Frosty Florida: Season’s First Cold Spell Passes through the State

Freezing temperatures damaged crops in western Palm Beach County, manatees took refugee in warm waters, and shelters housed the homeless as the season’s first cold spell passed through the state on Wednesday.

Icicles cling to a fence outside a strawberry field just after sunrise in Thonotosassa, Florida. (Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

As a cold front passes through, manatees take refuge in the warmer waters of Blue Spring in Orange City, Florida. Blue Spring State Park rangers counted 293 manatees, the highest for this winter season. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

Manatees congregate in the warm water at the intake canal for the old FPL plant in Riviera Beach. Good news for chilly manatees: Cold weather deaths dropped 12 percent last year despite record low temperatures. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, about 25 percent of manatee deaths in 2011 were due to cold weather. In 2010, about 38 percent of the 766 manatee deaths were due to “cold stress.” (Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post)

Serviceman Melvin Thomas keeps warm next to a diesel burn pot at the Roth Farms maintenance facility off of highway 880 near 20 mile bend Wednesday morning. Overnight temperatures reached the low 30’s in some western parts of the county, and farmers were out early checking on any damage. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

A layer of protective ice covers a new strawberry blossom in a field in Dover, Florida. Farmers spray a coating of water over their plants to help keep them from freeze damage. Temperatures in central Florida dipped into the 20’s overnight. (Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

Carl Groom, of Fancy Farms in Plant City, Florida, sprays his strawberries with water to help protect them from freeze damage. (Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

Willie Stacy, 19, tries to keep warm standing in the sun outside the Red Cross shelter at the Palm Beach County Westgate Park and Recreation Center in West Palm Beach. The last three weeks Willie has been without a home after he was asked to leave his sister’s home. (Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post)

Jennifer Suttles gets a kiss from her daughter Briella, 2, before leaving the Red Cross shelter at the Palm Beach County Westgate Park and Recreation Center. The Red Cross shelter housed 67 people overnight as temperatures fell in the area. (Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post)

Rick Roth, owner of Roth Farms Inc., checks for frost damage in a parsley field on his land in Belle Glade Wednesday morning. He said on this field, the conditions looked good. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

In Belle Glade, romaine lettuce at Roth Farms, Inc. and a bean plant at a farm run by Knight Management Inc. show wind and frost damage from temperatures that dipped into the 30’s overnight. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

In Belle Glade, romaine lettuce at Roth Farms, Inc. and a bean plant at a farm run by Knight Management Inc. show wind and frost damage from temperatures that dipped into the 30’s overnight. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

Icicles cling to oranges in a small grove just after sunrise in Seffner, Florida. (Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

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