While the New York City area, New England and Mid-Atlantic states braced for a powerful nor’easter slated to pound the region with snow this weekend, Floridians were being warned to watch out for something entirely different falling from above: iguanas.
The same Canadian cold front that’s helping fuel the blockbuster storm forming in the Atlantic is going to bring frigid temps to the Sunshine State — cold enough to knock iguanas from the trees.
“A strong cold front, with an air mass originating from northern Canada, will push through South Florida Friday night, and move off the southeast Florida coast during the pre-dawn hours of Saturday,” the National Weather Service in Miami said in an advisory.
“We’re going to hear about temperatures down in Florida in the low 30s even in parts of central and south Florida, with frost and freeze possibility,” Accuweather senior meteorologist Paul Walker told the Daily News on Thursday.
“Very cold weather is expected this weekend, with low temperatures dropping below freezing across the interior on Saturday night,” the National Weather Service said. “Wind chills could dip into the upper 20s across a large portion of the interior. Frost will also be a concern, especially Sunday night.”
Saturday night into Sunday morning will be the coldest temperatures, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. The Everglades and western Palm Beach County could see freezing or below.
“Frigid weekend ahead starting with a Freeze Watch for Fri night,” the National Weather Service in Jacksonville tweeted with a warning for southeastern Georgia and much of northeastern Florida.
The possibly record-setting temperatures generated all kinds of safety warnings, ranging from safeguarding outdoor water pipes and sprinkler systems to checking on elders and protecting pets and plants.
One animal particularly vulnerable to the chill is the iguana, since the reptiles are cold-blooded and thus rely on their environment to keep them warm. Most of the time, that works.
It only takes temperatures falling into the 40s to stun the lizards until they seize up, lose their grip and plummet to the ground until things warm up, wildlife experts told the Tallahassee Democrat. Unlike the ex-parrot in the Monty Python sketch, these creatures actually are “just resting.” They will reanimate once they are kissed by the sun.
“They slow down or become immobile when temps drop & could fall from trees, but they are not dead,” tweeted WSVN-TV weather anchor Vivian Gonzalez earlier in the week. “Don’t approach. Once the sun is out, they will move.”Theresa BraineNew York Daily NewsCONTACT
Theresa Braine has written breaking news for the New York Daily News National Desk since November 2018, with an emphasis on environmental reporting and indigenous issues. She has worked as a freelance foreign correspondent based in Mexico City and has been a copy editor and copy chief for various national magazines.