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Much Colder Air May Bring Record Lows Late This Week

A strong cold front is about to make a clean sweep of the Sunshine state, bringing much colder temperatures along with it. The chilly change may be record-setting in a few places.

A line of showers and thunderstorms that is expected over the western Panhandle Wednesday evening may produce a few instances of damaging wind. The energy fueling those storms is expected to lift away from Florida, so the storms are expected to weaken considerably later Wednesday night before they reach the Florida Peninsula.

The cold front itself is on track to clear the I-4 corridor first thing Thursday morning and pass South Florida Thursday evening. High temperatures Thursday are forecast to range between 15 and 25 degrees colder than Wednesday's highs from about the I-4 corridor northward into the Panhandle. About a 15-degree drop in high temperatures is expected Friday afternoon over much of South Florida after the front has passed.

A few areas of near-freezing temperatures or frosty patches are not out of the question near the Interstate 10 corridor, away from urban areas Friday and Saturday mornings. Lows in the 40s are likely over the interior peninsula, from the Florida Heartland and north. Beachfront areas are likely to hold on to morning lows in the 50s. Record temperatures are possible in a few locations, especially on Saturday morning. The forecast low of 45 at Lakeland and Daytona Beach would be good enough for record lows Saturday morning. Meanwhile, Jacksonville's forecast low of 38 degrees Saturday morning would also beat their record of 39 degrees.

A gradual moderating trend is likely over the weekend as the winds turn more from the east, off the Atlantic Ocean. The east winds may carry a few showers into Southeast Florida this weekend, which could slow the warming process there, in particular.

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Ray Hawthorne