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. Jim970

    Media is so stuck on global warming that any out of the ordinary weather event is the crisis of the century. Cold in Florida? That means northerly flow from the arctic. Warm in Montana? That means south to southwesterly flow from the tropical east Pacific. For those who do not know, this is a very common event. Just because it is a bit more pronounced than average doesn't mean the world is coming to an end. Get a grip, media.

    January 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • toof987

      It's more than a bit pronounced. More than 95% of the scientists agree.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill C

      It is simply amazing that in spite of the continually growing evidence debunking man made global warming there are those loyalilsts who just won't let it go.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJC

      What growing evidence Bill? Sources and evidence please.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I kind of agree with you, in regards to being abnormal event. I don't think this is because of global warming. if you ask me does global worming man made, i would say yes. however, today's event is not due to global warming.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      I am not an environmental scientist but I work alongside some of the best: THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT EVIDENCE GLOBAL WARMING! I wish the Right would just give up this stupid stance.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. government cheese

    Another weather crisis manufactured by liberal global warming nuts. Science is having to prove your theories.

    January 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • toof987

      Science has proven it, it's the 5% that are confusing you. The same thing happened years ago with smoking. A small percentage of doctors insisted that smoking was not harmful and we see how that ended up. When 95% of the scientists agree, it's pretty obvious it's more than a manufactured event.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • raging liberal

      Let me guess – you don't believe in the "theory" of evolution, either?!?

      January 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      As a small clarification, at this point most climatologists do agree that climate change is occurring. The big debate (and there is still a HUGE debate going on within people holding jobs dealing with weather and climate) is whether the human contribution is significant. Or if us changing our habits would even have an effect on it.

      That being said, I fully support being responsible and learning to conserve our resourses for the simple fact that it's the right thing to do. We will run out eventually.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yumast B. Jokin

      95% of scientists agree that increased greenhouse gases could warm the oceans and troposphere and lead to change in global climate systems. 95% of scientists will also tell you that climate systems and weather events are two completely different things, and that efforts to attribute unusual weather events to climate change are more the purview of JRR Tolkien than competent scientists. Weird weather happens. When it happens, all it proves is that weird weather happens. Climate change is real, but weather events don't prove that. Not one little bit.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. elections are rigged

    "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

    January 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OBG

    Every year Florida experiences record cold. How can that be?

    January 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JJC

    Get a grip nut jobs. This article does not mention climate change at all. It is simply stating a few facts about the weather over the last day. You are the ones reading into it. Put your tinfoil hats back on. You blame the media for so many things you look like a joke.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rosie

    Since you need a brain to read a news story and NOT get your panties in a bunch, you all seem to fail at understanding this – it is just a story. Do not try to read your own bias into it.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • hillman

      the world is ending and thats it end of story

      January 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john marsten

    it's 86 degrees today in Los Angeles

    January 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. FU

    Not such a "weird" weather day when flocks of dead birds show up days before and HAARP is being fired into the ionosphere...

    January 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hillman

    and man is the cause of it we are greedy irresponsible people we want what we want and we want it yesterday well we got it and in a big way.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. truth

    omg! omg! omg! where are the psycho global warming folks?? where? where? where? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    January 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. New Yooooooooooork

    -3 C / 26 F in New York City right now! No snow yet :/

    January 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bonjour!

    -9 (16 F) in Montreal.... brr

    January 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kude

    See rain in winter? Man made global warming. See snow? Man made climate change.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. corntrader19

    Like the song says "You ain't seen nothin' yet." It is going to get wilder and more extreme as time goes on. This past summer, I spoke to a friend in Connecticut that didn't have an air conditioner. It got so hot in Connecticut that he had to go shopping to be in the AC awhile because he doesn't own an AC because it never has gotten warm enough to need one.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hillman

    no snow here in Vermont hasn't been all winter the summers are getting longer and winters are getting shorter and the ones who are like a certain group of people are nut jobs are the ones who cuasing this and dont care as long as they have there i pods and i phones and all there electronics at hand to find there way through life becuz they cant do it on there own.they have to a gadget to show them the way.oh and maybe thats why they cant see whats going on around them becuz there to busy listening to there ten thousnad songs.oh its 50degrees here in vermont jus to let u know.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suze

      I woild tend to agree with your thoughts. But your spelling and grammar take the weight out of your argument. It's not "...they cant do it on there own...." Try "...they can't do it on their own..." etc. Please. If you want to be taken seriously learn basic English and spelling.

      January 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
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