PHOENIX (AP) -- An approaching cold front Saturday was expected to slam Arizona's most populous county, bringing the coldest nighttime temperatures in years and possibly ruining crops and damaging plumbing.
Temperatures are expected to get into the low 30s throughout Maricopa County this weekend and possibly reach the low 20s in some areas, the National Weather Service said. Thanks to bitter cold air from Canada, a countywide freeze warning has been issued for Saturday through Tuesday.
Meanwhile, parts of southern Arizona remained under a hard freeze warning and temperatures in northern Arizona are expected to reach below zero.
Authorities are telling county residents to keep their pets inside and cover any sensitive plants or outdoor plumbing. Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday declared a state of emergency and lifted a law to allow the transportation of propane anytime of the day.
Phoenix Herpetological Society staffers worked throughout the night Friday to heat crocodile pens and move many other reptiles inside.
"Out here in north Scottsdale we're looking at probably the mid-20s, much too cold for reptiles to be comfortable and happy," Daniel Marchand, curator of the herpetological center, told KSAZ-TV. "We have to provide them with heated shelter, as far as tortoises go and any other lizards and the crocodilians have to have warmer heated water."
At Citrus Heights Farms in Mesa, farm manager Todd Shell worked to try to protect the 20,000 citrus trees planted on 200 acres in an area that rarely gets long bouts of sub-freezing weather. "You know, if it gets below 28 for a few hours the fruit is in jeopardy," Shell told KSAZ-TV.
Daytime temperatures from Saturday to Monday around the Phoenix metropolitan area are expected to be between 47 and 49 degrees, which is below normal for this time of year.
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