updated 11/22/2006 7:08:07 PM ET 2006-11-23T00:08:07

Snowbirds come to the Sunshine State to escape them, but weather officials said a few snowflakes were spotted in Central Florida.

The flakes, mixed with rain, fell about 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Snow shovels were not needed, but some of the white stuff did hit the ground before melting, weather-service meteorologist John Pendergrast said.

"It's just cold enough in the lower levels of the atmosphere" to keep the flakes from melting, Pendergrast said.

The last time the region saw snow was in 2003, when flakes fell over Brevard and Volusia counties.

Temperatures in the area Tuesday night dipped to the low 40s, and were expected to fall to the 30s, Pendergrast said.

Wind chills may drop into the 20s in parts of north Florida and high temperatures may only reach the 60s as far south as the Keys on Wednesday, state meteorologist Ben Nelson said.

Miami wasn't expected to even hit 70 on Wednesday, and low temperatures were expected to dive into the mid-40s.

A developing storm out at sea off of Florida's east coast is driving cold air southward into the state, which resulted in freeze watches for several locations in the Panhandle earlier this week. Residents were being reminded to protect themselves, their plants, their pets and their pipes.

The cold weather is expected to last through Thanksgiving, but by the end of the week warmer temperatures were forecast to return. By Sunday, the high in Miami is expected to be 81.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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