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Fla. Farmers, Manatees Suffer Through Cold Night

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PLANT CITY, UNITED STATES:  As the Sun rises, strawberries lie frozen in ice after temperatures dropped below 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-31.5 degrees Celsius) for more than six hours in Plant City, Florida.  Strawberry farmers used water sprinklers to form a protective coating of ice on the strawberries.   AFP PHOTO (Photo credit  TONY RANZE/AFP/Getty Images)

PLANT CITY, UNITED STATES: As the Sun rises, strawberries lie frozen in ice after temperatures dropped below 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-31.5 degrees Celsius) for more than six hours in Plant City, Florida. Strawberry farmers used water sprinklers to form a protective coating of ice on the strawberries. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit TONY RANZE/AFP/Getty Images)

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PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) — Strawberry growers, manatees and tropical fish farmers are hopeful a cold front that covered much of Florida won’t do much damage.

Temperatures dipped below freezing for several hours early Wednesday morning across central and north Florida. Growers hope the freezing temperatures didn’t last long enough to do lasting damage.

Forecasters say temperatures will remain chilly but slowly warm up starting Thursday.

Hundreds of manatees huddled together on Tuesday in the warm waters of the Tampa Electric Company’s power plant in Apollo Beach. Fish farmers and strawberry growers in Hillsborough and Polk counties also took steps to protect their crops.

One tropical fish farmer in Lakeland said he expects his fish to be stressed, but not to die like they did during the prolonged cold snap in early 2010.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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