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Tourists Can't Escape Cold, As Locals Take Precautions For Pets & Plants

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tourists traded the usual flip flops and bathing suits on South Beach for sweaters and scarves Thursday.

"I think its terrible! It's supposed to be sun and fun and people in bikinis," Todd Rotundi said. "I felt like I left Boston to come to Miami and I arrived in Boston!"

But not all visitors are complaining.

"This is summer. We can go swimming in this weather," said Chuck Kelley, visiting from Massachusetts. "We have eight feet of snow up there."

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A family on holiday from Switzerland didn't mind the cooler weather.

"Well, it's zero degrees centigrade in Switzerland, so we like this," a woman named Monica said.

Sure winter temperatures in the 30s and 40s may not be anything out of the norm for the rest of the country, but for South Florida, temperatures like these prompt advisories for extra precautions around the home to keep plants, pets and people safe.

"Part of me loves it but it does require some preparation," said Gina Nguyen who is preparing for the cold. "I brought my pets in since yesterday.  I have birds so I put them in the garage.  And some of the plants, I do cover."

Plant nurseries all across South Florida have been getting ready for the cold spell that could potentially bring recording-breaking temps to the area, which could cause damage to plants.

At Galloway Farm Nursery in SW Miami-Dade, staff members have been watering plants and covering them up with frost blankets to protect.

The temperatures, paired with the high winds, can kill plants that are not protected.

The manager at Galloway Farm Nursery said watering plants helps raise the temperature of the soil and the blanket also helps keep the plants warm.

" I would water now during the daytime and then in the morning get up a little early before the sun comes up and see what the temperature is.  If it's below 40, I would turn on the sprinkler system," said Richard Springmyer with the Galloway Farm Nursery.

In Homestead, Sam Accursio from Accursio and Sons Farm kept watch over the irrigation system in one 700 acre plot of land filled with pickles and squash.

"Some people think it's freezing and you put water on the plant, isn't that going to turn to ice? But it helps," Accursio said.

He says they'll continually spray the crops with warm water overnight and hope for the best.

"We thought we were going to be lucky and make it out this year. It's late for this cold. They say we're going to set records," he said.

It's not just plants that need to be protected, keep in mind the other three of the '4 P's;' pets, pipes, people.

Miami-Dade County Animal Services reminds pet owners to consider their safety during the cold weather. It is recommended that all pets be kept inside with a warm place to sleep this evening and during any period of cooler weather.

If a pet cannot be brought inside, they must be given proper shelter and bedding for warmth. It is required by law to provide shelter for outdoor dogs at all times. Puppies and elderly dogs do not tolerate cold as well as adult dogs.

Also, it is recommended to tap the hood and check between tires of cars before starting as outdoor cats will sometimes crawl into the engine or hide underneath the car.

City of Miami Fire Rescue reminds people to check their carbon monoxide alarms and their heating devices before use.

"Check the cords.  Make sure there's no cracks in the cord.  Make sure it's not dusty. Make sure it's been properly inspected and it has the proper tags on it," said Capt. Ignatius Carroll with the City of Miami Fire Rescue.

The cold weather also means shelters will have to make more room.

Miami Rescue Mission and Broward Outreach centers are preparing for at least 150 additional homeless people and said they won't turn anyone away.

"We're preparing extra food, extra blankets, extra mats for the people to be able to stay here," said Antonio Villasuso with the Miami Rescue Mission.

For weather updates all day every day, get CBSMiami's Weather app. click here


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