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1. South Florida residents buying firewood, propane ahead of frigid forecast
Computer models continue to predict even colder weather this weekend across South Florida with temperatures in the 20s and 30s Sunday morning, the coldest the region has experienced since January 2010.
Some stores have sold out of firewood and there’s been a rush for propane. At Produce Depot in Loxahatchee Groves, the supply of firewood was empty.
The American Red Cross is also preparing by putting volunteers on standby if any cold weather shelters need to be opened in our area.
2. How to find free N95 masks
In an effort to slow the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 omicron variant, starting Friday local pharmacies will be handing out free N95 masks.
The Biden Administration announced last week that it is distributing 400 million masks across the country.
Masks will be available at select stores including CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Winn-Dixie, and Walmart. A full list of the participating locations can be found here.
3. How Fed hikes could affect mortgages, car loans, card rates
The Federal Reserve is stepping in after a long run of lower interest rates. The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it will begin raising its benchmark interest rate as soon as March — and probably a few additional times this year
Buyers are already facing delays getting the car they want because of inventory. Waiting too long could mean you’ll be paying more now that interest rates are set to go up. But financial experts say there are also pros to rising rates.
William Luther, an associate professor of economics at Florida Atlantic University, says the forces pushing up interest rates will also cause an increase in production of goods and services plus more employment opportunities.
4. The SAT is going digital
In January, the College Board announced it would move the standardized test to an online format in the U.S. in 2024, following a pilot program in 2021.
The exam will now be two hours rather than three hours, students can use calculators built into the platforms and the reading sections will be more straightforward as well.
When 2024 rolls out, students are going to likely have a choice to do it in a testing center, alone, or an at-school SAT. What they will not be able to do, however, is take that test remote and at home, as they were able to in May of 2020 for the AP exam, which was also created by the College Board.
5. Minnie Mouse and the M&Ms get makeovers
Disney announced that Minnie Mouse would exchange her signature red polka dot dress for a Stella McCartney pantsuit in honor of Disneyland Paris' 30th-anniversary celebration.
M&M’s also announced this week that it’s updating the look of its colorful characters. The changes mostly have to do with shoes — specifically, the heels worn by the green and brown M&Ms,. The former is kicking off her white go-go boots for a pair of sneakers, while the latter has switched from stilettos to a more practical pair of kitten heels.
While companies often update character designs, these two changes caused a lot of commotion on social media. In all honestly, I'm still trying to figure out why.
Foggy conditions for the morning drive, strong cold front arrives tonight
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On This Day In History
At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.
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