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Freeze Warnings And Wind Chills Advisories Tonight For Northeast Florida

The coldest air mass of the winter season so far arrives tonight in Northeast Florida. A hard freeze is likely for all inland areas north of a line from Gainesville to Jacksonville, with subfreezing temperatures also expected overnight in rural areas as far south as the I-4 corridor. The arctic front responsible for the looming cold snap will be driven southward by blustery north winds that could gust as high as 25 to 35 mph in some areas. For this reason, Wind Advisories and Wind Chill Advisories are also in effect. The impact of the wind with the cold will cause wind chills (what if will feel like to exposed skin) to fall into the teens for nearly all of Northeast Florida by Thursday morning. Lowest wind chill values will range from 10 to 15 degrees near the I-10 corridor, to 15 to 25 degrees in areas further south such as Gainesville and St. Augustine.

The cold air continues to move in Thursday, offsetting a full day of sunshine and causing temperatures to struggle to reach the 40s by afternoon. In fact, many areas of Northeast Florida won't see the mercury climb above freezing until almost noon. Another light freeze is possible Thursday night, but by this time the winds will relax considerably and wind chills won't be as extreme. Residents of Northeast Florida, especially those who are sensitive to the extreme temperatures such as these, are encouraged to use caution and cover up all extremities if they must be outdoors Thursday morning for an extended period of time. Homeowners might also want to take a few minutes to cover up plants, cover up exposed outdoor pipes, and bring in their pets in preparation for tonight's arctic blast. A slow warming trend will commence on Friday and last into the weekend, with temperatures finally topping 60 degrees by Saturday afternoon.

Jeff Huffman is Chief Meteorologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In addition to his full-time position at the university's radio and television stations, WUFT-FM/TV and WRUF-TV, the latter of which he co-founded, Huffman also provides weather coverage to public radio stations throughout Florida