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. cjbigcat

    Along with this story in mind, some trees have leaves at the present time and others don't in different parts of the world. Also, clouds have been spotted across the planet at various times. The sun rose earlier at a different time in all time zones all across the U.S then yesterday. Some animals and people are no longer with us, and some are. CNN, please add all the details when reporting a story.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Blahbadeeblahblah

    Research in ice core sample, tree ring samples, and soil samples prove that our Earth had changed many times, experienced much weather change, climate change, disasters that caused global melt downs, etc. This goes back way before we knew the world was round, had a cure for polio, and long before we knew what the white floating orbs were in the sky. Global Warming...strikes fear into those that do no research into the matter and believe all that the read or hear in the media. Half of the scientists that once believed in Global warming have since recanted and have moved on to other topics. For those of you that still believe that the answer lies within the US through recycling, better fuels, or better energy sources – please do your research on what is going on in other parts of the world. No way one country can single handedly do anything. If the Earth cooks us till we're all gone, then just as it has before, the Earth will heal itself.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ned Racine

      The vast majority of scientists, and all reputable scientists, acknowledge that climate change is real. However, there are still a few nut cases out there trying to convince people that they know better. People aren't as stupid as you think.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      You take a fact and try to apply it where it doesn't fit. It's like saying "I have to spend money every week, so my spending $10,000,000 this week is just the way things were in the past. It's just a cycle repeating itself." Consequently, to us scientists, you sound like an ignoramus. The FACT is that air bubbles trapped in Antarctic Ice over the past 420,000 years shows CO2 was never more than 294 ppm. It's 385 ppm now. Try to stick that in your "cycles".

      January 5, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul in PA

      The common Conservative approach is to say –

      1) global warming isn't happening
      2) if its happening its not because of human activity
      3) if its because of human activity there is nothing we can do about it
      4) if we could do something about it then we ought to let someone else (in another country) do it
      5) but the whole thing can be better explained as a Liberal plot
      6) repeat starting from step one

      January 5, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • HT

      The statement about the ice core readings showing wide swings in climate is very misleading in the writers conclusion. Yes there are swings over 10 of thousands of years – often 100s of thousand years. What the honest researchers are concerned with is a sudden shift over a 100 – 200 year period that will cause serious disruptions of ecosystems and threaten tens of thousands of species including human survival. This is very serious stuff and not to be disregarded based on uninformed interpretation of data and propaganda from vested energy/industrial interests.
      Rest assured, human induced climate change is a far more serious threat to future generations, than the economic/deficit crisis we are now focused on.

      January 5, 2012 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. tom

    prepare for the apocalpyse. it is time

    January 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. roger watson

    china was upset with canada over quitting the kyoto accord . canada was supposed to hand over 6 billion dollars because we live in a cold climate and we cant reduce our energy consumption. meanwhile china has seen exponential growth in energy consumption . double standard or what?

    January 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • pn

      In particular when you compare emissions per capita!!!!

      January 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tcr c2

    From california:::::: nice today about 80 degrees at the beach you just cant beat it ahhhhhhhhhh the west coast way!!! What a life

    January 4, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ned Racine

      Really? Because I'm in San Diego when it's cold here.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tante Waileka

    More than 95% of scientists agree? Get real! You don't know what you are talking about. As for Florida and Montana, having lived in both places, the weather being experienced now is nothing unusual. Global warming, whether it is or is not happening, it is hubris to suggest that humankind influenced it. Everything goes in cycles. But if you think Al Gore is to be believed you don't know what a d-head he is. When they set out weather (temperature) recording devices decades ago, they were set in open areas, but most are now surrounded by buildings that vastly increase the temperature. Statistics are only important when they are VALID, not skewed by the devil's minions aka CNN 'reporters' and the 35% of the scientists who are inculcated into a way of thinking INSIDE the box... not 95% of scientists. I am a scientist and do NOT agree with the lamebrains of the world.

    January 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ironsides

      If you don't think car exaust has an effect on the atmosphere what do you think would happen if you ran your in your garage with the door closed? Now times that by millions of metric tons a year. Do ya think it would have an effect on the enviroment? Really? You can't see the obovious?

      January 5, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • For You Its Polliticall Correct to Deny Global Warming

      I doubt you are a scientist. And I'm certain you are not a climate scientist.

      To say "Global warming, whether it is or is not happening, it is hubris to suggest that humankind influenced it" is to state nonsense. And it also represents hubris. Its like saying the seas are so large we can't deplete fish stocks.

      To say "Everything goes in cycles" is also meaningless.

      January 5, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • HT

      Maybe you meant multi-thousand year cycles? Is it not really hubris to think humans who increasingly dominate the planet, will not have some significant impacts on ecosystem equilibriums. We have the potential to utterly destroy this planet ecosystem in a matter of days with our nuclear devices, We came close to this in the past.
      Now we have another more insidious destroyer of the planet, slowly but surely we are overwhelming the climate buffering systems. To deny this is foolish

      January 5, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. valwayne

    Imagine! Weather! And different weather in different parts of the country? And in January, imagine! Is the world coming to an end? Surely its never been warmer than normal in Montana, and Florida has surely never had a freeze before in January? LOL! Well we know in the last two years why they don't call it Global Warming anymore! A freeze in Florida would seem a little odd. So we get Climate Change because whenever the climate changes, which is every day, the cult of Global Warming can say see, we told you the climate was changing? As if it isn't always changing? There is no consensus and what consensus there was was driven by fraud, dishonesty, intimidation, and a green eyed desire to get their hands on billions and/or trillions of taxpayer dollars and lot of power over people's lives. NO thanks Warmists. Go shows us some real repeatable provable science, not a freeze in Florida in January!!!

    January 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JorgeMedina

    Do you want to be your own boss and earn $68/hour with only your laptop in the comfort of your homes? For this rare opportunity, visit

    January 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. STLTim

    Quick, someone find a way to blame Obama!

    January 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 509American

    Maybe it has something to do with the Earths poles changing

    January 5, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. MahaYoga

    I'm sure the Republicans will find a way to blame it all on President Obama.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. darlene wigton houston, tx

    Crazy weather so far this winter!

    January 5, 2012 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • ayami

      I think so, too!!

      January 5, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. ayami

    I think that it because of global warming!!

    January 5, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. AC

    With little to no significant snow in parts of the west so far, it will be interesting to see what the summer fire season will be like.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bethany
    Because you know you're curious

    January 5, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
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