Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday declared a state of emergency because of cold and freezing temperatures that are expected to last all week and weekend.
The order instructs the Florida Department of Transportation to relax size requirements for vehicles, which allows farmers a better chance of getting thawed crops to processing sites before they spoil. The order also opens the door for federal relief if damage is severe.
Overnight low temperatures have plunged into the 20s in areas north and east of Tampa this week. Though a slight warm-up is expected Thursday, another cold front will sweep in Friday, bringing even colder temperatures for the weekend. On Saturday, it will struggle to reach 50.
The state of emergency lasts until Sunday, after which forecasters expect temperatures to rise.