Manatee shivers: When will cold snap end?

MANATEE -- The latest burst of arctic air that rolled through Manatee County is almost gone: Temperatures are expected to climb in the upper 60s by Thursday.

Today should see the brunt of the cool air weather, though, with morning lows near 30 by the coast and in the lower 20s inland, said Richard Rude, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Since the cold weather began rolling through Manatee County, the Salvation Army has seen an average of 140 people stay per night. “It’s been super busy here. We have 106 beds and we are averaging 140 overnight,” said Julie Showers, seasonal resource coordinator at the Salvation Army.

Mats are placed on the floor to accommodate the extra people.

While there are literally piles of blankets and jackets throughout the facility, Showers said, “We need scarves, socks, hats and gloves.”

The family lodge, which provides a home for several mothers and their children, is in need as well.

“The family lodge needs jackets in kids’ sizes from 2 years to 15 years,” Shower said. “The moms need winter jackets as well.”

When the weather dips below a level that is comfortable to sleep outdoors, the Salvation Army waives its nightly fee and opens its door to anyone who needs a place to stay, as long as they pass a Breathalyzer.

Larry has been coming to the center since the late 1990s, and said he has never spent the night outdoors during harsh weather because of the generosity of the organization,

“I’ve come here on cold nights, I’ve come here on hot nights. They always take me in,” said Larry, 58. “I appreciate it.”

The forecast for today is highs in the mid-50s and by night fall the mercury will drop to the mid-30s by the more costal areas and to the upper 20s inland.

But by Thursday afternoon, the high is expected to be in the upper 60s and evening lows in the upper 50s. By Friday the high will be in the upper 70s with a 20 percent chance for rain.

A cold front may hit over the weekend and may bring in showers, Rude said.

As of Tuesday night, there were no small craft advisories out. There is a possibility for a freeze warning tonight, according to Rude, but the service will not make a decision on that until this morning.

Related stories from Bradenton Herald