winter weather

AccuWeather

It doesn’t happen very often, but the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama could get a taste of Old Man Winter this weekend, as parts further north get hit even harder.

Meteorologists are watching a cold front, part of Winter Storm Helena, that’s forecast to ride the Jet Stream to the South and East later this week, bringing with it a massive amount of cold air.

“[It] will be accompanied by a pretty good chance of precipitation along with it, that we’ll be continuing to monitor over the next couple of days,” says Cody Lindsey at the National Weather Service in Mobile.

Most of the United States, including Florida, is now subject to the coldest and most widespread blast of arctic air so far this season. Preparations are being made-- or should be.

The Jet Stream, that upper-level river of air on which storms travel, is dropping to the south and bringing Arctic air with it.

“We’ve pretty much had a cold front that’s going through the area [Thursday], and we’re looking at a freeze across the whole area, even down to the coast,” said Don Shepherd, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mobile.

N. Tackaberry

It’s back into the deep freeze for northwest Florida and south Alabama, as another round of frigid weather is on tap this week. But this time, there’s a little extra.

Here’s something you don’t hear every day: the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the Gulf Coast, including Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties. Forecasters say a mix of freezing rain and snow is expected Tuesday through Wednesday.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Nework

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.