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  1. Local Weather

How will Tampa Bay’s cold snap affect your week? (spoiler alert: it shouldn’t)

After two frosty days, the bay area will begin its thaw Wednesday afternoon.
Michael Stevens, 28, left, works to stay warm with friend Cash Holland, 21, right, outside the Boys and Girls Club of Tarpon Springs' cold night shelter on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, where the homeless men were among 28 people who took refuge from cooler weather which dipped to 36 degrees in north Pinellas County overnight. The shelter is funded through Pinellas County's Health and Human Services department and provided shelter and a hot breakfast for those who came. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | TImes]

How cold has it been in Florida this week? Somewhere between raining iguanas and really sweet strawberries. Which, as far as weather measurements go, is a uniquely Florida scale.

Bay area residents woke Monday and Tuesday to the coldest temperatures we’ve had since January 2018, almost paradoxical to the record-setting warmth that rang in the new year and persisted until a few weeks ago.

While the air pressure stayed just above freezing, wind chill made it feel more like the upper 20s. Even Tampa International Airport felt the chill, tweeting a letter to the sun that said, “We’re sorry we wished you away. We were sweating, and it was hot outside. Please come back and warm our souls. We miss you. It’s too cold.”

The good news, though? We’re out of the (figuratively) snow-capped woods. Spectrum Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay said the weather should be heading back to average temperatures starting tomorrow. Wednesday will warm up to around 60, then only drop to 50 overnight before heading back into the 70s for Thursday.

In Plant City, temperatures dipped down to 31, almost enough to threaten strawberry crops, but just enough to provide a sweeter fruit yield.

“Cold weather always slows down production and ripening,” Nick Wishnatzki, marketing project manager for Wish Farms told the Tampa Bay Times. “Volumes will be low for the next week or so, but the berries stay on the vine longer, which increases their sugar content. Any berries picked from here on out should be really sweet.”

Organic Festival variety strawberries are boxed in the field by workers at Wish Farms in Duette, Fl. The farm has 140 acres of organic strawberries. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

While the wind might’ve prompted some to reach for their scarves and gloves Wednesday morning, Wishnatzki said it actually helped keep frost off the fruit and protected crops.

Further south, the National Weather Service had to issue the rare warning to watch out for falling iguanas. The invasive species gets stunned by the cold and fall from their perches on trees. While they might look dead, they’re actually not. In Dania beach, Local 10 News reporter Parker Branton even stumbled upon some downed iguanas on the way to work.

Clay added that, while the area could see the normal pattern of cold fronts swinging through every few days, temperatures shouldn’t deviate too far from normal and certainly won’t drop this low for at least the next two weeks. So, if you’re planning on hitting Gasparilla this weekend, you can expect temperatures in the 60s to 70s, with a small chance of rain across the region.