Cold Weather in the Sunshine State
During the harsh winter of 1989-1990, 26 Floridians died of hypothermia. Because of normally mild temperatures, Florida homes often lack adequate heating and insulation and the Florida outdoor lifestyle leads to danger for those not prepared. In addition to the actual temperature, when the wind blows, a wind chill (the temperature that it feels like) is experienced on exposed skin.
When freezing temperatures or low wind chills are expected, the National Weather Service will issue warnings or advisories.
For more information, view the Severe Weather Awareness Guide for Florida from the State Emergency Response Team (SERT).
What is Wind Chill?
The wind chill is the cooling effect due to the combination of temperature and wind. It is expressed as the loss of body heat.
5 P's of Cold Weather Preparedness
- Protect People
- Protect Plants
- Protect Pets
- Protect Exposed Pipes
- Practice Fire Safety
What to do to Prepare for Cold Weather
- Stay indoors and use safe heating sources. Do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills that produce carbon monoxide.
- Be aware of the fire danger from space heaters and candles, keep such devices away from all flammable materials such as curtains and furniture, and install recommended smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- When outdoors, stay dry and in wind-protected areas.
- Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing.
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat high-calorie foods.
Cold Weather Terms
- Freeze - When the surface temperature is below freezing (32ºF) over a large area for a significant period of time
- Freeze - It also is a term used for the condition when vegetation is injured by these low air temperatures, regardless if frost is deposited
- Freeze Warning - Issued by the National Weather Service to make agricultural interests and the public aware of anticipated freeze conditions over a large area
- Hard Freeze Warning - Issued by the National Weather Service to make agricultural interests and the public aware of anticipated freeze conditions that are of four-hour duration or greater, below 28ºF, and over a large area
- Frost - A cover of ice crystals produced by deposition of atmospheric water directly on a surface at or below freezing