Covington County EMA: Storms, bitter cold front moving into area

Published 11:34 am Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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It may not be a white Christmas, but Covington County residents should expect cold temperatures for the holiday.

According to the Covington County Emergency Management Agency, a strong cold front will slide into the region late Wednesday and through the day on Thursday. Severe storms are possible Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“A squall line is expected to develop ahead of the front and move across our area from west to east. A few strong to severe storms are possible along the line as it moves through the area overnight and early Thursday. The main area of concern for severe storms and a few brief tornadoes resides across the coastal and southernmost counties in our area (especially northwest Florida on early Thursday morning). The main threat with any severe storms will be damaging winds, although a few brief tornadoes are possible. The severe threat will quickly come to an end as the line of storms exits the area by mid-morning on Thursday,” stated a press release from CCEMA Director Susan Harris.

Wednesday night will bring breezy conditions ahead of the storms. Thursday will be gusty during the morning and afternoon behind the cold front with wind gusts of 20 to 30 miles per hour inland and up to 35 to 40 miles per hour along the immediate coastline. A Wind Advisory will likely be necessary. A Gale Warning has been issued for the Mississippi Sound, southern Mobile Bay, and Gulf Waters for gusts up to 40 knots and seas of 7-11 ft.

The warmest temperatures on Thursday will be in the morning ahead of the cold front with temperatures hovering in the 40s for much of the day. Temperatures crash into the mid to low 20s north of I-10 by Christmas morning with temperatures falling into the 30s at the beaches. Given that the winds will take a while to relax on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, expect the wind chill to fall into the teens in the pre-dawn hours on Christmas morning (generally north of I-10). High temperatures on Christmas Day will also struggle to reach into the 40s across the entire area.