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Florida Takes Out Jackets and Stokes the Fireplace

January 8, 1996

MIAMI (AP) _ Tourists bundled up today and farmers kept watch over tender crops as the storm that paralyzed northern states also brought freezing weather to Florida.

Overnight temperatures were as many as 20 degrees below normal in some parts of the state this morning. Tallahassee had a low of 24 degrees, with a wind chill near zero.

The Miami area had lows in the 40s, but the wind chill was 24 degrees during the morning rush.

Citrus growers were alert but temperatures would have to drop to 28 degrees before much damage would be done, said Norman Todd, who manages about 3,000 acres in Hendry County. That’s in in southern Florida, where temperatures stayed above freezing.

``We’ll sit here with our fingers crossed,″ he said.

But growers of leafy vegetables had reason for concern. The cold and the wind could burn the outer edges of tender leaves, forcing growers to ship their crop to packing companies ahead of time, said Ray Gilmer, spokesman for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.

Tourists had to adjust their plans.

``Of course we won’t be able to go to the beach. I don’t know what we’ll do _ probably stuff indoors,″ said Scott Hedeman, of Grand Rapids, Mich., who’s vacationing at Miami Beach.

One European visitor had a rosier outlook:

``It’s still nice here. It’s much colder in Paris,″ said Samuel Hattab of Paris.

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