A hard freeze is expected Saturday night across North Florida and the Panhandle. (Courtesy of Florida Storms)

Low temperatures reach Florida this weekend, bringing a hard freeze to our area

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A hard freeze across North Florida and the Panhandle is expected Saturday night. Temperatures across Central and South Florida will be in the low 30s, the result of another winter cold front traversing the sunshine state.

Throughout the weekend, the low air pressure front off Florida’s Atlantic coast is expected to strengthen. The cold front is expected to first arrive at the Pensacola area early Friday evening. It will then travel through the Panhandle into North Florida overnight through Saturday morning. By late Saturday morning, the front is expected to move through Central Florida and clear South Florida.

Behind the cold front, an Arctic airmass should cause temperatures to plummet well below average levels. There will be strong winds across the state on Saturday afternoon and temperature highs could run 20 degrees below normal. High temperatures in the Panhandle are expected to peak in the upper 40s and low 50s. In Miami, highs might not reach 50 degrees.

By Saturday night, winds should calm over North Florida, which will set the stage for frigid low temperatures. In the Panhandle and North Florida, lows are expected to plummet to the mid or lower 20s. Should these temperatures persist for three or more hours, it will be considered a hard freeze. In Central Florida, lows on Sunday morning could drop to freezing while in South Florida, they will likely be in the upper 30s.

Some forecast models have also projected some rain. Observational data from Wednesday afternoon indicated limited moisture availability over the Panhandle and North Florida. The best chance for showers will be on Friday and Saturday over the Southern half of Florida.

On Sunday, temperatures should stay below normal, but a gradual warm-up is expected to ensue next week. By Tuesday, highs are forecasted to be in the 70s across the majority of the state.

About Megan Borowski - FPREN

Megan is a multimedia meteorologist with the UF Weather Center, the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, and the South Carolina Emergency Information Network.

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