While it was not a white Christmas on the Treasure Coast, it was a chilly weekend for residents as a strong cold front moved into South Florida.
Across the tri-county area, temperatures on Christmas Eve dipped into the low 30s. A freeze warning issued for inland Indian River County expired at 8 a.m. today after no signs of freeze were recorded, according to National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Megan Tollefsen.
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On the Treasure Coast, people woke up on Christmas Day to 35 degrees in Indian River County, 39 degrees in Martin County, and 36 degrees in St. Lucie County.
To prepare for the cold front, the three counties opened up a total of six cold weather shelters for individuals to use for the weekend because of the temperature dropping to below 40 degrees.
In Indian River, the Salvation Army and the Source Divinity Bus opened Dec. 23, providing shelter to upwards of 76 people combined. Source Divinity Bus has a capacity of 36 and reported approximately 34 people using their bus as shelter today. The bus operates year-round as a shelter. The bus is located at 1015 Commerce Ave. in Vero Beach.
Across Martin County, three locations served as cold weather shelters on Friday and Saturday.
Percy Peek Gym is the only cold weather shelter operating in St. Lucie County with the capacity to serve 80 people, about 20 people utilized the shelter on Christmas Eve, according to the Rev. Hazel Hoylman, pastor at In the Image of Christ. The shelter is located at 2902 Ave. D in Fort Pierce will open tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday.
North of the Treasure Coast in Brevard County people woke up to sleet spannd light snowflspankes this morning, a glimpse of a white Christmas in Florida. The NWS reports the last time Brevard County had frozen precipitation was in 2010.
While this years temperatures were not record-breaking for the Treasure Coast, it is the first time in two years temperatures dropped this low on Christmas.
In 2020, Indian River saw a low on Christmas day of 39 degrees and St. Lucie saw a low of 40 degrees. The NWS does not keep record of Martin County’s weather. The last time Florida experienced record-breaking cold was in 1989 when temperatures reached 22 degrees in Indian River and 26 degrees in St. Lucie County.
The cold temperatures are expected to continue into tonight, but Tollefsen says the Treasure Coast is going to be warming up again in a few days.
“We definitely had quite the cold spell across all of East Central Florida,” said Tollefsen. “Tonight we’re going to have another period of colder temperatures. Nothing close to freezing or below freezing, but still those upper 30s to low 40s along the Treasure Coast.”