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Environment

Freezing Temperatures Descend on Florida

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An arctic air mass is poised to move into the State of Florida Wednesday night.

Freeze Warnings are in effect for the entire Florida panhandle and inland areas of North-Central Florida from midnight to late morning Thursday. Temperatures are forecast to fall rapidly after sunset, dipping well into the 20's across the warned areas. In addition to the freezing conditions, blustery winds will drive wind chills into the teens and 20's for the northern two-thirds of the state.

A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect as far south as Punta Gorda and Deltona, and wind chills could fall as low as the 30's and 40's all the way to south Florida Thursday morning.

Despite ample sunshine on Thursday, highs will struggle to warm up across the state. High temperatures will range from the 40's in the panhandle to the 50s in north and central Florida, and only to the 60's in south Florida.

Homeless shelters are open Wednesday night in the Tampa Bay area. Here's the news release from Hillsborough County:

Hillsborough County cold weather shelters will open Jan. 7 for the homeless and those who live in homes without adequate heat. The National Weather Service expects the local wind chill factor to be near or at freezing Wednesday evening through Thursday morning. Individuals who need transportation assistance to a cold weather shelter in Hillsborough County should call (813) 272-7272 from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. to arrange a ride. Officials recommend calling for a ride only if you are stranded in the cold weather or living in a home without adequate heat and have no way to physically get to a shelter. Hillsborough County coordinates with the following organizations to provide cold weather shelters: -        Bethune Recreation Center, 5809 Edina St. in Wimauma This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for adults and families. Phone: (813) 672-7881 -        Brandon Community Center, 510 E. Sadie St. in Brandon This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for homeless adults and families with children. Phone: (813) 635-8179 -        Jackson Springs Recreation Center, 8620 Jackson Springs Road in Town 'N’ Country This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for adults and families. Phone: (813) 554-5004 -        Metropolitan Ministries, 2106 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa This location is where families go for motel vouchers beginning at 4 p.m.  After hours phone: (813) 209-1077 -        Salvation Army, 1514 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa This shelter opens at 4 p.m. and is for adults only. After hours phone: (813) 221-4440 Bethune Recreation Center, Brandon Community Center, Jackson Springs Recreation Center, and Metropolitan Ministries are also accepting donations, such as hats, gloves, scarves, socks, blankets, disinfectant wipes and spray, tooth brushes, toothpaste, deodorant, disposable cups, coffee, creamer, paper plates, paper towels, plastic utensils, and sugar. Metropolitan Ministries will accept donations at 2101 N. Florida Ave. Donations made after hours should be placed in the drop box. Those wishing to donate supplies should contact each individual shelter. Residents who need to be outside overnight or during the early morning hours are encouraged to dress in several warm layers and limit skin exposure to the wind. Pets should not be left outside during the cold weather. The lower than normal temperatures combined with strong winds could produce dangerous wind chills.

And here's the news release from Pinellas County:

The shelters open between 6:00 and 6:30 PM (Peace Memorial opens at 5:00 PM), accept guests all night long, and close the following morning at approximately 6:00 a.m.  Shelter guests are provided a hot evening meal, a warm safe place to spend the night, and breakfast the following morning. We will advise you should they open on additional nights. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact either Cliff Smith (727) 698-1809 or (727) 893-7627 or Rhonda Abbott at (727) 424-1355 or (727) 528-5762.  Thank you. 2014-2015 Cold Night Shelters Adult Men and Women Clearwater Primary Shelter Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church 110 S. Ft. Harrison Avenue Clearwater, FL  33756 Church Phone: 446-3001 Capacity:  75 (Note: This shelter opens at 5:00 PM) Pinellas Park Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park 7790 61st Street North Pinellas Park, FL 33781 Phone: 574-5437 Capacity: 150 NOTE: Transportation to and from this shelter and downtown St Petersburg will be provided by Boley, Inc. Scheduled pick-ups from Williams Park and St. Vincent de Paul begin between 5:00-5:30 PM. St. Petersburg Northwest Presbyterian Church 6330 54th Ave. North St. Petersburg, FL  33706 Church Phone: 544-4551                 Capacity: 75 Salvation Army 1400 4th Street South St. Petersburg, FL  33701    Phone: 822-4954         Capacity: 25 The Turning Point 1810 5th Ave. North St Petersburg, FL 33713 Phones: 823-7811 Capacity: 25 Tarpon Springs St Timothy's Lutheran Church 812 E. Tarpon Avenue Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 Capacity: 25                        FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN Families will be placed in motels or family shelters on cold nights.  Please call Rhonda Abbott or Cliff Smith to make arrangements for a family: Rhonda Abbott:  (727) 424-1355 (c) or (727) 528-5762 (o) Cliff Smith (727) 698-1809 (c) or (727) 893-7627 (o)  
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Credit Florida Public Radio Emergency Network
Wind Chill advisories are in effect