Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay's big chill gives way to warming trend

Farmers were relieved Monday as warm weather moved back into the Tampa Bay region, ending some anxious moments over a chilly weekend.

"From the temperatures we were seeing, it wasn't quite as bad as what we were expecting," said Joe Gude of Brandon Farms, who had 400 acres to look after overnight. "I think it'll be a minimal impact."

Temperatures climbed into the 60s Monday and are expected to rise into the 70s and 80s through the week.

That's good news for many farmers who spent the weekend protecting their crops from the cold.

The National Weather Service issued a hard-freeze warning for Pasco, Hernando, Citrus and Levy counties until 9 a.m. Monday, sending farmers to their fields for the night, spraying their strawberries with a protective layer of water.

Carl Grooms of Fancy Farms in eastern Hillsborough County said he had water running about 2 a.m. to protect his 235 acres.

Once the water was running, it was a matter of keeping the flow and looking for signs of trouble.

"You just continue that vigil," he said.

It's too early to tell if the coldest night of the season had much of an impact on the crops at JG Ranch in Hernando County, but owner George Casey says the plants were well-insulated.

"Everything looks really good," he said.

Temperatures at the farm, located off Wiscon Road southwest of Brooksville, dropped into the mid 20s for several hours overnight, Casey said. The sprinklers were turned on at 9 p.m. and ran for 12 hours.

His strawberry and blueberry plants had a healthy layer of clear ice over them — a good sign.

It's the same story at Aventura Nursery & Landscape in Spring Hill.

"To be honest, we had such a good notice," manager Amber Stulley said. "We were prepared for it."

They didn't see any damage, she said.

Gude said he doesn't expect any issues with sinkholes as in years past because farmers haven't tapped repeatedly into the aquifer.

"This is basically our first real freeze of the season," he said.

The nights are expected to be cool across Tampa Bay for the rest of the week — in the 40s and 50s — but starting today, temperatures should be in the 70s during the day, said Juli Marquez, Bay News 9 meteorologist.

Rain will be minimal at best, she said, with a 10 percent chance tonight.

Tampa Bay's big chill gives way to warming trend 02/18/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.