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Snow could fall in North Florida on Friday, forecasters say

TAMPA — Snow could fall in northern Florida on Friday as an area of low pressure moves over the Gulf Coast, but the most action Tampa Bay will see is chilly rain.

The storm will roll through overnight and early Friday, possibly bringing up to nine inches of snow to parts of Mississippi and a couple inches to parts of Alabama and Georgia, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay.

It's expected to stay south of the Washington D.C. area, however, where residents have been pummeled for nearly a week with two heavy snowstorms, causing major travel headaches.

In the bay area, Saturday will be drier and in the mid 50s. Sunday will begin in the 30s but afternoon sunshine will kick it up to about 60 degrees for the rest of Valentine's Day.

"Get your loved one a sweater," said meteorologist Juli Marquez. "It's cold, and it's going to stay cold."

It could get close to freezing in areas north of Tampa, but not until at least the end of the weekend.

Farmers stayed up all night Wednesday and into Thursday morning monitoring temperatures to determine whether to turn on sprinkler systems. If temperatures dip to freezing, farmers typically spray crops with water to create a protective layer of ice.

Matt Parke of Parkesdale Farms in Dover said his farm hasn't had to do that all week.

A nearly two-week cold snap in early January had farmers pumping groundwater for nights on end, causing 85 reported sinkholes in the region and about 700 complaints of dried-up or damaged residential wells.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District estimated that farmers used 1 billion gallons of water during the extended freeze.

For now, "Everything's great," Parke said.

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Snow could fall in North Florida on Friday, forecasters say 02/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 12, 2010 1:06am]
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