MARCO ISLAND — One way of looking at the chill that’s had people bundling up like Eskimos over the past few days is that Marco is among the warmest spots in the nation.
That may be cold comfort for some locals used to bundling up just once or twice each winter, but for visitors it’s more a case of so what’s all the fuss?
Nine-year-old Rachel Schlager of Massachusetts, enjoyed a Monday morning stroll around the Town Center with only a sleeveless sweatshirt over her other regular clothing.
She said the only thing the weather prevented her from doing was going for a swim.
“At home it snows pretty much all the time in winter, Schlager said. “I would swim if it was just a little warmer than this.”
Her step-mom, Hope Schlager, has lived on Marco for the past 30 years, and said she laps up any winter frigid spells.
“I’ve always loved the cold,” she said. “You bring out your sweaters.”
Locals Janice Maria and Angelo Deftereos weren’t quite as enthusiastic.
“This belongs up north, Janice Maria said. “We’re lived here for 30 years, and we just don’t like it.”
“We’ve had colder,” she said, “but it’s usually one or two days, and then it goes bye-bye.”
The couple plans a Friday and Saturday garage sale at their 1111 San Marco Rd. home despite predictions of a new cold front pushing through the area on Friday.
Indiana visitor Sally Linton said although she’s obviously used to much colder weather, she found Sunday and Monday this week pretty darn chilly.
“It’s warmer than back home,” she said, “but it’s really cold here at the moment.”
Linton, due to leave on Tuesday, said her family had enjoyed a couple of warm days on Marco as well, so would take back good memories of their vacation.
Stores such as Georgie’s & The Shoe Resort and Obsession reported fairly strong runs on sweaters and jackets, while Beall’s Outlet check-out lines were dominated by fleece-lined tops, sweatshirts and sweat pants as well as thick jackets.
Cold weather affects local resort occupancies in different ways, according to Marriott Marco Island Resort Director of Marketing Bob Pfeffer.
He said traditionally, early cold weather up north prompts early bookings down here.
“The earlier it’s frigid up north, the better our leisure reservations are,” he said.
Conversely, the drive-market around the state tends to drop when it’s cold here, because potential visitors tend to hold off until warming trends kick in.
“But,” Pfeffer said, the effect within the state (drive market) is typically really short-term.”
Local meteorologists predicted today’s highs would hover around 60 degrees, and a little higher 24 hours after that, but said the following week was destined to be more of the same.
That, they said, would be courtesy of a new, Friday cold front that could cause inland freeze concerns by Sunday.
The average low for this time of year is 55 degrees and the average high 75 degrees.
A state advisory draws attention to safety measures in these cold conditions, warning people not to place space heaters near flammable materials, not to use fuel-burning devices indoors, dressing in layers of loose-fitting warm clothing, and protecting pets and plants from the cold.