The cold front we’ve been tracking for days will arrive on schedule tonight. Over 300 reports of wind damage have already been reported along its trip through central part of the country, with dozens more likely today in the Mid-South and Southeast. As we mentioned yesterday, North-Central Florida will once again will miss the brunt of the adverse weather and only experience minimal impacts compared to our friends to the north. However, the potential for some minor wind damage should not be overlooked, and that’s where we will start our tracking.
WIND GUSTS COULD CAUSE MINOR DAMAGE
A WIND ADVISORY continues for Alachua County (and points north and west) through 8pm. Winds are expected to increase out of the south this afternoon, and at times gust as high as 35 mph. A wind of this speed can pick up light-weight lawn furniture or blow over empty trashcans. Residents should take a few minutes and secure these items before they leave for work or school today. Motorists are also urged to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, especially on east-west highways where there will be a disturbing cross-wind at times. When the cold front and band of rain (described below) arrives this evening (between 8 and 11pm), a brief wind gust to 50mph is possible, which would be strong enough to knock down some tree branches and maybe even a cause a minor power outage. We’ll keep you updated on the potential for strong, gusty winds this evening on WRUF-TV and on Twitter @GatorWeather.
BRIEF DOWNPOUR LIKELY 8 TO 11PM
Gainesville has a January rainfall deficit of over 2.7 inches, and this front will likely leave much more to be desired by area farmers and agriculture enthusiasts. The fast movement of this weather system, combined with waning upper-level support, will lead to only minor amounts of rainfall across much of North-Central Florida, likely all occurring between the hours of 8 and 11pm. Rainfall accumulations Wednesday night will range from 0.1 to 0.5 of an inch, with the highest amounts occurring near the I-10 corridor where a few thunderstorms are more likely to increase rainfall rates.
TEMPERATURES TUMBLE; WINDS MAKE IT FEEL COLDER
It will feel nearly 40 degrees cooler on Thursday morning in the wake of the aforementioned front. The most notable change will be in the morning as wind chills dip to near 40 by daybreak. Temperatures will then struggle to rebound to near 60 by late afternoon under a mostly sunny sky, but a persistent breeze out of the northwest will keep wind chills in the 50s all day. Thursday night will also be quite chilly as overnight lows dip into the middle 30s. The cooler air with this system, however, won’t come all at once. A reinforcing shot of Canadian air will arrive with a stronger ridge of high pressure Friday night and Saturday, likely driving overnight lows close to the freezing mark over the weekend and keeping daytime highs in the lower 60′s, which is a few degrees below the normal numbers for early February. At this time, we do NOT feel a hard freeze is likely. However, scattered frost will be possible in many areas Friday and/or Saturday morning.