Wintry mix of rain, sleet hits area

A wintry weather front swept through the region Saturday, bringing sleet and scattered icy rain to Brooksville and parts of Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

There were several reports of sleet north of Tampa Bay early Saturday morning, Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker said.

At about 10 a.m. Saturday, a light rain that at times contained ice was seen in Brooksville, but it was didn't accumulate and there was no snow. The rain stopped at midday Saturday and wasn't expected to resume.

There were several reports of sleet in northern Hillsborough County, as well as Brooksville and Citrus County, National Weather Service meteorologist Logan Johnson said. Sleet was also sighted in northwestern Pasco.

"Here in this area it did not accumulate but father north toward The Villages [in Sumter County]… there was some minor accumulation."

From The Villages south to Lakeland and Orlando, there were spots where the accumulation was noticeable on car windows and rooftops. Sleet was also seen as far east as Ormond Beach in Volusia County, WFTV in Orlando reported. Naples had a few snow flurries.

In eastern Hillsborough County, strawberry farmers were preparing for what is expected to be the week's coldest weather tonight and early Sunday. Some farmers planned to coat their sprinkler heads with a lubricant to prevent ice buildup that could block water flow. Farmers spray the water to form an ice barrier that protects the berries.

A freeze warning is in effect until 9 a.m. Sunday for a Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Temperatures could be at or below freezing for three to six hours near the coast and for six to 10 hours farther inland. The areas right along the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay may escape freezing temperatures.

A hard freeze warning is in effect for Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties.

In Pasco County, the temperature could drop to the 20s tonight, and stay below freezing for six to 12 hours. In Hernando and Citrus counties, the freeze could last nine to 13 hours, according to the weather service.

Times Staff Writer Jessica Vander Velde contributed to this report, which includes information from The Associated Press.

Wintry mix of rain, sleet hits area 01/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 3:01pm]

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