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NWFL Goes Back Into The Deep Freeze


Temperatures in the Florida Panhandle are heading south this week, with a hard freeze and single-digit wind chills expected by Thursday morning.

A big dip in the Jet Stream is enabling a dome of frigid air to slide out of western Canada southward, says Dave Eversole at the National Weather Service in Mobile. That’s expected to drop temperatures to about 20 degrees below normal in northwest Florida and south Alabama.

“We’re going to see teens for most of the area Wednesday night,” said Eversole. “Highs on Thursday probably just in the lower 40s for much of the area.”

Since the air moving into the area is dry, don’t expect a repeat of last January’s winter storm. Eversole says when preparing for the chill, observe what he calls the “Three P’s:” People, Pets, and Plants.

“Pets that are outside,” said Eversole. “Check on the elderly, check on people who might not have adequate heating. Just make sure that everyone’s got heat, and it’s safe heat. No blankets on top of space heaters and that sort of thing. And bring in your plants.”

Numerous organizations are preparing to help those most affected by the cold, including Pensacola’s Waterfront Rescue Mission. Waterfront has 163 permanent beds. Thanks to mats and other materials, the shelter was able to accommodate about 190 people during last January’s winter storm.

A cold weather shelter for the homeless or heatless will be open through Friday at Ferris Hill Baptist Church in Milton, which is offering such services for the seventh winter. The doors there open at 6:30 pm, with nobody admitted after 8:30 unless brought in by law enforcement. The shelter will close at seven o’clock the next morning.

While this week will provide another taste of winter, Dave Eversole at the National Weather Service says relief is just a few days away, with temperatures rebounding to the 60s by the first of next week.