Cold weather keeping tourists away from Ft. Myers Beach

CREATED Jan. 7, 2014

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FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - Fort Myers Beach was practically deserted Tuesday.

Palm trees shook in the wind and those who were on the beach traded swim suits for jeans and sweatshirts.

"It has been freezing, absolutely freezing," Ashley Galassi, the manager at Nemo's on the Beach, said.

Nemo's dining room is outside and even though the flaps were down and the heaters were on, the restaurant was almost empty during the lunch hour.

"All day people are trying to call off work, no one wants to come down here, it's definitely a life changer," Galassi said.

But some brave tourists, like Pat and Lee Barnes, aren't letting a little cold weather dampen their vacation. They say this is nothing compared to their hometown in Canada.
"Very, very cold there," Pat Barnes said. "The schools are actually closed in our community for the first time in many, many years."
"I think it's minus 23 with a wind chill of minus 36," Lee Barnes said.
Only in the 40's here, Lee Barnes walked the beach barefoot wearing just a shirt and shorts.
"People wear parkas over here, I don't know why," Lee Barnes said.
"This is perfect, it's beautiful, another day in paradise we say," Pat Barnes said.
The beach is also paradise for Carol Pilibosian from Massachusetts.
"It's chilly but it's still beautiful. The sun is nice and it's nice to walk up here. It's better than walking in the snow," Pilibosian said.
But Pilibosian does say she wishes she packed warmer clothes.
"I brought capris, but nothing else, a couple of sweatshirts, that's all," Pilibosian said.
Fort Myers Beach hotels say some tourists had to cancel their reservations because they couldn't get into town because of the winter weather affecting travel.