Tuesday, December 7, 2010 (1 p.m.) Make sure you read this entire blog entry...CHANCES OF SLEET AND SNOW ON 2 OF THE NEXT 6 DAYS!!
It was like the Rockettes brought the cold weather with them from New York City and the kids were certainly dancing around at the bus stop to stay warm this morning! Lows dropped to 28 at Jacksonville to 32 at the beaches. The wind kept actual temperatures a little higher than expected but the wind chills more than made up for it with bone-chilling wind chills in the upper teens to lower 20s. Even at high noon we had wind chills feeling close to freezing! My daughter Lauren was excited about the cold so she could wear her new coat, gloves and hat. We went shopping last night just like everybody else and yes the cold taking hold was the talk of the town. She certainly always keeps the glass half full just like her Dad and wanted to know why she was seeing the frozen strawberries on television that you see below.
I explained to her that farmers water their crops to keep them warmer. The water gives off heat when it freezes and that coating of ice protects them like her coat not allowing the temperature to drop much below freezing. Now the good news is the billion dollar strawberry and orange crops made out well last night and tonight I am not expecting a hard freeze in the citrus belt of Florida. Now there is a chance of a bigger freeze next week so we are not out of the woods yet. What is a hard freeze? Well here is a quick explain er for you.
Most of us escaped the hard freeze last night and I think tonight will be the coldest night of this arctic blast number two with clear skies and lighter wind. A hard freeze means to protect your pets, plants, and PIPES! While there is no standard definition of a hard freeze, it is defined in most meteorological circles when the actual air temperature drops below 28 degrees for 4 or more hours. The ground underneath is literally frozen solid. Make sure you bring in all the potted poinsettia plants. These plants are native to Mexico. Although even in Mexico they are not doing to well. Cancun set a record low this morning of 54 degrees! Tonight bring in all your sensitive plants. I think we meet the hard freeze criteria tonight even by the river and most areas except for those right near the beach. Here are my forecast lows tonight. Yes Jacksonville will SMASH the old record low of 28 set back in 1959. I think the airport hits 21! Here are the other forecast lows from where you live.
Saint Simons Island 26
Downtown Jacksonville 26
Lake City 19
World Golf Village 24
St. Johns 23
Julington Creek 25
Fruit Cove 26
St. Augustine 27
Vilano Beach 30
Ponte Vedra/Palm Valley 27
Jacksonville Beach 29
St. Augustine Beach 30
Orange Park 26
University of North Florida 25
Yes, mocha cold is on the way! Hot chocolate can only do so much. You need to try a little peppermint mocha and that can spice things up. Or you can be crazy like me and run 10 miles like I will be doing on the beach. I thrive on extreme weather. Speaking of extreme weather this pattern is only going to get more interesting. Yes, our friends in Indiana and the Midwest are getting ready for a storm that will have cold, wind and snow. I think Lafayette will be sending us more snow pictures after they get another 6 to 8 inches of snow Saturday into Sunday. But in this extreme pattern, we could have actually have frozen precipitation here in Florida as early as Wednesday night and very early Thursday.
The latest models are showing snow flurries as far south as Louisiana tomorrow morning. This disturbance will cut across Florida by late tomorrow and tomorrow night. Right now it looks like the clouds will keep our low temperatures closer to 30 and even though the atmosphere is very dry, I cannot rule out a few sleet pellets. The chances right now are about 8% on one model and 12% on model #2. Areas in Putnam, St.Johns, Clay, Bradford, Union, and Flagler Counties would have the best chance of seeing any frozen precipitation. Keep in mind none of the models are showing any accumulations for us in the entire viewing area, but I do not trust them and do not be surprised. You were warned first here on the weather blog. This is not going to be a huge event and I am not calling for trouble on area roadways... it would be the equivalent of calling for sprinkles, but again whenever ice falls from the sky in Florida IT IS A BIG DEAL.
ARCTIC BLAST #3 and SNOW CHANCES FOR JACKSONVILLE NEXT WEEK: This pattern is only getting more interesting with next week highs struggling to near 40 on Monday and there will not be a chance of sleet but maybe a FEW SNOW FLURRIES....the chances of this frozen precipitation even happening are much higher! I would put this at 30% and it would be early Monday...this includes the entire Jacksonville area. Stay warm, stay safe and keep checking back with your First Coast weather team on and off the air.