CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Temperatures continued to plummet Tuesday night as the coldest air of the season settled in on the Tampa Bay area.
The arctic blast is chasing visitors away from the beach, but not from nearby stores.
Places that normally sell flip-flops, sunscreen and bathing suits, are doing a brisk business selling items to keep warm. They adjusted their inventory to match the weather.
At a place where you’d normally see sweaty visitors trying to stay cool in the surf, Tuesday night saw warmers set up to take the sting out of the cold air.
“I don’t feel like I’m in Florida actually. I feel like I’m in Georgia or something and I’m freaking out right now” said Romina Lucente, who was wrapped in a blanket.
She and a friend made the drive from Orlando but didn’t count on the sudden change in the temperature.
“We’re not ready for the weather. I got a towel, that’s something” said Angie Andres.
A visit to a store called Blue Lagoon on Mandalay Avenue would’ve helped. Racks normally set up to sell swimsuits, sandals and other beach gear, are now lined with cold-weather gear. The store sells a jacket called “Sherpas.”
“It’s weird that we do but we sell a ton of them. And the reason why we do is because most of the local people here are prepared for everything” said Cindy Miller.
In an area normally teeming with tourists enjoying hot, sunny weather, winter is here for a few days. “I bought a sweatshirt. We’re making the best of it” said customer, Kellie Miller.
A Freeze Warning is in effect for Pasco, Hernando & Citrus County with a Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for the entire Tampa Bay area Tuesday evening.