Fla. farmers, manatees endure frosty night

January 4, 2012 - 11:30 AM

PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) — Strawberry growers, manatees and tropical fish farmers are hopeful a cold front that covered much of Florida won't do much damage.

Temperatures dipped below freezing for several hours early Wednesday morning across central and north Florida. Growers hope the freezing temperatures didn't last long enough to do lasting damage.

Forecasters say temperatures will remain chilly but slowly warm up starting Thursday.

Hundreds of manatees huddled together on Tuesday in the warm waters of the Tampa Electric Company's power plant in Apollo Beach. Fish farmers and strawberry growers in Hillsborough and Polk counties also took steps to protect their crops.

One tropical fish farmer in Lakeland said he expects his fish to be stressed, but not die like they did during the prolonged cold snap in early 2010.