Cold front brings winter weather to central Fla.



CENTRAL FLORIDA - Central Florida will continue to experience chilly temperatures through the weekend, with overnight lows dropping down to the 20's and 30's, according to meteorologists.

Much-needed rain swept through central Florida Thursday night, bringing in a strong cold front Friday. The cold front has blanketed the region with winter weather, bringing the coldest air of the season and prompting freeze watches and warnings.

Already, central Florida had a 20-25 degree temperature on Friday, according to meteorologist Eboni Deon.

"Temperatures are a good 5 to 10 degrees below average during the day, and as much as 15 degrees below average at night right now," Deon said.

As of Saturday morning, Marion County was under a freeze warning until 9 a.m. Sunday. Lake County and Volusia County are under freeze watches until Sunday morning.

"These conditions will definitely remain through the weekend, but we will warm up slightly as we get closer to Christmas," Deon said.

Growers across central Florida were preparing for the cold temperatures. Workers at Focal Point Nursery and Supplies in Geneva went into high gear Friday in preparation for the weekend.

Michael Crowthers and his crew spent part of the afternoon covering plants susceptible to the cold weather. Perennials, annuals and soft tissue-type plants had thick cloths draped over them to shield them from the chilly night air.

"It keeps the heat up underneath it.  It also keeps the frost off of it," said Crowthers.

Crowthers said that if the temperature drops more on Saturday night they will cover nearly every plant in the 21-acre nursery.

He said he is hoping for a breezy evening because it tends to keep frost from forming on the plants.

"If you have a good wind blowing it's good for the plant material to actually get hardened off or acclimated to the cold temperature," said Crowthers.

Another round of freezing weather is expected Sunday morning. With lighter winds, central Florida can expect to see a higher coverage of frost. 

Make sure pets have warm shelter and don’t forget to cover tender plants in the freeze warning areas.

Winter officially began at 6:12 a.m. EST on Friday.