A brief visit of cold air will chill residents and visitors in Florida this weekend. It's going to turn colder on Saturday across the entire peninsula, with the northern part of the state experiencing a light freeze Saturday night. The frost will extend farther south late Sunday night and early Monday morning.
As a major storm tries to take shape just off the Atlantic coast this weekend, colder air driving southeastward from Canada will reach the South. This could be the most significant cold of the winter so far for the interior South.
"This is going to be a one-shot deal and then it warms up," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. "There will be a few spots that will drop down to freezing."
There has not been arctic air driving this far south this winter. Arctic air masses have been stopping short of the region or passing by to the east too quickly to allow the cold air to settle in.
The light frost won't affect Florida's citrus crop.
According to Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler, "The coldest spots in the citrus groves of central Florida will probably dip to 32 or 33 degrees for an hour or less. It will not be cold enough to cause significant damage. In fact, the coldest air is near ground level. The air near the blossoms will be 1 to 3 degrees higher than the air near the ground."
Most citrus crops can handle those temperatures for that duration with few or no problems.
"However, a frost or brief freeze could be a problem for more tender fruits and vegetables," Mohler said, "The days of most concern for Florida would be Saturday night, Sunday and Monday morning."