Miami-Dade County

Wind-chill will make it feel like low 30s overnight in South Florida

COLD CROSSING: Miami Shores Elementary School crossing guard, Joan Zephyrine is bundled up early Thursday morning as she waits to help children cross Northeast 6th Avenue and Northeast 103rd Street on a chilly morning. Zephyrine, formerly of New York, says the weather is a nice change and feels for her family who still live in New York.
COLD CROSSING: Miami Shores Elementary School crossing guard, Joan Zephyrine is bundled up early Thursday morning as she waits to help children cross Northeast 6th Avenue and Northeast 103rd Street on a chilly morning. Zephyrine, formerly of New York, says the weather is a nice change and feels for her family who still live in New York. Miami Herald Staff

Brenda Jahny-Miller came to Miami earlier this week for a vacation from the Chicago winter, where temperatures are below 0 and heaps of snow are piled up on the roads.

So South Florida’s brisk 50-degree weather Thursday morning didn’t stop her from lying on the beach with her bathing suit and sunglasses, ready to get the most out of her short vacation.

“It’s still better being here,” she said. “I’m just going to tough it out for awhile. … I didn’t even bring winter clothes.”

But if you’re a native Miamian, it’s time to bundle up and steer clear of the beach.

Temperatures were expected to keep dropping into the upper 30s in Miami-Dade and Broward. Interior neighborhoods will be even colder — the mid to upper 20s to low 30s. Indeed, a wind-chill advisory — wind chill! — is in effect across South Florida from 11 p.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday. The wind chill will make it feel like the lower 30s after midnight, according to the National Weather Service. This is the coldest it has been since January 2012.

A freeze warning is also in effect in South Florida, excluding the coastal areas, from 1-9 a.m. Friday, which means sub-freezing temperatures could kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.

John Alger, president of Alger Farms, a family-owned operation that has been in the Homestead area since 1934, spent much of Thursday overseeing irrigation of his fields. The water is warmer than the air.

“Everything I do for a freeze is preparation. Once the freeze is in place there are not a lot of weapons at my disposal,” Alger said. “We had a nice rain [Wednesday] so we’re refreshing everything with 10-minute splashdowns.”

Alger was trying to protect his fields, which includes 1,300 acres of sweet corn, 500 acres of snap beans and a 250-acre tree farm.

Camillus House, an organization that offers services for the homeless, is expanding its shelter resources in light of the cold, according to a news release. Camillus House will shelter 60 more people at its campus in Miami’s health district starting Thursday.

But good news: The cold front won’t last too long. Temperatures are expected to go up through the weekend, hitting the 70s by Saturday.

And even though some may be walking around in their winter jackets, Jahny-Miller wasn’t the only one braving the cold and wind Thursday.

Many people enjoyed their lunch outside on Miami Beach, albeit dining next to outdoor heaters.

And people here for vacation were determined to stay at the beach.

Kim Gilbert, who came from Dayton, Ohio, said “as long as the sun’s out,” she’ll be outside. Gilbert said she’s been coming down to South Florida for vacation for about 15 years.

“We love it,” she said, “because it’s minus-2 in Dayton, Ohio, right now.”

Gilbert did say this is the coldest she remembers. But she’s still planning to lie on the beach, do some shopping and enjoy her time.

“What’s not to love?” she said.

Miami Herald staff writer Howard Cohen contributed to this story. Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

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