Local visitors react to winter chill amid drop in temperatures

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A chill in the air across South Florida was greeted with mixed emotions by South Florida visitors, Tuesday night.

Jackets, hoodies and scarves were on ample display along Lincoln Road on South Beach as people bundled up to deal with the cold weather. The thermometer may have read 69 degrees, but the whipping winds made it feel considerably colder.

Restaurants and businesses even began using their heaters amid the cooler weather. “Every time you get a chance to see people wear their jackets and scarves — it’s different,” said a man.

Montreal resident Maria Parrado came to South Florida to escape freezing temperatures back home, but it seems as if she brought some of that cold weather along for her trip.

“Look at me! I look like I’m in Canada!” said Parrado.

She added, “Now it’s very cold, and it’s unusual. My daughter says it’s kind of like the end of the world ’cause we don’t know what’s going on.”

Meanwhile, in Fort Lauderdale, a family from Germany made some tweaks in their holiday plans, but the visitors were well aware that it could be a whole lot worse.

“It’s not snowing. In Germany, it would be snowing,” said Mark Davis.

“Today’s our last day. We would spend the day on the beach, and instead we had to spend it indoors,” said John Davis. “It’s not as bad as Germany, where it’s minus five [degrees] right now.”

Elsewhere across the state, snow flurries were spotted outside Orlando.

The cold snap forced Orlando-area water parks to close down. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Universal’s Volcano Bay and SeaWorld’s Aquatica have been closed since Monday.

In Tampa, a herd of manatees stayed warm by huddling together and moving closer to shore.

Tallahassee also felt chilly. Temperatures fell to around 27 degrees Fahrenheit, forming icicles on statutes at the capital and at Florida State University.

The cold even delayed the start of construction on campus. “Yeah, it’s gotta be 40 and above and climbing to work on it,” said construction worker John Bartlett. “Yes, it’s the coldest part of the year, and I’m glad it’s only going to be a week.”

And as the mercury continues to drop, officials gave a few reminders to stay safe:

  • dress in layers
  • check on elderly neighbors
  • protect pets
  • bring plants indoors
  • observe caution with space heaters

Officials said space heaters can pose a safety hazard if not used properly. “The first thing you want to do is, you want to thoroughly inspect it. Make sure you have no debris around the space heater,” said City of Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll. “You want to check the cords. Make sure that the cords are completely intact.”

Temperatures are expected to plummet into the 40s on Thursday and Friday in South Florida.

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