Tiny snowmen appear in Florida as Sunshine State gets snow

Snow in Florida. (Provided Photo/WFLA)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The “Welcome to Florida” sign in the northwest part of the state was covered in light snow as winter weather dipped into the Sunshine State.

It was part of a winter storm that hit the Deep South over the weekend and left thousands of people without power in the region.

In Florida, the news website northescambia.com posted a photograph of the sign that welcomes travelers to the state, covered in a sprinkle of snow.

Elsewhere in the normally warm state, flurries were reported in Destin and Miramar Beach, while temperatures in St. Petersburg were 48 degrees. Miami was a positively chilly 61 degrees Sunday afternoon.

“It does look like it’s going to get a little colder tonight,” said Marc Austin, a forecaster from the National Weather Service in Ruskin, which is in the Tampa Bay area. “Tonight will be the coldest night in Florida this week. Probably the coldest night it’s been since last winter.”

Austin added that the region’s cold temps are due to an arctic air mass followed brought a high pressure system. Wind died down and that allowed for the normally mild south to cool.

Areas north of Tampa can expect to get freezing temperatures Sunday night, even down in the twenties, he said.

Over the weekend, North Carolina had ice warnings, Georgia saw school and business closings and on Friday, Jackson, Mississippi had its highest snowfall since 1982.

Part of Asheville received eight inches of snow on Friday and Saturday, making the storm the 15th greatest since 1946, when the Weather Service started keeping records of snowfall in the city.

Forecasters said temperatures for Sunday were not expected to be favorable for melting the snow in many parts of the south. Highs across much of North Carolina were not expected to get out of the 30s, and after a brief warm up on Monday, a second round of cold air was likely to stall the melting.

Thousands of customers remained without power in the region.

Duke Energy is reporting almost 8,000 customers without power Sunday afternoon in the western counties of North Carolina and South Carolina. The majority of those are in Macon, Henderson and Buncombe counties in North Carolina, where restoration to 4,860 customers was expected by 11:45 p.m. Sunday.

In South Carolina, the highest number of outages is in Greenville, where 660 customers are without power. Power restoration is expected by 5 p.m. Sunday.