Temperatures quickly plunge in central Florida



ORLANDO, Fla. - The temperature has been falling quickly overnight across central Florida.

WFTV meteorologist Brian Shields said, "This morning, most temperatures are in the 20s and 30s, with wind chills making it feel even colder. Wind chills are down in the teens and 20s. Plus, we are close to record lows. We will stay chilly today with most of us not getting out of the 50s. It'll be cold again tonight, with some patchy frost, but our warm up will begin Wednesday afternoon."

Because of the cold, the Coalition for the Homeless will not turn anyone away.

But, not everyone is getting out of the cold.

Many homeless in Orange County chose to stay in their camps and brave the temperature.

"We worry about our clients a lot," said Nancy Pfaff of Health Care Center for the Homeless.

The Hope Team is part of the Health Care Center for the Homeless.

It said 95 percent of the people who live in homeless camps, often refuse to leave.

"It's their home and their choice, so we have to respect that," said Pfaff.

For those who stay, the group tries to give them what they need to stay warm.

"We'll make sure they have blankets. Do they have enough medication if it's going to be a few days of cold? Do they have enough food? If they've got fire pits, which most of them do, do they have enough wood?" said Pfaff.

The Hope Team said it received a new donation of blankets, and the group will pass them out Tuesday.

Meanwhile, growers in Lake County are keeping an eye on their citrus crops.

WFTV was at Showcase Citrus grove Tuesday morning.

Forecasters expect Orlando to feel the temperatures drop into the 20s, which is what concerns central Florida citrus growers.

When WFTV spoke with the growers, they said temperatures that reach the 40s do not concern them because those temperatures actually sweeten the fruit.

However, if the mercury drops down near the mid-20s, then they are looking at the high possibility of damaged fruit and possibly losing their crop.

There are a few things growers can do to protect their crop.  Watering them acts as a blanket and will protect them from freezing.

WFTV also saw other growers build up mounds of dirt around their smaller trees for insulation.  On Monday, the thermometer plunged at a rate of four degrees per minute.

Bill McGee of McGee Groves said, "There is not much you can do with the temperature, and you hope the temperature doesn't get too cold.  We are OK to about 28, 29 degrees. Below that, then it's anybody's guess."

The hard freeze warnings are posted through 10 a.m. Tuesday for Marion, Flagler, interior Volusia and Lake counties, with the rest of the area (except for southern Brevard) under a freeze warning.