MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After a couple of days of warm weather across South Florida, temperatures are about to tumble.

A cold front will sweep through Saturday morning, dropping temperatures into the upper 40s and low 50s. A cold northwest wind will keep South Florida chilly through Saturday afternoon with highs struggling to reach 60 degrees. Most areas will see highs in the upper 50s with wind gusts as high as 30 miles per hour.

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Saturday night and Sunday morning will be the coldest with lows falling to the low 40s along the coast and the mid to upper 30s in the inland areas.

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch for inland Broward due to the potential for freezing temperatures during that time period.

In Homestead, CBS4’s Peter D’Oench caught up with a veteran farmer, John Alger, owner Alger Farms for more than 40 years, who is already taking steps to protect his crops. He has 600 acres of snap beans and a thousand acres of sweet corn.

Watch: CBS4’s Jacqueline Quynh’s report

 

Alger said he has seen his share of cold weather in the past. On Friday morning, he was starting to use some of his irrigation sprinklers to protect his crops and planned to use all of them starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

“We are trying to rehydrate the ground and seal it up so that we can prevent any radiation freeze. It also warms the ground. We haven’t had a freeze in more than 10 years and we are a little rusty dealing with this,” he said

Due to the drastic drop in temperatures and extreme cold weather for South Florida, people should prepare now by utilizing the “Four P’s” Of Cold Weather Safety.

Protect People
Pay careful attention to children and the elderly. They are especially vulnerable to the cold and the least able to protect themselves. Dress in layers and wear a hat that covers your ears when you are outdoors.

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Eat well-balanced meals to stay warmer. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages if you’re cold, they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm beverages such as hot tea to help maintain your body temperature.

Protect Plants
Bring potted plants indoors. Keep outdoor plants and trees watered.

“The elderly may need your help bringing in plants and they may need help with prescriptions and checking their heating at home. Sometimes if you turn it on there may be a smell of smoke coming out. Safety comes first and we want to make sure everyone is safe and we know that being in Miami this will not last for long,” said Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez.

Protect Pets
Bring all pets indoors. Pets that must be left outside should have an enclosed shelter with the entrance facing away from the wind.

“If you have pets, bring them inside. The pets feel the cold and put a sweater on them if you have that,” said Sanchez.

You can also purchase a winter jacket for them as well.

Protect Against Fires In The Home
Take the time to prepare and inspect heating equipment before using it. According to the National Fire Protection Association, incorrect use of heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires.

When protecting against fires in the home, here are some important safety tips:

  • Choose electric space heaters and use only those that are UL approved. Look for models that include safety features such as an automatic shut-off when tipped over.
  • Avoid the use of extension cords with space heaters, but if you must use one, make sure it is the proper size and length. Never run cords under rugs or carpets.
  • Keep your heater at least three feet away from furniture, curtains, and other flammable items.
  • Install recommended smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries regularly.
  • Never use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices indoors, such as grills that produce carbon monoxide.
  • Make sure all equipment is clean and dust-free.
  • Keep a close eye on children and pets whenever a space heater is being used.
  • Always turn off heaters when leaving home.

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“Make sure you inspect your space heater and check that the cords are not frayed and the plugs are not bent and when you plug it in, plug it into the wall, not an extension cord and or a surge protector. Again you want to make sure they are three feet away from anything that can ignite,” said Sanchez. “Lay it on the floor or flat ground where it will not tip over and make sure it is not near where a child or pet will get burnt. Also do not use a stove to heat your home. Don’t open the oven. It can be dangerous. And don’t use anything inside that should not be used indoors.”

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Peter D'Oench