“An arctic cold front has moved through the state this weekend and this has resulted in much cooler morning temperatures. The cold air-mass will produce a widespread freeze across much of Florida through the entire week,” said Meteorologist Amy Godsey. “Residents and visitors across the state should prepare for an unusually long period of freezing or subfreezing temperatures each morning that could harm vegetation, pipes, animals and people.”
Durations of freezing temperatures will range from 5-7 hours inland and 2-4 hours near the coast. Freeze Warnings could be issued for a large portion of Florida, with Hard Freeze Warnings likely for much of North Florida through the middle or latter parts of this week.
Residents and visitors should remember the "Five P's" of cold weather safety. The “5 P’s” are: Protecting People, Protecting Plants, Protecting Pets, Protecting Exposed Pipes, and Practicing Fire Safety.
The following actions are important safety measures:
Stay indoors and use safe heating sources.
Be aware of the fire danger from space heaters and candles, keep such devices away from all flammable materials such as curtains and furniture, and install recommended smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Indoors: Do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills that produce carbon monoxide. Install at least one carbon monoxide detector per floor in your home.
Outdoors: Stay dry and in wind-protected areas.
Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing.
Drink non-alcoholic fluids.
Shelter or bring inside animals, especially pets.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson is also reminding people to take measures to protect their pets during the extreme cold, including bringing them inside if possible or at least providing proper shelter outdoors. Bronson says his department is keeping a close eye on the weather to determine whether there will be an impact on any crops but the jury is still out. "Our farmers have some methods to protect their crops but it really comes down to not only how low the temperatures get but also how long the extreme cold lasts," Bronson said. "We will continue monitoring the situation throughout the week." Anyone interested in weather updates for agriculture can log onto http://ag-er.blogspot.com/.
For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: http://www.floridadisaster.org/. All students, teachers and parents can find educational information and free downloadable materials at: http://www.kidsgetaplan.com/. And for the latest situation and flash reports go to: www.YouTube.com/FloridaSERT.