Slight chance of snow; definite hard freeze

By Blake Mathews, Weather producer, meteorologist, bmathews@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 15 2013 05:31:47 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 16 2013 08:29:30 AM EST

Weather Authority Alert Day on Saturday due to arctic front passing, chance of snow or sleet.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

An arctic front will blow through our region Saturday afternoon that will usher in the coldest air of the winter season.

Because of the dramatic temperature drop on Saturday night -- and very, very small chance of snow as the front passes -- Channel 4's meteorologists have declared a Weather Authority Alert Day.

The National Weather Service has issued a hard freeze warning from 2 to 9 a.m. Sunday, for nearly the entire viewing area. Overnight lows will plunge into the low and mid 20s for many of us. Even out at the beaches temperatures will drop below freezing. 

Sunday morning low temperatures Overnight lows (forecast temperatures, right) will remain below freezing for up to 12 hours for our inland locations. Therefore all tender plants will need to be brought inside or wrapped in cloth. All pets will need to be brought in or given warm shelter. Exposed pipes, especially in southeast Georgia or along the I-75 corridor will need to be wrapped. This includes back flow preventers on sprinkler systems.

A northwest wind of between 10 and 20 mph will make it feel like it's in the low 20s overnight, and a wind child warning is in effect from 11 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.

If you are running the 26.2 With Donna Marathon, temperatures will be hovering between 30 and 32 degrees under crystal clear skies. Temperatures will slowly warm into the mid and upper 40s by late morning. Mittens, scarfs and jackets will certainly be needed throughout the morning and afternoon.

As for the snow chances, don't hold your breath. 

Snow is an exceedingly rare event across northern Florida. To give you an idea, there have only been four accumulating snowfalls in Jacksonville in the last 161 years -- the most recent in December 1998. The last time snow fell but didn't accumulate was on Dec. 26, 2010.

The arctic front will move through bringing with it a line of showers -- mid-afternoon in southeast Georgia and late afternoon in the greater Jacksonville area. The temperature drop behind the front will be immediate and dramatic.   If there is any rain left behind the front, it may change over to sleet or even few wet flakes to mix before the drier air moves in and the precipitation is shut down.

Any change over to frozen precipitation will be brief and will only last a few minutes.

Snow is an exceedingly rare event across northern Florida. To give you an idea, there have only been four accumulating snowfalls in Jacksonville in the last 161 years -- the most recent in December 1998. The last time snow fell but didn't accumulate was on Dec. 26, 2010.

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