As the temperatures drop, several cold weather shelters will be opening up this weekend. It's also a good time to cover up your plants.
"It can be very serious. That's specifically why we provide services like this in times when there is a sudden change in the weather," said David Bledsoe of Metropolitan Ministries.
The group spent Friday getting ready to shelter and feed more people than usual.
"We'll produce a little over a hundred for three different shelters, two community centers, one in Brandon and Wimauma, and New Beginnings mission," Bledsoe said.
Many area shelters are open to help get the word out before the big temperature drop on Saturday. The Hillsborough County Fire Department knows space heaters will be put in to use well before the coldest temps. A word to the wise: watch where you place them.
"The rule of thumb is three feet. If you're putting a space heater within three feet, the main concern is when you turn a space heater on don't leave it unattended," said Nicole Revette.
Now is the time to think about your smoke detector, too.
"(Friday night) would be a good time to check it and also invest in a carbon monoxide monitor too," Revette said.
Monitor your plants, too. You may want to cover them up.
A warm January may have them growing faster than in past winters.
"It can mean that you might have a lot of new growth coming out on plants, even on certain plants that are cold tolerant. If they have brand new bright green growth coming out, sometimes the cold can get new damage if the cold comes along after its just come out," said Walton Mathews of Earl's Garden Shop.
A good defense for your flowers and plants is hydration. A landscaper's best free advice given just before the coldest snap of the season is water your garden now.
"First of all you want to water them ahead of 32 degrees. If it drops below 32 degrees and you turn on your sprinklers, that could cause even more damage," Mathews said.
Of course, something else you can do is cover your plants. Frost cloth, old sheets and blankets work great. Burlap is good, too. However, be careful with plastic. It can conduct cold and actually cause more damage than warmth.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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