There’s a hard freeze warning tonight for North and Central Florida and a freeze warning in South Florida. The governor has issued a state of emergency to help save orange and sugar crops. The weather has already caused millions of dollars in damage to vegetation and claimed the lives of several manatees.
Bill Osborne and a group of nature enthusiasts bundled up and headed outdoors Monday. “I love being out in this type of weather and seeing the wildlife, because this is when you really get to see what really is here.”
Bill watched manatees at Wakulla Springs fighting for their lives. The mammals hang by the headspring, where the water is warmer. And rub their bodies together to fight off cold stress. So far this year the weather has claimed the lives of 600 manatees.
Kipp Frohlich is a FWC Imperiled Species Manager. “It’s been a really bad year and now of course we are worried about it because it’s cold once again.”
Elsewhere in the state, farmers rush to harvest crops before temperatures in the low 20s claim them. Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency, allowing truck drivers to break weight restrictions to speed up the harvest.
Liz Compton is a Department of Agriculture spokeswoman. “Whoever has product that can come out of the ground they are harvesting; they are getting the products to the destination and hopefully mitigating the damage.”
And at home it’s a good idea to cover your plants with a sheet or blanket, and it’s also a good idea to let the family pet sleep inside for a few nights.
Temperatures in some parts of the state are expected to break records. The national weather service is issuing a freeze warning for the entire state, and a hard freeze warning for north and central Florida.
The staff at the state Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the weather and ready to activate if an emergency arises.