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First Widespread Freeze Warning Comes Much Later than Usual

Cold Weather
Posted at 3:58 PM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 15:58:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- It's been well established that temperatures in the fall season for North Florida and South Georgia have been abnormally high, with the warmest meteorological fall (September through November) period on record for Tallahassee specifically.

It's quite unusual, even in warmer spells, for the area's first widespread freeze to be delayed to the week before Christmas.

For Tallahassee, the average calendar date for the cold season's first freeze is Nov. 16.  The only time in November when temps came anywhere close to freezing was Nov. 24, when the low dipped to 34°.

In contrast, about a dozen freezing or sub-freezing morning had been encountered by Dec. 18 in 2014, including a couple of instances of hard freezes with lows in the 20s.

Typical of an El Nino weather pattern phase, the bulk of cold-air outbreaks are contained in the northern U.S. and Canada, as a southern branch of the jet stream prevents the core of these polar air masses from reaching the southern latitudes.  

Temperatures are forecast to be near freezing Saturday and Sunday mornings, but conditions will rapidly modify by Monday as the southerly flow and its moisture influence the feel of the air once more.

The latest date of a cold-season freeze for Tallahassee is Jan. 8, 1995.  Time is running out to avoid breaking yet another warm-weather record, but the best chance to avoid it comes with the cool-down this weekend.