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. oreo

    I blame Bush.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NH

    Notice they didnt talk about New England. Normal so far. Friggen cold and no snow yet. Pretty typical winter.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. effelbee

    The fourth paragraph is incorrect. Presumably the writer meant to say similar "lows" are forecast for Florida...

    January 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith in SoJax

      No, the HIGHS in FL yesterday were in the 40's and 50's with lows in the teens, 20's and 30's in all inland areas. Only coastal areas stayed above 40 last night.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TORI

    Hey @rawr send any sun from Tempe over to Sky Harbor. Sitting outside because there are tons of flight delays. I'm going to have one cranky mother when her darn flight gets in.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    It's sunny and 40 degrees here in Chi town. Gorgeous day.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. localNUT

    it's the earths wobble, its slowing down and messing stuff up! 2012 is going to be filled with occurrences like these!

    January 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TORI

    @banasy, glad Chicago is so nice today. Have a good one!!

    January 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©


    You, too. Don't let your Mom get you down! 😉

    January 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    Two words. Global Warming.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hamsta

    u want to fix global warming?dont buy into al gores carbon offset program,plant some trees its third grade science and ur child in 3rd grade will tell u that.are u smarter than a third grader?then u would realize that the epa is going after power plants about mercury emissions.why bother the cfl light bulbs they force the consumers to use because they make less co2 contain mercury.nothing these green energy whackos do makes sense.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TORI

    @banasy, Thanks!No she is usually very cool as long as I didn't leave her house a mess. I did leave a box of staples in her fridge in your honor.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pulsars

    The evil Iranian scientists are testing their sinister weather control ray – BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    January 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hamsta

    heres a scientific fact for u global warming whackos-a volcanic eruption releases more global warming gases per second than the entire history of the industrial revelution.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Can you please cite your reference for this scientific fact?

      January 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan, TX


      January 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan, TX

      So, Hampsta, someone lied to you, and you swallowed it hook, line and sinker and just repeat the lie here. That makes you quite a fool.

      January 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ag

    Sunny and high 50's here in North Dakota. No snow yet this year. Quite enjoyable !

    January 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    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). So my point is I guess all the morons back in those days also assumed the world was ending.

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