Weather alert: 'Polar vortex' will drop wind chills into the 20s in Bradenton

January 6, 2014 

MANATEE -- The fog has lifted. Now we wait for the cold.

A dense fog advisory for Bradenton and the rest of Tampa Bay has expired, but National Weather Service is warning that Monday will bring much colder temperatures, as a "polar vortex" extends deep into the Sunshine State.

Monday morning will make the arrival of a strong cold front that will be followed by the arrival of "a very cold arctic air mass," the same system that has left other parts of the country in a deep freeze.

Temperatures in Bradenton are not expected to drop much below freezing, but the National Weather Service has already scheduled watch and warning advisories so residents can prepare.

Even before the sun goes down Monday, the temperatures could fall to around 50 degrees, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez.

A freeze waning has been issued for Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Polk counties tonight for tonight, with low temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s expected.

A hard freeze warning will be in effect for Citrus and Hernando counties, with lows in the mid to upper 20s forecast.

A freeze warning is in effect for the region from 1 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, and a freeze watch is in effect for from 1 to 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"Temperatures will range from 29 to 32 degrees for several hours tonight and Tuesday night," the Weather Service office in Ruskin said early Monday.

For Bradenton on Monday, forecasters were calling for a high of 68 and a low Monday night of 38 -- although strong northerly winds could make it feel as cold as 29.

There is a 30 percent chance of showers during the day.

For Tuesday, the Weather Service was calling for a high of 52 and a low of 35. Sunny skies were expected, but strong northerly winds could again drop the chill factor to as low as 29 during the day and 26 at night, according to the Weather Service.

A freeze warning is issued when forecasters expect two or more hours of temperatures between 27 and 32. Residents should cover or move indoors any cold sensitive plants and bring pets indoors.

A freeze watch is issued when there is a potential of "a widespread and damaging freeze within 24 to 48 hours," the Weather Service said.

By Wednesday, the high temperature will again be in the upper 60s and by Friday it will be approaching 80, according to the Weather Service.

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