrieve winter jackets for students heading back to school after the holiday break.

A blast of Arctic air will begin arriving Monday, with temperatures barely making it to 60 degrees Monday afternoon. The reality of winter will continue through Thursday morning.

Tuesday's daybreak low is expected to be in the mid-20s, with an afternoon high temperature only reaching the upper 40s. Wednesday's daybreak low is expected to be 22 degrees — 20 degrees below the 30-year average.

“It's going to be cold,” said Matt Zibura, a National Weather Service forecaster in Jacksonville.

And with the wind predicted to be howling up to 16 mph, Zibura said that Tuesday will be an absolutely bone-chilling day — a shock to area residents who just experienced a temperate holiday season.

December's average daily temperature was 60.5 degrees, 4.3 degrees above the 30-year average. December's average low temperature was 48.1 degrees, 3.7 degrees above average.

Zibura said Wednesday's afternoon high is expected to reach only the mid-50s. The average high this time of year is 66 degrees. Zibura said after Wednesday's frigid morning, there should be a warming trend.

The daybreak lows for the rest of week: Thursday, low 30s; Friday, upper 30s; and Saturday, low to mid 40s. The high temperatures should be back to near 70 degrees by Saturday.

The county's official forecast is issued by the National Weather Service, while the Sun's weather page uses AccuWeather forecasts. Sometimes those predictions differ.

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