The winds you felt today in north Florida, gusting at times to 25 mph, are pushing in the coldest air of the fall season (so far) tonight. However, those same winds will likely be the saving grace that keeps most locations well above the freezing mark on the thermometer. Wind chills (what it feels like when you factor in the wind), though, will be literally “freezing” by morning in many areas.
Freeze warnings are in effect for Suwannee and Columbia counties in North Florida, but WRUF Weather does not anticipate widespread freezing temperatures in these areas. However, the northern parts of these counties, along with sheltered locations from the wind (also in parts of Gilchrist and Lafayette counties) might experience an hour or two near-freezing temperatures by morning. Residents in the aforementioned locations are encouraged to cover or bring plants inside to prevent damage. Elsewhere, a light north breeze will keep the air mixed (moving) and likely prevent a temperature drop to the freezing mark.
HOUR-BY-HOUR WIND CHILL
The same winds that will likely prevent a freeze will still leave their mark. The wind chill is a factor that is used to calculate how cold the wind feels to exposed skin at low temperatures. Current forecast data suggests that a prolonged period of near-freezing (32°) wind chills can be expected in most areas of North-Central Florida overnight. A persistent north breeze at around 10 mph is to thank for the frigid numbers. Temperatures will be rebounding quickly on Thursday, thanks to abundant sunshine and a lighter wind, to near 70 by afternoon.