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Frosty Weather Grips Florida One Last Morning

UPDATED 8:30 AM EST, February 18, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologists, Seth Carrier and Chad Merrill

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The last vestiges of the Arctic weather gripping the Sunshine State will ease later this morning.

Morning temperatures range from the upper 20s to middle 30s north of Tampa, Fla., to the upper 30s to lower 50s in southern Florida. Sarasota Bradenton tied a record low of 35 degrees this morning.

Hard Freeze Warnings, Freeze Warnings and Frost Advisories are in place until later this morning across southern Georgia and much of Florida, including Fort Myers, Orlando, Jacksonville, Fla., and Valdosta and Albany, Ga. Lows will drop into the 20s as far south as Gainesville, Fla., with sub-freezing temperatures threatening Orlando and the northern shores of Lake Okeechobee.

The two-day spell of cold is quite a shock to Florida residents, given that it`s been a warm winter thus far. Since December 1, the temperature has dipped below 32 degrees on only 9 mornings in Tallahassee, Fla., with the majority occurring in December. Cities such as Orlando, Tampa Bay, and Fort Myers haven`t dropped to the freezing mark yet this winter. The closest to the freezing mark was Orlando with a low of 33 degrees on December 23.

Strong Canadian high pressure building along the Gulf Coast is responsible for the weekend cold snap. The high pressure has centered itself on northern Florida, allowing for clear skies and rapidly falling temperatures this morning.

After the frosty start, southerly winds will draw warmer air into the Sunshine State later today. Temperatures will be more tolerable on Presidents` Day, returning to the 60s to near 70 degrees. Tuesday will be even warmer with highs topping out near seasonal levels in the lower and middle 70s.

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