The coldest air mass since 2010, maybe 2003, has arrived in The Sunshine State.
A few showers will marked the arrival of the arctic front as it sweeps across the peninsula, followed by plunging temperatures and blustery winds Monday night, and capped off by possible record-setting temperatures Monday night, Tuesday, and Tuesday night.
A hard freeze is likely Tuesday and Wednesday morning in much of North Florida, and wind chills could dip into the single digits Tuesday morning in the panhandle.
Central and South Florida won’t be spared the cold weather either, as temperatures fall to near freezing all the way to I-4, and to the 30s deep into the Everglades by Wednesday morning.
HARD FREEZE WARNING FOR ALL OF NORTH FLORIDA
North winds will continue to push in the frigid air Monday Night, with a hard freeze likely in all inland areas of the state north of the I-4 corridor.
Temperatures along both coasts will also be below freezing for several hours by Tuesday morning. A “hard freeze” is defined by temperatures below 27° for a period of more than two hours. Cities such as Gainesville, Ocala, Jacksonville, and the entire panhandle will actually meet this criteria for at least six straight hours, likely falling below 27 around midnight Tuesday and not rising back above that number until after sunrise later that morning.
The following is a safety checklist for residents and business owners to consider by sundown Monday:
- Pets should be brought inside if at all possible.
- Exposed pipes should be insulated with a blanket or sheet.
- Water should be left dripping in faucets to prevent freezing underground.
- Space heaters should not be left unattended and positioned least two feet from any objects on all sides.
- The elderly and young children should not venture out without the proper protection from the cold. Tuesday morning’s wind chills could cause hypothermia or frostbite if exposed for more than 30 minutes.
- Plants, flowers, and any vegetation sensitive to cold should be brought indoors, covered securely, or insulated by water.
DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS TUESDAY MORNING
Wind chills in the single digits and teens are even cold for Midwestern residents, but to Floridians this will be shocking.
The combination of wind and temperature makes this cold snap especially brutal. The coldest wind chills Tuesday morning will occur around the morning commute time and will likely range from 5 to 15 north of I-4 and in the panhandle.
Daytime highs Tuesday will struggle to get out of the 30s in these areas, where record cold daytime highs are in jeopardy as well. This will truly be an unusual experience for all Floridians, something that only happens once a decade on average.
You can follow Jeff Huffman on Twitter @huffmanweather.