[updated Jan. 5 at 10:00 a.m.]
A strong cold front moved across the state of Florida on Monday, ushering in some of the coldest temperatures seen in more than a year, and sparking the first freeze and hard freeze watches and warnings of the season.
Temperatures ranging from the low- to mid-20s and 30s were reported up and down the peninsula.
Freeze watches and warnings were in effect Tuesday evening through Thursday morning for Central Florida and much of South Florida.
Mike Sparks, executive VP/CEO, Florida Citrus Mutual, says while it’s too early to tell the full extent of possible damage, he’s expecting a moderate impact. “Although by no means catastrophic, we have received reports of slush ice and twig and leaf damage. Of course we will not know the full extent of the damage for the next several days however I do expect at least a moderate impact. Last night it got a little colder than we originally expected particularly in low lying areas off the Ridge and in the Northern region where temperatures reached the mid to low 20s. The Gulf region also had reports in the 20s as well. Fortunately, the durations were not more than a couple hours in most cases. The River seems to have come through in the best shape with reports in the mid to low 30s.”
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association sources reported the temperature in Belle Glade dipped to 26ºF Wednesday morning. “Overall, Belle Glade bean and corn crops fared OK, patchy areas of damage.”
Temperatures (highs and lows) are expected to moderate the rest of this week.