Frigid weather doesn't deter Florida's surfing Santas

Temperatures in the Sunshine State are so low that iguanas are dropping from trees

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

For the surfing Santas of Florida's central coast, the Atlantic Ocean felt more like the North Pole than the Sunshine State as temperatures plunged to around freezing, while freeze warnings were in place for at least half of the state.

Parts of the Florida Panhandle had wind chills that dipped into the single digits on Saturday morning, and central areas reported temperatures plunging as low as minus 2.7°C.

“It's a frigid start to your #ChristmasEve across the area,” the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, the state's capital, tweeted.

Miami was among the last holdouts of warm weather in the US on Friday, but by Saturday morning, temperatures had dipped to below 10°C for the first time in almost a year.

South Floridians were also on the watch for falling iguanas. The cold-blooded reptiles that reside in Miami suburbs typically become immobilised when temperatures drop below 4.4°C.

Despite the frigid temperatures, the 14th annual Christmas Eve Surfing Santas festival was held on Saturday morning at Cocoa Beach on Florida's Space Coast.

The event has grown from 10 surfers dressed in Santa costumes when it started in 2009 to hundreds of participants riding surfboards, boogie boards and paddle boards in years past.

Close to 140 surfers braved the frigid water and about 10,000 spectators showed up to cheer them on, while a beachside restaurant distributed free hot cocoa to help them stay warm, organisers said.

Christmas lights and tours in the US — in pictures

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: December 27, 2022, 10:49 PM