Day of extremes in U.S. weather
Winter wear was beachwear as cold temperatures invaded Miami Beach.
January 4th, 2012
12:23 PM ET

Day of extremes in U.S. weather

Mark down January 4 as one strange day for weather in the United States. The extremes were topsy-turvy.

While Floridians were experiencing record low temperatures, Montanans were seeing record highs that are normal for April or October.

Forecast highs in the upper 50s in Montana were expected to break records in Lewistown, Great Falls, Harve and a handful of other places, according to the National Weather Service.

Similar highs were forecast Wednesday for large portions of Florida.

Overnight, record lows were set in Alma  at 19 degrees (breaking record of 20 set in 2001) and Gainesville, 20 degrees (breaking record of 22 set in 1900). Record lows were tied in Jacksonville, 22 degrees (set in 1887), Tallahassee, 18 degrees (set in 1928), and Appalachicola, 26 degrees (set in 2010).

In Homestead in South Florida, farmers scrambled to protect crops from the damaging cold overnight, CNN affiliate WSVN-TV reported. On Wednesday, they were assessing any possible damage.

"It's not as bad as it could've been. There's still some damage - the extent we don't know yet. With freezes, it's a little difficult. It might take a day or two to really see the effects of it," Miami-Dade Agricultural Manager Charles Lapradd told the station.

In Louisiana, a flood warning was in effect for St. Mary Parish. “Do not drive cars through flooded areas. Remember … two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including pickups. Turn around and don’t drown,” the weather service said.

Wednesday's extremes extend beyond the contiguous 48 states, too.

Forecasters in Hawaii issued a high surf warning, with wave heights on north-facing shores of the islands expected to hit 25 to 35 feet through Thursday morning. West-facing shores could see wave heights of 15 to 25 feet, forecasters said.

Meanwhile in southern Alaska, the weather service warned of dangerous winds with sustained speeds of 35 to 55 mph and gusts up to 85 mph, the strength seen in a Category 1 hurricane.

One thing that's not unexpected is frigid temperatures in Alaska in January, and Bethel, Alaska, near the state's west coast was fulfilling expectations on Wednesday, with a forecast high of 15 below to 20 below zero and wind chills as low as 50 below zero, the weather service said.

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Filed under: Alaska • Florida • Hawaii • Montana • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. s kel

    cold here in DC

    January 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John Keogh

    This is normal now. Climate change will continue to cause extremes. Not really newsworthy.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. frozen old people

    Florida's weather is giving retired NYers there a taste of home. Where to next Grandma? Cuba?

    January 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ken McFadden

    Its called "weather"n not clime change or global warming. Simply "weather".

    January 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hugo's Retirement Villa

    Are you old and tired of freezing your ass off in Florida USA? Come to Venezuela! where the oil is thick and the green grass grows. Special discounts for human shield volunteers.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matt

    Its freezing at night but really nice during the day here on the spacecoast (east florida) nothing like NY

    January 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MAC

    Is it nuclear winter or global warming causing Florida and the South East to be cold? It is Mother Nature and the weather patterns and jetstream flows?

    January 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Thermometers don't lie

    It's getting warmer. Nothing can stop the earth from warming more and more each year. Our pollution has jus turned what would have been a naturally gentle change into one with violent extremes. Now you know why there is no real emergency to change our ways. The scientific community realizes that reducing pollution won't do squat when all is said and done. But yeah, you should clean up your own yard anyway.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • thanes

      Thermometers may not lie, but you do. The Earth would be cooling if left to itself. WE are causing it to warm with carbon emissions. WE will stop it warming further when WE put in an effective carbon tax and stop listening to Denialists of various stripes.
      Like the new tack with you people, by the way. Warming but it's not us. Promise to not backtrack later and say it isn't warming?

      January 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • James70094

      @Thanes. Is that why the last ice age warmed away? The planet actually began warming just before the industrial revolution. This is a natural pattern. It may be accelerated by human activity, it is not caused by humans.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dina

    Not so bad in michigan. Sunny all week and next. In the 30s. Ahhh.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      and in SE Michigan, NO SNOW EITHER. Bright and sunny. Actually, its pretty glorious for January.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Thermometers don't lie

    Each year since the industrial revolution began over 100 yrs. ago, it has been taking water longer and longer to evaporate. Pan-Evap rates the world over have been recorded each year. Evaporating ocean water is the engine that drives weather patterns. Yes, the earth is getting naturally warmer. But when you throw our pollution in, natures course was altered. Not stopped. Slightly altered...just enough to upset the delicate balance.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Clay Boxer

    whata freezen here in gull33sp. Need a @hot. Mail#important

    January 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kristin

    Why do flaming ray-tards believe that global warming means that temperatures will become hotter across the globe?! I thought that was cleared up ten years ago!!!

    January 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Starman

      It means the "average" world temperature is increasing. Proven. The consequences include what this article refers to: Weather and temperature aberations in different parts of the world.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NORM

    nothing compared to halifax canada its -25 fareiheit.....dont come here...

    January 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. thanes

    This is the new normal, global warming is happening before our eyes, but I think it is news-worthy. Too bad the media doesn't think so. Anyone see the words "global warming," or even Republican pollster Frank Lutz's "climate change" above? An entire US political party has apparently missed all the previous stories. I think the media ought to start doing it's job.
    Not that they ever will. Maybe people suffering from the effects of global warming can do some iReports on it.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Andreas Moser

    I love cold weather. So does my brother, Joey in NY.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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