Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Damper on the Holidays Weather Chills Tree Sales, Events

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Damper on the Holidays Weather Chills Tree Sales, Events

Article excerpt

A few wet chickens were the only creatures inhabiting the

town of Bethlehem yesterday, the setting for an annual living

nativity behind the Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church.

In San Marco, the annual tour of homes went on last night as

planned. But the candle-in-a-bag luminarias that had lined the

sidewalks Saturday night were drenched and spent.

Temperatures that sank to the mid40s, and rain that alternately

drizzled or poured, combined to give Jacksonville a taste of New

York this weekend.

It was a combination only an evergreen could appreciate.

The cold shower made the Christmas tree stands more fragrant.

Needles glistened on the trees.

"It keeps them fresh. Of course, these are fresh trees anyway,"

said Zack Williams, who tended a stand on San Jose Boulevard

operated by the Metropolitan Lions Club of Jacksonville.

Nevertheless, the rain kept families away on a weekend that

traditionally is tops for tree sales.

"We've only sold about six trees all day," Williams said

yesterday afternoon. "Normally, on a day like this, we'd sell 25

trees."

Despite the grim conditions, police reported only minor

flooding in low-lying areas.

More rain and chilly temperatures are expected today, according

to the National Weather Service, before the front moves east

over the Atlantic.

The chance of rain is 70 percent, with high temperatures in the

mid to upper 40s. Winds will be out of the north at 15 to 20

mph.

But the sun may actually peek out tomorrow, with partly cloudy

skies and a high in the upper 50s, according to John Gaughan,

meteorologist for WJXT TV-4.

Since Wednesday evening, rainfall has reached 5 to 7 inches in

areas from Orange Park to Jacksonville Beach, with an

unconfirmed high-water mark of 7.2 inches in Mandarin, Gaughan

said. …

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