South Floridians woke up Tuesday morning to temperatures hovering around the very low 40s that sometimes felt like the mid-30s because of the wind chill factor.
In Fort Lauderdale, a low temperature record of 42 degrees for Dec. 7 that had been in place for 169 years was broken, said Dan Gregoria, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.
"It was at 7:24 a.m. when the temperature reached 40 degrees," Gregoria said.
Clutching a steaming cup of coffee and rushing to her job at a downtown bank, Roxanne Moss, 48, said, "It's nice, it's a change, but I hope it doesn't last long."
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Raul Urbina, 43, spends much of his workday outdoors, tending to the landscaping and maintenance of some Fort Lauderdale businesses, and finds exceedingly cold temperatures bothersome.
"I work outside every day," he said. "It makes everything more difficult."
Broward County officials declared a state of emergency because of the cold weather early Monday afternoon, while Palm Beach County activated its cold weather emergency shelter plan. Both actions prompted homeless shelters to open early to crowds seeking a warm place to sleep.
A total of 197 people spent Monday night at the three shelters opened by the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership and the Salvation Army of Broward County, officials said.
Most of those, 71, were at the North Homeless Assistance Center in Pompano Beach.
81 people stayed at the two shelters open in Palm Beach County, officials said.
Shelters in both counties are reopening Tuesday night because of the lingering cold weather.
Early Tuesday, most agents with the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service went into the fields to check on crops in the Glades and along the coast, according to agency Director Audrey Norman.
Freezing temperatures also endanger millions of dollars of agricultural crops.
It's still too early to measure the impact of the frigid weather, Norman said. The agency will likely have a better idea Tuesday afternoon.
By late afternoon Monday, small crowds were already appearing at the front steps of shelters throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties.
At Runway Growers in Dania Beach, owner Jamie Hayes spent Monday afternoon on his tractor spraying water and protective chemicals for his crops and plants. The grower lost about $500,000 in damaged crops in January.
"This is never good news," he said. "We are always going to expect some damage, but hopefully nothing like last winter."
Schools remained open Tuesday, and the Broward school district on Monday sent notices to parents encouraging students to wear warm clothes, such as caps and mittens.
In Fort Lauderdale, the coldest temperature for a Dec. 7 was recorded 169 years ago — at 42 degrees.
For Dec. 7, the record low for Palm Beach County is 36, set in 1937; Miami's record is 35, set in 1937. (Fort Lauderdale had a higher temp for a record because its sensor was closer to the coast, where the weather tends to stay slightly warmer.)
For Dec. 8, the record low for Palm Beach County is 43, set in 1937; Fort Lauderdale is 43, set in 1959; and Miami is 38, set in 1937.
The weather service also posted a fire alert — mainly for brush fires — from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The increased fire risk stems from the combination of warm daytime temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.