Protecting People From The Cold Blast

A severe cold front swept South Florida overnight Tuesday, dropping temperatures into the upper 30s and lower 40s Wednesday morning with wind chill temperatures in the lower 30s.
Wednesday night saw temperatures in the 50’s and Thursday morning is expected to dip as low as the low 30’s. Click here to read more about the frigid forecast that will lead to a Freeze Warning Thursday morning.
Davie’s Flamingo Gardens attraction had to install heat lamps for animals such as parrots and tortoises to prevent them from getting sick from the cold overnight.
“The smaller tortoises we have in this exhibit we brought inside; it’s a lot easier to keep them warm,” said horticulturist Laura Tooley. “They can freeze a lot easier than the bigger tortoises.”
“We’re concerned tonight could be the night,” said Ed Hagan with Gulfstream Tomatoes.
With 700 acres in Southwest Miami-Dade and up North to worry about, Hagan and his crews have been picking and packing tomatoes to save as much of the crop as they can.
“We started picking yesterday and will pick more today and we will have to see after that,” said Hagan.
In business more than 20 years, Hagan has lost a fare share of his crops to cold snaps in the past, losing as much as 75 to 85 percent of his crops some years.
“In ’77, the freeze of 89′ and several other cold snaps in between,” said Hagan.
One way farmers protect their crops is by spraying them down with water at a higher temperature. Many farmers plan to stay up all night Wednesday into Thursday watering down their crops to prevent them from freezing. Nurseries in the Redland and Homestead areas are also taking precautions.
In Coral Springs, Emily Buchanan takes care of her fragile nursery plants, saying “Anything delicate in nature, keep next to you because it sure is cold.”
Because of the unseasonably low temperatures, everyone is urged to take special precautions with their plants and pets; they should be brought indoors if possible. Anyone using a space heater is reminded to turn it off before they leave their residence.
Click Here for tips to stay warm and stay safe.
Broward and Miami-Dade officials declared a cold weather emergency for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for the homeless.
“Homeless people on the streets, their health is compromised,” said Sean Cononie with the Homeless Voice in Broward. “A lot of them have HIV, hepatitis, congenital heart failure, we need to keep them warm.”
In Miami-Dade, 200-300 extra beds have been made available at area shelters for the homeless seeking refuge from the cold. Tuesday night the City of Miami sent out their special teams of ‘street ambassadors’ – the green shirt group – who swept the streets looking for homeless people in need of assistance.
Those who refused to head to shelters were given blankets and hot coffee to ward off the chill.
In Broward, word was spread among the homeless on Tuesday to be at the following locations no later than 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday for transportation to special cold night shelters:
Pompano Beach
City Hal
100 W. Atlantic Blvd.
(Meet on the Southeast corner)
Fort Lauderdale
Salvation Army
1445 W. Broward Blvd.
Corner of North 21st Ave. and Lincoln St. and/or corner of North 21st Ave. and Sherman St.
(both locations east of railroad tracks)
This cold weather shelter activation will continue Wednesday until Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
For additional information, contact Broward County Emergency Management Division at (954) 831-3900 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. � 5:00 p.m.
Local plant nurseries are also taking precautions to protect plants from the possible freeze. Many delicate ornamental plants don’t tolerate the cold well, even if well above the freezing mark. Orchids, houseplants, and new plantings are particularly at risk in the chill. Click here for more suggestions how how to protect your plants from the cold.