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Florida cold spell brings flurries to Orlando

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Monday, January 11, 2010

FLORIDA

Cold snap brings flurries near Orlando

Freakishly cold weather continued to grip the South, with snow flurries spotted around Orlando and a record low set for Miami. Forecasters said Sunday that more of the same is expected.

About 100,000 tropical fish being raised on a fish farm in South Florida could not bear the cold. Michael Breen, 43, who owns Breen Acres Aquatics in the small town of Loxahatchee Groves just north of Miami, said temperatures dropped below 30 degrees overnight, leaving ice on his 76 ponds.

The ponds should be green because of the algae bloom that feeds baby fish, he said.

"But all the ponds are crystal clear, and fish are laying on the bottom. What we see on the surface died two days ago," he said, referring to the dead fish found floating Sunday morning.

Breen estimated he lost $535,000 in business because of the cold.

The National Weather Service issued a hard freeze warning for South Florida from Sunday night to Monday morning. A freeze watch will continue through Tuesday. In Northern Florida, temperatures are expected to drop to the lower 20s and mid-teens.

On Saturday night, a temperature of 35 degrees in Miami wasthe coldest on record since 1970, said Joel Rothfuss with the National Weather Service in Miami.

He said a record low of 37 on Monday, which was set in 1927, could also be broken, with predictions of another drop to 35 degrees.

For the first time in at least 30 years, Miami Metrozoo shut its doors because of the cold. Atlanta's zoo was closed because of icy trails, officials said. Temperatures in Atlanta stayed in the 30s over the weekend, with lows in the teens. The average high for Atlanta at this time of year is in the 50s with lows in the 30s.

The day of the Walt Disney World Marathon dawned with 28-degree temperatures in Orlando, though they climbed into the 40s by late afternoon. Average highs in the central Florida city are usually in the low 70s in this period.


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