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. SheilaKA

    Yes, it is strange. It was 60 degrees in Bellingham, WA this morning...and that's almost in Canada!

    January 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buteo jamaicensis

      I've never seen it this warm in late Dec-early January in Seattle. This is downright bizarre. 🙁

      January 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BarbieB.

      51 in Bozeman, Montana on Jan. 4. Go figure. Extreme weather to worsen with climate change, though:

      January 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DDanny1

    I taught weather to airline pilots for over a decade. The goal wasn't to make them meteorologists, it was more along the lines of "If conditions at point "A" is this, and the conditions at "B" is this, if they meet at point "C" watch out for these conditions". Fairly basic concepts. The first and most important thing to know is ALL weather is the result of temperature exchanges. Hot seeking cold and cold seeking hot. I know it sounds stupid but it's true.
    Knowing this, only one question has to be answered. Are the polar ice caps melting faster than normal? The answer is "yes". In fact, there is NOT ONE climatologist who isn't aware they are melting much faster then ANY of the estimations. They have been able to prove the "Alarmists" wrong. In the sense that their estimates were way too low.
    Now smaller Ice Caps aren't going to make it noticeably warmer for a long time. Although there is a point where it will get warmer FAST. The only thing we'll see is a degree or two higher average temp. All this will do is produce weather extremes. Record breaking floods, droughts, snow storms, hurricanes, record highs and lows. Trees blooming in winter. Southern crops freezing in winter.
    I wonder if any of that will start happening?

    January 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      Funny thing is if you listen to "religous right" they a say this stuff was predicted to happen in the bible 2000+ years ago. Way before climatologist came along. So who is right? Are you both right? Did the bible predict this stuff first and now "science" is now backing it up?

      January 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Hey Dude – The relgious have been spouting end-of-the-world warnings for millenia now. I suppose if your at it for long enough, you'll be right eventually. What worries me is that we might not take mitigative action because too many believe Jesus will return and heal the world. By the time they realize they're wrong on that count, it will be too late to save ourselves.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • UhYeaOk

      To "Ed" and "the Dude", I am a Christian, I have never heard a single Christian say the bible talks about the global weather change. Funny how you people who believe in global warming consider yourselves open minded yet close your mind to anyone who had a differing opinion than yours. Very typical....

      January 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The Dude

    All of the "Global Warmning/Climate Change" nuts remind me of the religous nuts that come on here and scream "the sky is falling" evertime an earthquake happens some place.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Holroyd

      Dear "The Dude",
      I am so sorry that you have finally lost your grip on reality. Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and God are all imaginary. Climate change, taxes and death are all real. I know this is tricky but keep on with your medications and you may be able to work it out in the end. Good luck.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max in NY

      yes except global warming is backed by science....sorry...thanks for playing

      January 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinking7

      Maybe you ought to do some research and pay attention. It's happening all around you – everywhere.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      johnholyrod. could you please explain in simple words how you are the only person in the history of existence that knows for a fact God isnt a truth? because if you are 100 percent sure and thats actually very important, as its extremely rare

      January 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Epidi

    2012 is here. Simple ending of an era. Alot of strange things will happen this year as the wheel of the universe turns.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pdfsmail

    It has been in the 60s (and upper 50s) in Denver the past few days, including today...

    Global Warming, no I do not think so, we have only been keeping records of the weather for a century now... and think we can explain wild temperature fluctuations... how do we know this does not happen every so many years? I think people fail when they use "global warming" as an excuse for every weather phenomenon they hear about... I am sure as the sun grows warmer over the next couple billion years people will be completely ignorant to outside events such as that and blame some sort of not natural source as the issue... Not saying it has no effect, but it is not everything... planets have cycles.. maybe this is part of it?

    January 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      Are you suggesting that man cannot control the weather? or that there were no strange weather patterns before man?

      You see mankind started to populate the earth during the ice age. You see our caveman ancestors started this "global warming" and the planet has been heating up every since. (Yea I'm joking)

      January 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtt

      like a glacier? Ice cores? Evolution and adaption of location dependent species? Actully on earth the energy from the sun has is cooler slightly for the last 50 years.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • larry simpson

      remember the ice age,remember the dinosaurs disappearing? cycles have been happening forever 🙂

      January 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • yahmez

      I am not old enough to remember the dinosaurs, but that last Ice Age sure was cold!
      Weather is powered by heat. A record cold in Florida is powered by warm air heading north, displacing a cold air mass.
      None of this disproves global warming. Act now, or buy property in Antarctica to build a beach house.
      The magnetic poles are shifting, too. Get ready for things to get weirder.

      January 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Yahmez, I need to clarify a bit. Weather isn't "powered by heat". It's a combination of the spining of the earth and our sun. The ocean currents and the tendancy of heat (equator) and cold (poles) trying to equalize is how we get weather.

      January 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Barry G.

    Maybe it's time to get serious about taking care of our planet.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jtt

    To all of thsoe out there that live in perpetual denial and think one anomalous cold snap disputes climate theory or cured climate change, just in the last week in the US:

    Record Events for Wed Dec 28, 2011 through Tue Jan 3, 2012
    Total Records: 1562
    Rainfall: 329
    Snowfall: 131
    High Temperatures: 705
    Low Temperatures: 13
    Lowest Max Temperatures: 15
    Highest Min Temperatures: 369

    – Source Hamweather.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jimbo

    I'll I know is we need some more snow here in Colorado, I miss my sweet powder. Lowest snow levels in almost 30 years. I'm fishing instead of getting some runs in.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Luke

    Wow. All of this talk about the weather and none of us will even be here in 75 years. What a waste of time.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Grumpar

    So, it's warm in Montana where they can use it, and it's cool in Florida where they can use it. Sounds good to me.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtt

      Montana and the entire northwest is suffering from a beetle kill epidemic from drought and warmth. Florida has had a few successive impulse coral kills and many citrus kills from cold and is dealing with extreme heat, drought in and the threat of stronger tropical systems the summer. So no, its not “good” for anyone.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mecatfish

    Looks like its time to put the Vexilar away.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fluffyeskimo

    Here in Bethel,AK is -33 standing and -60 windchill

    January 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jh

    had a dream about antartica and siezmic waves in the indian ocean. hope it help i never missed before . so at least be prepared.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Que

    Big deal enjoy it. It will get very cold soon.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nightsun2k7

    and everybody mocked Al's real simple.....glacier there, glacier no more there..."warm places will become cold, cold places will become warm"

    January 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo

      Al Gore deserves to be mocked. He didn't do as he preached, total hypocrite who made millions off a crisis.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • yahmez

      @ Jimbo
      Al Gore deserves to be mocked because he married Tipper, not global warming.

      January 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
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