Hard freeze, single-digit wind chills headed this way

Published: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9:05 p.m.

Hard freeze and wind chill alerts have been issued by the National Weather Service for Monday night’s extreme temperature plunge.

The Arctic breakout of frigid air that is sending the Midwest to possible record low temperatures will sweep its way into Florida Monday, leaving the region shivering as temperatures fall to the teens.

The counterclockwise-rotating mass of cold air will be pushed “along a very deep trough that is helping to funnel that cold air south,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Shashy in Jacksonville.

Because of a relatively calm atmosphere, the frigid air will make its way all the way into South Florida, Shashy said on Sunday.

Monday morning, with highs reaching 61 degrees, will be the high point of the day. “When you wake up, it will actually be the warmest,” NWS meteorological intern Kate Guillet said.

As temperatures drop during the day, the hard freeze warning will take effect from 9 Monday night until 11 a.m. Tuesday, the NWS said. Lows are expected to fall to 19 degrees overnight.

The record low temperature for Jan. 6 in Alachua County is 19 degrees in 1999, according to the NWS. The record low for Jan. 7 is 21 set in 2010.

Factor in the icy winds and temperatures will feel like they are in the single digits, Guillet said.

The wind chill watch will remain in effect through Tuesday morning with wind chill values as low as 5 degrees for most of Northeast Florida.

The NWS warned that low wind chills could lead to hypothermia or possibly death if precautions are not taken.

The NWS suggests that pets and sensitive plants stay indoors. Special care should be taken to protect the elderly, infants and those who are homeless as the combination of wind and cold temperatures could lead to hypothermia or frostbite.

Freezing temperatures will persist on Tuesday, with lows of 22 degrees and highs reaching only 40.

Wednesday will begin to warm up with mostly sunny skies and temperatures ranging from the high 50s to the low 40s.

A 20 percent chance of showers is expected Thursday. Highs will hit the low 70s and lows are expected to be in the low 50s.

Showers are expected on Friday and into the weekend. Temperatures will range from the mid-50s to the high 70s.

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