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Deadly December for Crops in Sunshine State

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - Kelly Montalvo drove from Palm Beach to Tallahassee this weekend, to tour FSU’s campus with her daughter Alexandria. They stopped by the state capitol for a quick picture. They were greeted by ice.

“We are not used to that kind of weather over here,” said Kelly.

When they made it to campus, the Heritage Tower, also known as “The Torches,” was anything but on fire. Ice hung from the fountain’s arches and clung to its pillars. Alexandria likes the campus, but the weather is giving her pause.

“It’s really, really new to me. I was like, ugh, it’s too cold for me. And I got like a sinus headache and stuff. I’m not used to this kind of weather,” said Alexandria.

On Sunday in Tallahassee, there was a brief moment of snow flurries. It didn’t last long, but snow was the headline in local papers.

Winds out of the north are expected to bring freezing temperatures to South Florida Monday night and Tuesday morning. There’s a freeze warning through Wednesday. Deputy State Meteorologist Michelle Palmer is keeping a close eye on the action.

“This is the same weather system that’s producing the blizzard conditions up in New England so it’s really affecting the entire eastern half of the county,” said Palmer.

Citrus farmers are spraying their crops with water to form a layer of ice around the fruit. The ice locks in heat allowing the oranges and strawberries to stay a few degrees warmer. This month alone the weather has claimed 114 million dollars in crops. More damage is expected before year’s end.

The freezes this month haven’t hurt farmers as much as last January’s 13 day freeze. That cold snap cost farmers an estimated 500-million dollars in crop damage.

EOC Cold Weather Tips

A wind chill advisory is in effect for all of Florida tonight, and a freeze warning is reaching into South Florida. Temperatures are expected to dip into the 20’s tonight. Emergency workers are asking people to keep warm, let the family pet sleep inside, cover plants and watch pipes. Mike DeLorenzo, chief of Florida’s Bureau of Response, says people need to use caution if they plan to keep warm by a fire.

“Make sure that you are cognizant that we are in a drought situation with a lack of rainfall. You should be careful around fire situations. Make sure you take all the precaution you can,” said DeLorenzo.

DeLorenzo says space heaters need to be watched closely and if you use candles never leave then unattended.


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