Across Broward and Palm Beach counties people squeezed in outdoor activities on a sunny but cold Saturday, getting ready for the possibility of staying inside Sunday, when temperatures could be in the 30s with wind chills making it feel as though it’s in the 20s.
Freeze warnings, wind chill warnings and a wind advisory have been issued for Broward and Palm Beach counties this weekend as South Florida braces for its coldest temperatures in more than a decade.
National Weather Service forecasters expect temperatures to range from the low 30s to the upper 30s Saturday night and Sunday morning in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Freezing is 32 degrees.
The wind chill could make it feel as though it’s in the upper 20s Sunday morning.
Perhaps that’s why people were enjoying the day Saturday.
Grand Palms Golf Course did its usual amount of winter business, meaning the Pembroke Pines facility was busy all day.
“Right now, we’re fully booked,” said director of golf Chris Moraco.
The same was true for the Elbo Room, the legendary bar on Fort Lauderdale beach.
“We have live music,” said bouncer/bar back Adam Ginsberg. “Live music always attracts people.”
The Palm Beach Zoo was preparing its animals for Sunday’s cold snap. The North American black bears, Lewis and Clark, like it, according to Mike Terrell, general curator for the Palm Beach Zoo.
“The animals we’re most concerned about are animals like our reptiles, the ones that can’t regulate their body temperature,” he said.
The tortoises, for example, have a custom heated barn for cold weather.
As for South Florida’s human residents, Hollywood beach had lots of hardy souls walking and biking on its paved Broadwalk in the afternoon, dining at the numerous restaurants and having a cocktail or two at the bars.
Saturday’s temperatures were in the low 50s with an almost constant 20 mph wind that gusted to about 30 mph in the early afternoon.
Hollywood beach lifeguards call days such as Saturday an “easy money day.”
They work their usual 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, but there’s little for them to do because so few people are on the sand or in the water.
The cold, blustery conditions are why lifeguard Emi Ochoa watched in amazement from the M-9 lifeguard stand at Fillmore Street when three men jumped into the rough surf with boogie boards. They were wearing swim trunks, not wet suits.
“I don’t know how they do it,” Ochoa said.
It turns out she was only talking about going in the water without a wet suit.
Ochoa, a surfer, said grabbing her board Sunday and riding some waves remains a possibility.
“I might go out there,” she said.
Here’s a brief rundown of what South Florida will face this weekend:
- A wind chill warning is in effect for inland Palm Beach County from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. Sunday with the “feels like” temperature expected to be as low as 20 degrees.
- A wind chill advisory is in effect for Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties from 1 a.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. Sunday with “feels like” temperatures expected to be as low as 25 degrees.
- A freeze warning is in effect for inland Broward and inland Palm Beach counties from 1 a.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. Sunday with temperatures as low as 30 degrees expected.
- A wind advisory is in effect for Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties until 7 p.m. Saturday with northwest winds from 20 to 25 mph and gusts up to 30 mph.
But the warnings didn’t daunt some people.
Moraco said Grand Palms is fully booked for golf Sunday, when morning tee times could occur in temperatures in the mid 30s.
“At this time of year, we get a lot of Canadians,” Moraco said. “They don’t mind it.”
Ginsberg said the Elbo Room usually has about a 50-50 mix of locals and out-of-towners, and most of the visitors are from northern states that are, as usual, feeling more cold weather than South Florida.
Ginsberg is expecting a good crowd Sunday, even in freezing conditions.
“It shouldn’t be any different than any other Sunday,” he said.
Terrell said the zoo will be open during its normal hours Sunday.
“The zoo has weather emergency plans for every contingency,” Terrell said.
He said they usually get between 1,600 and 1,800 people on a Sunday. Terrell is expecting up to 70% of their usual crowd Sunday.
“Cooler weather is usually a really great time to come to the zoo,” he said.
Cold weather shelters open
The Palm Beach County Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management activated its Cold Weather Emergency Shelter Plan in order to protect those seeking refuge during the overnight period.
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The shelter locations begin opening at 7 p.m. Saturday, and will close as necessary based on weather conditions. The shelters are located at the Therapeutic Recreation Center (2728 Lake Worth Road) and Belle Glade Intake Center (341 NW 11th St.).
For more information on the Cold Weather Shelters or bus pickups, please go to Cold Weather Shelters or call: 561-712-6400.
Broward County declared a two-day weather emergency from 6 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Monday. Homeless residents are advised to report to shelters no later than 6 p.m. Saturday or Sunday.
In Broward County, shelter locations are The Salvation Army, 1445 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; The South Homeless Assistance Center, 2056 Scott St., Hollywood; and 1700 Blount Road, Pompano Beach.
A bus will leave The Salvation Army in Fort Lauderdale at 5:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday nights to take people to other locations. People must be at The Salvation Army no later than 5:30 p.m. to board the bus and space is limited.