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Tourists, Locals Bundle Up For Another Chilly Day

MIAMI (CBS4) - It's another really chilly day across South Florida. After temperatures dipped into the mid-30s early Wednesday morning they heated up to about 60 degrees by early afternoon.

On Miami Beach, Deborah Paulhus said the cool weather is a nice change.

"I think it's a refreshing change from all the heat we've had. It surely hasn't discouraged the tourists," said Paulhus.

Johan Svensson, who's visiting from Sweden, said he just couldn't believe how cold it was as he and his family hit the shops on Lincoln Road.

"We are coming from Sweden and were expecting some good warm weather and here we are close to freezing temperatures," said Svensson. "In the beginning it was quite good weather so we are enjoying ourselves despite the weather."

The cold hasn't been kind to outdoor restaurants either.

Andrew Braken with Tasti D Lite, which serves frozen all natural deserts, has patio seating. He said the chilly temps have hurt his business by nearly 75 percent.

"A lot of the bigger businesses they can afford the heaters and stuff but for the small businesses its kind of hitting home," said Braken.

It was another busy morning for farmers in southwest Miami-Dade as they worked through the night and into the morning to protect their tender crops.

For a second day farmers were forced to keep an eye on the thermometer as the temperature plunged into the mid-30s. Farmers say the 'danger' temperature for them is 34 degrees but while Wednesday morning's low temperatures were a bit cooler than Tuesday's, they did not reach that mark.

While some farms opted to play it safe to water their crops to insulate them from the cold, others adopted a wait and see approach.

"We had a few patches of frost here and there and that's it. The good news is there was no freeze. We didn't have to irrigate or turn the water pumps on; thank goodness, looks like we're going to be ok," said Sam Accursio who grows mainly squash, beans, and tomatoes.

While there were patches of frost, the possibility of a freeze was what really had farmers concerned. Fortunately, Wednesday's temperatures and wind chills were not cold enough to damage the crops.

"Freezing weather would be pretty bad, we lost 70 percent of our crops last year," said John Alger of Alger Farms. "Once we put water on there's really not much else we can do."

Last January, farmers in South Florida lost millions of dollars when freezing cold temperatures killed their crops. They're hoping they don't see a repeat of those conditions this year.

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