Cold weather menaces county

You might want to bundle up like these two, especially if you're going out on King's Bay. It's going to be cold the next few days.

The coldest weather of the season will hit Citrus County Tuesday morning as temperatures will plummet to the upper 30s with wind chill values even lower.

That’s cold enough for the Salvation Army, which opened its cold weather shelter from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday at 712 S. School Ave. in Lecanto. 

People can go to any county bus stop at the last pickup time and the driver will drop them off at the shelter for free. They will be picked up the following morning and taken back to the same area.

“This is our first real good cold snap,” said NWS meteorologist Jennifer Hubbard.

The high Tuesday will reach 60 degrees, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Tuesday night will stay cool at 43 degrees. After highs in the mid 60s Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures will get back in the 70s by Friday, the NWS said.

Although cold for Florida standards, the next couple days will be nothing like what is happening in the Northeast and Midwest, where heavy snows and and bone-chilling temperatures have closed schools, government offices and led to hazardous driving conditions.

Kate Spratt, park services specialist at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, said she expects plenty of heat-seeking manatees to show up outside the observatory tomorrow.

“We anticipate seeing an increasing number in the springs and the surrounding waterways,” she said.

And it’s not just manatees that are active when it gets cold. Spratt said the Florida panther and black bear also get animated when the weather turns cold.

 

It’s a great time, she said, for folks to come down and see the action.

Meanwhile, for information about the cold weather shelter, call The Salvation Army at 352-513-4960. And for schedules and a map of the bus stops, visit www.citruscountytransit.com/orange/routes.htm.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

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