Southwest Florida braces for another cold blast
Southwest Florida residents will experience another cold blast over the next few days before the temperatures warm up in time for New Year’s Eve.
Meteorologist Todd Barron said a freeze watch was issued for Lee County Monday night and Tuesday morning due to the strong Canadian high pressure system that is dropping down from the north into Southwest Florida.
The temperatures will drop as low as 32 degrees Tuesday morning, with a gradual warming trend of the low 60s for Tuesday afternoon.
“Anyone that is going to be out late, bundle up and put on a couple of layers of clothing,” Barron said, adding that individuals should “try not to be outdoors during the wee hours of the morning.”
With cold weather, individuals should remember the five “P’s,” which are protecting people, protecting plants, protecting pets, protecting exposed pipes and practicing fire safety.
Barron said it is also important to bring any outdoor pets indoors, along with covering any sensitive plants tonight and Tuesday morning.
Due to the very dry conditions, a fire weather warning was in effect for Monday and possibly Tuesday, although there will be a little more moisture in the air.
“This system will bring not only extremely cold temperatures and wind chill, but will also bring with it very dry weather,” Division of Emergency Management Director David Halstead said in a prepared statement. “These dry conditions make it very possible for dangerous wildfires to occur and spread. We encourage all Floridians to not only practice cold weather safety, but to protect themselves and their property from wildfires.”
Tuesday night the temperatures will be a little bit warmer at 37 degrees and by Wednesday afternoon the temperatures will rise to right around 70 degrees.
Although temperatures are expected to be cold for the next couple of days, Lee County residents will experience warmer weather as the New Year approaches.
Barron said by Friday temperatures will be above normal for New Year’s Eve for a high of 78 degrees during the day with not much chance of rain. Temperatures will drop to a low of 58 degrees Friday night.
Earlier this month when temperatures dropped to the freezing point, many local agencies opened their doors for the homeless. On Dec. 6, the Salvation Army had 22 people stay at the shelter and 26 people on Dec. 7, which included two children.
So far the Salvation Army has given away 50 blankets and 20 jackets each night the emergency shelter has been open during the cold weather.
The Salvation Army serves a hot meal from 5 to 7 p.m., with the emergency shelter opening afterwards. They have 20 extra cots for men and ten extra cots for women during the cold nights.
Individuals should remain indoors when temperatures dip to near freezing, wear plenty of warm layers of loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, along with utilizing safe heating sources, according to the Division of Emergency Management. When heating a home, do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices that produce carbon monoxide.