Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Panhandle shuts down due to ice; up to an inch of snow is forecast

Schools, courts and government offices throughout the western Panhandle plan to close because of anticipated snow and ice.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the region. Forecasters say a mix of freezing rain and snow is expected today through Wednesday.

Schools in Santa Rosa and Escambia counties will be closed those days. Courts and many government offices also announced closures in advances of the wintery weather.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Miller said freezing rain and snow could move in later Tuesday afternoon. Up to an inch of snow seemed possible in areas north of Interstate 10 in Escambia and Okaloosa counties.

He said a large area of rain was moving over Louisiana and Mississippi. It was expected to move in to Florida later Tuesday, bringing freezing rain and — for some — snow.

The worsening weather will be dangerous for driving, and Miller said ice over snow could cause power lines to snap.

People living south of I-10 may see snow flurries, but Miller said it seemed doubtful there will be much — if any — accumulation.

Officials in Florida's two westernmost counties have declared local states of emergency, are preparing to spread sand on icy roads and bridges and have opened winter weather shelters.

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