MANATEE -- Manatee County doesn't need a groundhog every mid-January to determine if below normal temperatures lie ahead.
The Manatee County Fair takes care of that.
"You just know it's going to get cold because the Manatee County Fair is about to start," Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells said during a Palmetto City Commission meeting Monday. "Sure enough, the fair starts Thursday and it's supposed to get real cold Thursday."
Wells is correct about fair temperatures this year, according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service and Bay News 9.
Due to three cold fronts moving into the area -- one that arrived Tuesday night, one due to arrive Wednesday night and one Friday -- Manatee County will actually plunge into a five-day cold snap beginning Wednesday.
The coldest point in the five-day stretch will be Friday, with daybreak temperatures in the low 30s inland and upper 30s to low 40s along the coast to warm up only into the low to mid-50s, according to Andrew McKaughan of the National Weather Service.
"You have to go back to January 2010 to find this many cold days in a row," said Mike Clay, a Bay News 9 meteorologist.
Forecasts have high tem
peratures in the low 50s for the five days.
The expected cold has already forced the one-week postponement of Thursday night's Main Street Live! music and revelry outdoor event, according to the Old Main Street Merchants Association. It will be the same free event, with food, beverage and crafts vendors, and live music by Soul R Coaster from 5-10 p.m. Jan. 23 on Old Main Street.
People who enjoy clear skies and bone-chilling weather will love the cold blast, Clay said.
"A little light rain only Wednesday night and Thursday morning, otherwise dry," Clay said. "Boating, however, will be a hazard due to the wind, which will produce choppy seas."
"It's going to be chilly at the Manatee County Fair on Thursday night," McKaughan said. "People will be wearing jackets. It will be breezy, too.
"Friday morning will dawn with temperatures in the low 30s inland and upper 30s to 40s along the coast," McKaughan added.
The weekend is expected to deliver continued cold.
"Temperatures will be below normal all weekend," McKaughan said. "Saturday will continue to be cold going into Sunday and Monday. It doesn't look like we will have a warm-up any time in the next week."
Clay predicts the warm-up to finally start Monday or Tuesday.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.