The coldest temperatures of the winter season so far are expected for central and south Florida tonight, where most inland and rural areas as far south as Lake Okeechobee could see frost or subfreezing temperatures. While the air mass won’t be as cold as the one last week for North Florida, conditions are ideal for a widespread frost and inland freeze north of I-4 as well. Residents and farmers should take action now to prevent damage to tender vegetation and pets sensitive to the cold.
In the wake of last night’s cold front, ideal conditions exist tonight for maximum radiation cooling. Winds are expected to diminish, skies will be clear, and the air pressure will be high. These conditions allow warmth to radiate back into the atmosphere very quickly and temperatures will cool to near or below freezing before sunrise where there is not the warming influence of a city or the ocean. The duration of tonight’s freeze will range from about six hours in north Florida to around 2 hours in central and south Florida. The aforementioned conditions, combined with just enough moisture near the ground, will also lead to a widespread frost for any location where the thermometer dips below 35°F.
The air mass is forecast to warm quickly Friday, ahead of another cold front that will reinforce the cold air again Friday night and Saturday. At this time, forecast data suggests subfreezing temperatures are again possible for central and north Florida (mainly north of I-4) both Saturday and Sunday morning. A more significant warming trend will commence on Sunday, and temperatures will likely return to normal values for this time of year by early next week.