Preparing for near freezing temperatures

Posted at 11:54 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 10:51:20-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- Treasure Coast residents could be feeling the coldest weather of the year Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Efforts have been underway to prepare for the dip in temperature to protect people and plants, and keep businesses from taking a hit to their profits.

Several cold weather shelters were set up in Martin County by the American Red Cross.

"We can easily help 15 or 20 people," said volunteer Mary Armbrust at one of the locations.

She expected some of the homeless people in Martin County would seek refuge from the cold, beginning preparations on Tuesday.

"When the temperature drops to 37 degrees and it's expected to last for three hours or more then we open the shelter," Armburst said.

Steve Miller at Legacy Nursery in Palm City started preparing Wednesday afternoon for possible frost overnight.

"All day they had it at 39 [degrees] and they dropped it to 37 so we decided to do some extra preparations," Miller said.

That included covering the most vulnerable plants, like Christmas Palms, with frost blankets. He also can water the ground more frequently to lock in some warmth.

"If I have cold damage on the leaves of our plants and palms I can't sell it because no one wants to look at a burned palm in their yard," Miller said.

Patrons in downtown Stuart were bundled up Wednesday night, some stopping in businesses just to get out of the cold.

Many packed into one business you might expect would be struggling the most this time of year: an ice-cream shop.

"People still come for the ice cream, it's ironic," said Kilwin's employee Jaymie Cavaretti. "I don't know why. They just crave ice-cream when they're cold."

Some of those patrons, seasonal residents, say the 30-degree temperatures in Florida are still welcome compared to what they could be facing up north.