Winter officially begins at 6:12 am on Friday. And it’s literally just a few hours before this moment that a major cold front will blow through North-Central Florida, welcoming in the coldest air we have seen so far this season. So cold that a hard freeze and killing frost is likely over the weekend.
It might be hard to imagine that a freeze is likely soon after we see the mercury climb close to the 80-degree mark on Thursday. This will be thanks to strong southwest winds developing ahead of the front, pulling up a warmer and more humid air mass from south Florida. The front is expected to rapidly push through Thursday late evening, shifting winds to the Northwest, pushing much colder air in to the area. Highs on Friday will be nearly 25 degrees colder, with temperatures not even getting out of the mid-50’s. Gusty winds from the northwest at 10 to 20 mph will make it feel like the 40s nearly all day.
Crank up the furnace and break out those electric blankets! Cold air will continue to pour into The Sunshine State Friday night, with our first hard freeze of the season likely. Temperatures will plummet into the upper 20’s, right around 28 in Gainesville, by daybreak Saturday morning. A hard freeze in Gainesville is typically a result of light winds, clear skies, and high pressure overhead. This will be an unusual event in that the winds never die down and the center of the high pressure will still be hundreds of miles away. It’s actually the wind that will aim the coldest air directly at us, causing the temperature to keep falling all night. This wind will make it feel even colder, with a frigid wind chills of near 20 possible Saturday morning. Residents should take action to protect vulnerable plants, pipes and pets. Strong winds will prevent frost from developing on Friday night or Saturday morning, but temperatures below freezing are expected for a period of 3 to 5 hours. There will be abundant sunshine Saturday, but it will still feel cool with a high of about 58. Sunday morning will be the coldest night of this spell, with a low around 27 expected. Frost is likely to widespread Sunday morning as winds diminish Saturday night.