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Freezing Christmas Forecast: Falling Iguanas Expected In Miami

South Florida could see temperatures in the 30s to 40s on Christmas, which means frozen, falling iguanas are possible, the NWS said.

South Florida could see temperatures in the 30s to 40s on Christmas, which means frozen, falling iguanas are possible, the National Weather Service said.
South Florida could see temperatures in the 30s to 40s on Christmas, which means frozen, falling iguanas are possible, the National Weather Service said. ( Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

SOUTH FLORIDA — Forget snow. An approaching cold front can only mean one thing for South Florida — frozen iguanas falling from the trees.

And Miami-area residents might just see the green stuff this Christmas. Temperatures could dip as low as the 30s and 40s Friday night and early Saturday morning with wind chills in the 30s in many areas, which means "falling iguanas are possible," the National Weather Service in Miami tweeted.

The cold front should reach South Florida by Thursday, the agency said. The current forecast predicts a high of 64 degrees during the day on Friday. This could mean the area will see the coldest Christmas in 21 years, as 1999 was the last year that Miami saw a high temperature in the 60s on Christmas, the NWS said.

Frozen iguanas are a common occurrence in South Florida during wintry weather. The reptile, which isn't native to the area, are cold-blooded, which means they become sluggish, and in many cases, dormant in colder weather. If the weather changes while they're sleeping in trees, they lose their grip and fall out.

Iguanas in Florida have learned to adapt to the cold weather in recent years, though. While many are still incapacitated when the temperatures drop, there are "not nearly as many as we had when the initial iguanas were here — when they first started showing up and we had the big cold fronts," nationally known animal expert Ron Magill of Zoo Miami told Patch in January.

He added, "The thing is now — as each year goes by — these iguanas learn to burrow themselves during the cold. The ones that have not learned that are the ones that die. Then they don't pass that gene on to the next generation."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said male iguanas can grow to 5 feet in length and weigh up to 17 pounds.

Here are some additional Christmas 2020 stories:

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