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. Portland tony

    One thing about weather, it changes. Historically, we've experienced similar weather patterns for centuries. It's not about global warming which is measured over decades. This article is non "breaking news"event

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

    Livein the Dakotas. We are in short sleeves.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • toadears

      Well here in the south we are in long john underwear and 3 layers of clothes. Want it back?

      January 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DisReverent

    Sometimes, at almost seems as if weather is a chaotic system.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Human Arrogance

    How arrogant (not to mention ignorant) that puny little humans think they can control everything. The earth produces 5 times what we need and that didn't stop US from becoming an obese nation of peoples. Nor will our luxuriant dung win it's battle with nature. You predatory consumers/warmongers are headed the way of the dinosaur. Nature simply has no use for you.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robot Council

      Robots RULE!

      January 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Katie

    Um, that's nature for you... What idiot wrote this article???

    January 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dpm1228

    That's one thing you can count on, is the weather will change. Got any REAL news to report CNN?

    January 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ttop from shattown

    Here in chatham ontario canada, the weather is beautiful. The sun is shining brightly and No snow at all! Global warming? Who cares, I'm going to beach! Lol jk

    January 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banssy©

    It's weather.
    No matter how one slices and dices it, it's *weather*.
    Look out you door tomorrow, it'll have changed...

    Agree with Portland Tony.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. conradshull

    Nothing unusual here in central PA for January: 9F low, 25 high. Brad forgot to add this to article, "Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening, with some widely scattered light towards morning."

    January 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ghost

    Pollution always needs to be worked but if I'm not mistaken we have el nino or el nina out there causing most of the craziness. I have been in louisiana for 24 yrs now and still cannot get use to wearing shorts while looking at lights this year while last year everyones pipes busted.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Ghost, yes. We're currently under a La Nina pattern. This strong ridging over the western US and troughing over the East Coast is why we're having fairly warm winter temps out west and in the Plains, continued dry weather over TX and why the Southeast is colder.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BALMY

    Here in Anchorage, Ak it is a cool -10F.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rawr

    Tempe, az is clear n sunny and already feels like its only 80 degrees. 😉 lol

    January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TORI

    Somewhat cloudy out west but I will take 70 degrees.Shorts,tank top, and flip flops are the attire of the day.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • toadears

      I kinda hate you a little right now, I think. 🙂

      January 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nick-o

    Note to self, avoid Alaska in winter

    January 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. me

    I'm in WI and we haven't had any serious snow, we got half an inch but it's gone and this weekend it's supposed to be in the 40's lol

    January 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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