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Florida Freeze Watch - December 2020

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kinzyjr
2 minutes ago, chad2468emr said:

All such useful information! Thank you. 

In what way is this year anything but ordinary? I was seriously unsure of what to expect being new to 9b and used to the climate a full two sub-zones up from that. I wasn’t expecting this many cold nights, and I hope this is far from normal. It’s really quite the adjustment to have to watch the thermometer quite so anxiously for me. 

You're welcome.  The "anything but ordinary" comment was mostly directed at the COVID-19 situation and the impact it has had on life in general.  I hope I didn't make it seem as if this kind of thing is unusual.  Central Florida weather has an identity crisis; we can't decide if we want to landscape more like Tallahassee or Miami - so we take turns being both ;)

Coming from South Florida to here is a pretty large adjustment for you I'm sure.  Commonly, a handful of bad nights up this way.  But, if you want to see some real pain, look at the impact freeze data for your region in the spreadsheets here: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/66320-florida-freeze-and-weather-station-data/

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chad2468emr
10 minutes ago, Kiplin said:

No it's not typical. We generally in central FL have 1 or 2 nights a year in the 30s. This year, I think we're at 6 so far after tonight.

Luckily I'm in a nice microclimate. Sitting at 38 right now. All my palms were pretty cozy last night in the upper 40s under protection.

I just took a look at my local weather stations historic data on wunderground. I saw 5 nights between December 2018 - Feb 2019 that fell below 40, and all were in Dec and Jan. I think we are at about six already like you said so that’s.... well let’s just say go figure it’s my first winter here so what else should I expect? Haha 

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chad2468emr
9 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

You're welcome.  The "anything but ordinary" comment was mostly directed at the COVID-19 situation and the impact it has had on life in general.  I hope I didn't make it seem as if this kind of thing is unusual.  Central Florida weather has an identity crisis; we can't decide if we want to landscape more like Tallahassee or Miami - so we take turns being both ;)

Coming from South Florida to here is a pretty large adjustment for you I'm sure.  Commonly, a handful of bad nights up this way.  But, if you want to see some real pain, look at the impact freeze data for your region in the spreadsheets here: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/66320-florida-freeze-and-weather-station-data/

I’m on my phone right now failing to fall asleep due to anxiety over this cold and I can’t view .xlsx files as a result haha. I will be checking those out tomorrow for sure though! Thanks!

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pj_orlando_z9b

My temps went from 38.5F to almost 40F. Maybe a slight wind change off the lake.

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Kiplin

Man I'm glad I'm in a good microclimate. Less than 15 miles, a station is reporting a 29 where I'm seeing a 38. Goodness let's hope for a better January. I think the almanac predicted a cold Dec and one bad cold spell early Jan and then smooth sailing. Let's hope the Jan spell is no worse than this one....

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pj_orlando_z9b
15 minutes ago, Kiplin said:

No it's not typical. We generally in central FL have 1 or 2 nights a year in the 30s. This year, I think we're at 6 so far after tonight.

Luckily I'm in a nice microclimate. Sitting at 38 right now. All my palms were pretty cozy last night in the upper 40s under protection.

We have more than 1 or 2 nights in the 30s a year. I'm in a warmer area near the airport and record about 8-10 each winter. Most 35 or higher and typically in Jan or Feb. This Dec has been below avg for sure. 

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pj_orlando_z9b

I think the dike has been plugged. Whew. 

Screenshot_20201227-011459_WeatherLink.jpg

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JLM

I feel like i might be getting some help with my temps from the Escambia River WMA, which is essentially a marsh.
The two stations reporting on the east side of the river is still at or barely above freezing, while stations on the west side of the river are below freezing. It might be from a variable wind (1mph) coming from the west. Warmer temps over the river marsh due to higher water temps, light wind blowing the warmer air to the east. Just a thought, and honestly not sure if thats even how it works lol
Outside thermometer at about 32-33F right now, definitely getting cooler though.

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NickJames

Very close to my Saturday low. Ugh. 
 

officially becomes freeze #2 of the season for my backyard

E5505CB1-0BAD-434A-B21D-C390FFFBE803.jpeg

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JLM
3 minutes ago, NickJames said:

Very close to my Saturday low. Ugh. 
 

officially becomes freeze #2 of the season for my backyard

E5505CB1-0BAD-434A-B21D-C390FFFBE803.jpeg

Ouch! Hope everything does alright!

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RedRabbit

Down to 34.2f now. I went outside and the skies are clear so it will probably freeze. That’s fine, I’m in 9b after all... Curiously it doesn’t really feel that cold out. I was going to bring in my Thrinax radiata, but after feeling the temperature I decided to let it be. 

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RedRabbit

I just want to document a few observations I've made of the Tampa Bay area over the past couple nights:

  • Clearwater Beach is warm, but not as warm as points further south in Pinellas. I was previously curious about this because Clearwater Beach has a very nice microclimate with a lot of water to the north.
  • Tonight, Tierra Verde is warmer than Pass-a-grille.
  • Coquina Key is actually the warmest spot in Pinellas tonight. Its over 10f warmer than the Old Northeast. (Note 2 stations are there and confirm this. One isn't shown in screenshot.)
  • The Venetian Isles and Shore Acres in St. Pete are doing very well. Multiple stations confirm this. It's not as good as Coquina Key, but on par with St. Pete Beach. 
  • Interior portions of the Pinellas peninsula are probably 9b. They're not fairing well, too far from the water. 
  • South Tampa is okay, but not great. Pretty much as expected. A station in Channelside has been the warmest in Tampa, but it's by itself so there's no way to know if it's accurate. 
  • The 10b area of Manatee county appears to only be Anna Maria Island, but it's the whole island with Bradenton Beach included. Bradenton Beach is 2-3f colder than the northern part of AMI, but it's still probably over the 10b threshold. Places I suspected were 10b like Palma Sola, Tierra Ciea, and downtown Bradenton aren't as warm. Western Cortez may be 10b, but there's no station there so who knows. Longboat Key, which I've suspected is 10b, is about 4-5f colder than AMI so it doesn't look like its in the same zone. 
  • The barrier islands are the only really warm spots in the Sarasota/Venice area. Inland areas aren't bad and 10a still I think, but not quite as warm. There are even some 30s west of the trail, which I thought was surprising. 

Here are a few screenshots I took tonight. These aren't low temperatures, but focus on a few places I've been curious about and illustrates where the best microclimates are.

MPinellas.thumb.png.f059a934b417ad876aa5f55d63f8eb4f.png

SPinellas.thumb.png.5f9c55025229d0e8107b083311a1fa06.png

NManatee.png.467cf30add8d752fef796e5d310ae6d6.png

Edited by RedRabbit
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JJPalmer

What an interesting night. Here are some screenshots of temps at 3:40 AM. If that station in South Tampa accurate to within a degree, they hit freezing.  Wish I had my weather station up and running - looks like a 9° gradient within about a half mile distance. I presume I hovered right around 40° but we’ll never know.

 

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Edited by JJPalmer
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NickJames

I don’t know what happened after I went to sleep but...I like it!

About an hour just under or at freezing and then big spike. No wind so must have been clouds that moved in. 

moderate frost. Had it stayed below freezing, I imagine it would’ve been worse. 

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70314E9F-1E66-49B8-96D6-CA3C54C6FCCD.jpeg

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NickJames

I know it’s not a real palm, but my Ravenala madagascariensis is showing necrosis for the first time ever. It saw 32.9 last season with no damage. 

7A648B6E-D57A-4395-9DED-AD6A8929033A.jpeg

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Jimbean

Bottomed out at 43F this morning here in Melbourne.  Sounds like, unlike everyone else here, last morning was worse than this morning.  Hopefully January will be warmer. 

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Kiplin
7 hours ago, pj_orlando_z9b said:

We have more than 1 or 2 nights in the 30s a year. I'm in a warmer area near the airport and record about 8-10 each winter. Most 35 or higher and typically in Jan or Feb. This Dec has been below avg for sure.

1-2 might be underestimating it a little bit but not by a lot. We had 1 in winter of 2019-2020, 12 in winter of 2018 (bad winter), 3 in 2017, 3 in 2016, 3 in 2015. 8-10 is not typical.

https://www.wunderground.com/history/monthly/us/fl/orlando/KMCO/date/2015-12

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Bill H2DB

   At about 8:30 last evening ( Sat. ) , I went out for a bit of a walk , and I could hear the surf . The wind direction on most of the local stations was trending dead north by then.

Even with some fluctuations in direction , some mixing in of air that had traveled over the big water , was happening . 

  So  the drop in Temps slowed to a shallow slope , and were more or less at 37-38 until a while after dawn .

  Low was 37.5 here near the Halifax river ( aka ICW ) .

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PalmatierMeg

Actual low this a.m. = 46.6F. Predicted: 41F. Currently 51F.

Could have been much worse. If we get more training cold fronts in the next 2-3 weeks - likely - it will be. When Dec. temps consistently fall below Jan. averages, what will Jan. give us? Is there a Polar Vortex going on? 

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kinzyjr

In my yard, the lowest reading was 35F and the highest was 39F.  KLAL recorded 35F.  Usually, when we're in the 30s before midnight, there's reason to be concerned for anything tender.  Even 35F probably wouldn't kill anything outside, but 39F certainly wouldn't.

I think this graph from SugarCane sums the situation I observed up perfectly.

image.png.a91f16ae7530a57101a7f26b4a1a2ed3.png

If this is truly the last cold event for 2020, Lakeland's official low this year was either 31F (NOAA, AccuWeather) or 32F (Weather.com, Wunderground) on January 22nd, 2020.

2021?  TBD. :)

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chad2468emr

Recorded 33 here at my spot as the low. This is on a SW facing wall with much pavement and cement to provide supplemental heat. Area gets direct sun at 8:00am sharp every day which helped things warm up quickly. Currently moving everything back outside and it’s reminding me of the relief once a hurricane is over and you can go back outside, LOL. 

Of everything I left outside, no damage was received except for my poor banana that I forgot about. It’s on a NW facing wall in a pot, and apparently it blew over when I was out of town but I was so concerned with my palms I forgot to check on it. After cutting off all the burnt leaves that likely laid on the ground DURING a frost, and peeling back the ruined boots (are they called boots on a banana?) it actually looks relatively decent. Just needs water badly. This thing has still been putting out a leaf every two weeks this cold season so I’m sure it’ll look fine in a month haha. 

CB535356-5F69-458E-997B-5D15363C4417.thumb.jpeg.ccbef971e9447773c60c945e7ba4564c.jpeg

A4814B61-B118-4DB2-AE90-12450982D2FB.thumb.jpeg.9a6ee3c8135b77766f08154b297873ba.jpeg

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NickJames

Damage Report with back to back light freezes (30.9 and 31.3, heavier frost on second night)

only including sensitive palms and not including my other sensitive tropicals or non-sensitive palms. 
 

- No real visible damage on the Golden Malayan dwarf cocos. 

- my smallest Roystonea regia has some necrosis on the tips. It’s about six feet tall. The taller ones have no visible damage. 

- Tips of dypsis lutescens burned where they touched the covering

- neighbors’ adonidia merrilli burned where it touched the covering  

- no visible damage on dypsis Decaryi. 

- my potted adonidia merrilli has no visible damage from this, but some cold spotting from other recent events 

- no visible damage on wodyetia bifurcata

- no visible damage on archontophoenix Cunninghamiana 


If more data is needed (such as protection methods, specific location, etc) let me know. 
 

The foxtail and piccabeen had no protection and were in the coldest spots. 

Obviously there could be some lag time of damage is realized. 

Last night had the most time below freezing overall and earliest freeze time. Both nights rose above freezing starting around 3am to sunrise which is atypical (but a relief!!)

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Merlyn

My Lutescens look about the same as yours, Nick.  I didn't protect them, but they are fairly close to the house on the SE side.  They had some browning on the upper leaves but the rest looked fine.  The upper couple of leaves on the Dypsis Pembana are slightly bronzed/spotted, but they came through a lot better than Lutescens.  It's 65F here now, so in a day or two the rest of the damage should be obvious.  Here's my temperature chart, the 11 hours last night at 31-33F did not help...

2142692380_Christmasfreeze2020.thumb.jpg.d8ed9fd9fb85652521e5e12a389ae366.jpg

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PalmatierMeg

Nick, a lot of your palm coverings looked to be plastic, correct? If so, next time you use them place blankets underneath them. Plastic will actually act as a conduit of cold to any plant it touches. That may be why your Adonidia shows so much burning of pinnae. At one time I bought blankets and cotton flannel sheets at Goodwill and thrift stores and stored them for winter palm protection. You are quite a bit colder than here and need that extra layer of protection even more.

Below is my Caribbean Garden wrapped up in Jan. 2009. I believe the predicted low that morning was 29F. At the bottom right corner are some of the Sabal spp seedlings that eventually ended up on Sabal Row.

967674670_CaribbeanGardenwrappedpalms0102-09.thumb.JPG.4ae89b1077d1bdcf016dfb82722038c2.JPG

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Estlander

Well, it’s official. First freeze of the winter in my yard - 31.1F, -0.5C. Although it must have been brief as there’s no damage on anything, even sensitive plants. 
Elephant ears look just like they did before the freeze. Bananas under pine canopy look also fine. Moderate damage to banana leaves under clear sky. 
My Mango tree is in pristine condition as well. (Yes, I have a Mango tree in the FL panhandle LOL). This is it’s third winter.

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Edited by Estlander
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NorCalKing
2 minutes ago, Estlander said:

My Mango tree is in pristine condition as well. (Yes, I have a Mango tree in the FL panhandle LOL). 

Damn! I'm surprised that thing is thriving in 9A. Well done!

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NickJames
39 minutes ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Nick, a lot of your palm coverings looked to be plastic, correct? If so, next time you use them place blankets underneath them. Plastic will actually act as a conduit of cold to any plant it touches. That may be why your Adonidia shows so much burning of pinnae. At one time I bought blankets and cotton flannel sheets at Goodwill and thrift stores and stored them for winter palm protection. You are quite a bit colder than here and need that extra layer of protection even more.

Below is my Caribbean Garden wrapped up in Jan. 2009. I believe the predicted low that morning was 29F. At the bottom right corner are some of the Sabal spp seedlings that eventually ended up on Sabal Row.

967674670_CaribbeanGardenwrappedpalms0102-09.thumb.JPG.4ae89b1077d1bdcf016dfb82722038c2.JPG

Yes, or some form of plastic - the d. Lutescens had big tarps tied down with 6 feet tall garden stakes. They are heavy duty ones. 
 

My archontophoenix seedlings were covered with Mylar emergency blankets and had no ill effects like the tarps! Not sure if Mylar is considered a form of plastic, but it doesn’t seem to have the same effect. 

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JLM

By the end of summer 2021, you might be able to pull some of the old boots off your Queen to reveal that trunk!

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RedRabbit

Morning lows for me:

Westchase - 33.6f

St. Pete - ~35f

Nokomis - ~39f (NE wind limited the help it usually gets from the gulf)

 

Zero damage here in Westchase from what I’ve seen. There wasn’t any frost on the cars or on the ground when I went out at 4am. The clouds never arrived, but the temperature bottomed sometime around 3am anyway. It could have been ugly if it kept going down until sunrise. 
 

Looking back I think the light NE wind played a big role in why parts of St. Pete stayed so warm. I don’t think Coquina Key is normally warmer than Pass-a-Grille, but it’s something to check on next time.

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pj_orlando_z9b
12 hours ago, Kiplin said:

1-2 might be underestimating it a little bit but not by a lot. We had 1 in winter of 2019-2020, 12 in winter of 2018 (bad winter), 3 in 2017, 3 in 2016, 3 in 2015. 8-10 is not typical.

https://www.wunderground.com/history/monthly/us/fl/orlando/KMCO/date/2015-12

Florida State has all historical records.  I downloaded and put into a pivot table.  These are all winters at MCO back to 1965 and number of nights below 40F.  It is clear Orlando benefitted from urban sprawl so even if you go back a typical 25 years like climate centers do, the average is about 9 nights per winter below 40F for Orlando.

Orlando_nights_lessthan40F.png

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kinzyjr

Thanks for sharing the interesting statistics, @pj_orlando_z9b.  An interesting observation we can add to the list about last night in the Orlando area is that ~8:30 when everyone else was sweating bullets about how quick the temperature was going below 40F, it was 47F at Bahama Breeze on I-Drive.  No doubt why some of the more tender stuff tends to flourish in that area.

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pj_orlando_z9b
23 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

Thanks for sharing the interesting statistics, @pj_orlando_z9b.  An interesting observation we can add to the list about last night in the Orlando area is that ~8:30 when everyone else was sweating bullets about how quick the temperature was going below 40F, it was 47F at Bahama Breeze on I-Drive.  No doubt why some of the more tender stuff tends to flourish in that area.

That's where the large I-drive coconut is located. Estimate is it was planted around 2007. My 2 nights were 37F and 38F which I thank the lake.  Orlando does decent with radiation events. It is the adjective events that zap us most. 

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chad2468emr
13 hours ago, pj_orlando_z9b said:

Florida State has all historical records.  I downloaded and put into a pivot table.  These are all winters at MCO back to 1965 and number of nights below 40F.  It is clear Orlando benefitted from urban sprawl so even if you go back a typical 25 years like climate centers do, the average is about 9 nights per winter below 40F for Orlando.

Orlando_nights_lessthan40F.png

I feel like this pivot table needs to be mandatory for review for every palm enthusiast moving to central Florida from south Florida that unknowingly becomes a zone pusher like myself. I hereby propose all nurseries in the area make someone sign a form with this on it if they’re going to buy a zone 10+ plant, haha!

Why can’t every year be like 2014 - 2015!? 

Edited by chad2468emr
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pj_orlando_z9b
1 minute ago, chad2468emr said:

I feel like this pivot table needs to be mandatory for review for every palm enthusiast moving to central Florida from south Florida that unknowingly becomes a zone pusher like myself. I hereby propose all nurseries in the area make someone sign a form with this on it if they’re going to buy a zone 10+ plant, haha!

Amen. I'm a zone pusher too and cringe every time I hear of cold fronts. Lol. I should add a column for less than 32 and a 3rd for absolute low.  I can do the same chart for Tampa if the Tampa crew is interested. 

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chinandega81
4 hours ago, pj_orlando_z9b said:

Amen. I'm a zone pusher too and cringe every time I hear of cold fronts. Lol. I should add a column for less than 32 and a 3rd for absolute low.  I can do the same chart for Tampa if the Tampa crew is interested. 

Was this for downtown Orlando or the international airport?

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JLM

Y'all are gonna hate me, but based on how the pattern is setting up, we could have a similar setup to the 2010 freezes in January. Hopefully this doesnt play out, but will be something to watch very very closely.

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kinzyjr
16 minutes ago, JLM said:

Y'all are gonna hate me, but based on how the pattern is setting up, we could have a similar setup to the 2010 freezes in January. Hopefully this doesnt play out, but will be something to watch very very closely.

Yarn | Maybe if you tell me the bad news in a good way, it wont sound so bad.  ~ Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) | Video clips by quotes, clip |

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JLM
2 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

Yarn | Maybe if you tell me the bad news in a good way, it wont sound so bad.  ~ Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) | Video clips by quotes, clip |

I hate to be the bearer of bad news :laugh2:

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RedRabbit
51 minutes ago, JLM said:

Y'all are gonna hate me, but based on how the pattern is setting up, we could have a similar setup to the 2010 freezes in January. Hopefully this doesnt play out, but will be something to watch very very closely.

Where do you see this?

Given December, I'm expecting a cold January. However, the 10 day forecast doesn't show anything close to freezing.

FWIW, I'll start a new thread for a January freeze watch once I see something that warrants it. 

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