A cold snap in Miami led to a surprising warning for locals about falling iguanas. The coldest air of the season spread across the eastern USA with several states feeling an intense chill. On Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a rare and unusual forecast regarding temperatures and iguanas – but what was the warning and why was it issued?
The National Weather Service routinely issues warnings about torrential rainfall, heavy snow and hailstorms.
But with the temperatures dropping so low in South Florida, the weather forecaster was forced to issue an unusual warning to residents on Tuesday about falling iguanas.
On Tuesday, the National Weather Service Miami tweeted: “This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr! #flwx #miami”.
Iguanas are a common sight in Florida and are considered to be a nuisance to many because they are blamed for harming populations of butterflies and snails.
Additionally, iguanas are known to dig burrows which can damage infrastructure.
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But these native lizards could be hit hard by the unseasonably cold weather in Florida, which could paralyse the cold-blooded creatures.
In general, iguanas begin to get sluggish or lethargic once the temperature drops below 10C (50F).
That drop in temperature, to between -1C and 4C, is uncommon for the usually-warm Florida.
Especially as in Florida, winter temperatures rarely fall below about 18C.
The weather forecaster added that while the stunned lizards may appear to have passed away, “they are no dead”.
Winds of around 10mph combined with temperatures in the -1C (30F) and 4C 40F hit the region on Tuesday.
Whereas wind chills were forecast to fall into the -7C (20F) and -1C (30C) on Wednesday which would not be noteworthy in Washington.
However, in Florida, these temperatures are downright frigid for what is average for the region.
The wind chill advisory contributed to mobilising the city’s response in aiding homeless and vulnerable populations.
Miami has not dipped below 7C (45F) since January 2018, after which Tampa reached -2C (29F) two weeks later.
Last January, a drop in temperatures led to the lizard-chilling phenomenon which saw the mercury dip to 44C.
Residents shared images of social media and in some cases brought the lizards home to help them defrost.
However, authorities advise against bringing iguanas home because they have been known to attack humans.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages homeowners to remove them from their property while killing them on public lands is permissible without a license.
While temperatures dropped to very low levels, the temperatures did not break any records.
According to the National Weather Service, the coldest temperatures were seen on January 22 in 1985.
At that time Miami had a low of 30C, while Fort Lauderdale saw a low of 29C.