As heavy snowfall and hurricane-force winds continue to blow over parts of the northeast with epic winter storm conditions amid the blizzard bombshell, the National Weather Service warns that more than snow will fall on the ground tomorrow following the big storm: iguanas in Florida! The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center warns the public to watch out for iguana falls in the Sunshine State.
The bomber cyclone responsible for the blizzard conditions will continue to move north and east across eastern Canada. 1 to 2 feet of snow has already fallen in parts of Delaware, New Jersey and New York, with more than 2 feet reported in Massachusetts. Snow will continue to fall, blow and drift in the northeast, with some areas approaching storm totals of 3′. In addition to the heavy snow, hurricane-force wind gusts in the 75-80 mph range blast parts of the northeast coast, kicking huge waves onto the shore while driving the snow in measured drifts in meters rather than feet. Aft of the storm system, freezing air will rush across the eastern United States into southern Florida.
In Florida, very cold readings are expected across most of the state, prompting the National Weather Service to issue frost warnings. Freezing weather is bad news for Florida’s agricultural economy. hard frosts could crush citrus crops and impact other fruits, vegetables and even livestock from tonight into tomorrow. While the Space Coast is expected to dip into the upper 20s, the Gulf Coast cities of Tampa, Ft. Meyers and Naples will flirt with freezing point, with low temperatures of just 33 degrees expected there. Temperatures will be only a degree or two milder than eastern cities along the Atlantic, including Ft. Lauderdale and Miami with readings between 34 and 37 degrees likely there.
These cold readings will also impact some creatures unique to Florida. The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center warns, “Some of our iguana friends out there are sleeping in such conditions and could fall.” It won’t be the first time that iguanas have fallen from trees and onto sidewalks… and even people. In 2020, the National Weather Service office in Miami issued an alert to warn people of the possibility of falling iguanas. “Iguana fall is possible tonight,” the National Weather Service warned. They added: “Iguanas are cold blooded. They slow down or become immobile when temperatures drop into the 40s. They can fall from trees, but they are not dead.
When temperatures thaw and reach the upper 40s, cold-blooded iguanas can become mobile again and return to places they fell from. Although a short-term blast of cold air will not harm them, temperatures in the 40s or lower for prolonged periods of 8 hours or more can kill them.
Iguanas are native to warm, tropical regions of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Iguanas can get quite large: they can reach over 5 feet in length and weigh up to 17 pounds. No species of iguana is actually native to Florida. Instead, the three main species currently living throughout the state are invasive species, introduced by humans from neighboring islands in the 1960s and 1970s. Because they are invasive and have no predators, their population continues to grow unchecked in Florida.