110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Jan 6, 2014 - 5:02:03pm
Updated 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7 — The temperature was hovering at only around 34 degrees at 10:25 a.m. this morning, but that's above freezing. With a breeze of 13 mph, however, it feels like 25 degrees, Weather Underground reported.
Dana Venrick, retired county extension agent and owner of Quality Green Specialists, with a garden center at 1639 N. Spring Garden Ave. in DeLand, said the thermometer there recorded a low of 32 degrees — not as low as expected.
"We were lucky," and there was no damage, he said.
There may have been minor damage to foliage, especially in Northwest Volusia, where temperatures are often slightly lower, Venrick said.
Today's high is forecast to reach 46 degrees, 20 degrees colder than normal, and tonight's low is expected to dip to 36 degrees. A warming trend will bring a high of around 79 Friday and a high of 83, according to this morning's forecast.
Previously reported — West Volusians may take comfort in knowing that while it will freeze here tonight, they won't be subjected to low temperatures like those in Fargo, N.D., of 32 degrees below zero. It is expected to freeze, however, with a low of 28 degrees (above zero) expected.
The culprit is something called a polar vortex, sort of an arctic cyclone, which is spinning counterclockwise around the pole and sending an arctic blast into the U.S.
The Florida Departments of Health in Central Florida issued cold-weather precautions in light of the freeze and wind chill expected tonight.
"Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature,” said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.
Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water. Victims of hypothermia are often elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; people who remain outdoors for long periods ― the homeless, hikers, hunters — and people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
Remember the "Five P's" of cold-weather safety which are: Protecting People, Protecting Plants, Protecting Pets, Protecting Exposed Pipes, and Practicing Fire Safety. To stay cozy and safe during cold weather, remember these safety tips:
• Stay indoors and use safe heating sources.
• When outdoors, stay dry and wear multiple layers of loosefitting, warm clothing.
• Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Use of extension cords may lead to circuit overload and cause a fire.
• Keep space heaters away from drapery, furniture or other flammable material. A good rule of thumb is to keep space heaters at least 36 inches from anything flammable.
• Do not leave space heaters unattended.
• Do not use a stove or oven as a heat source. An open oven door or lit stove burners can be dangerous and are ineffective as a heat source.
• Never use grills as an indoor heating source. Charcoal and propane emit carbon monoxide gasm and are not suitable for indoor use.
• Candles are unsafe and ineffective as a heat source. Never leave candles lit in an unattended room or when going to sleep.
• When using a fireplace, make sure it is properly vented and that the chimney is cleaned periodically to avoid flash fires.
• Do not burn anything in the fireplace other than firewood and do not leave a fire burning when going to sleep.
• Install smoke detectors, and make sure they work.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector if you have any gas appliances.
• Review and practice your family’s fire escape plan. For more information on cold-weather safety, visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s website at www.floridadisaster.org.
The good news is that tonight's freeze is the only one expected in West Volusia this week. The arctic blast is moving fast. While the high tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 7, is forecast to reach only 47 degrees — cold for this area — a warming trend will begin after that, with a high of nearly 80 degrees by Friday, Jan. 10.
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