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. don vest

    looks like he's going to rob a store

    January 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jim

    Its just the weather. It is not a liberal/conservative debate. Good grief people.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. boronok

    This just in!!
    Gravity is unproven theory!!
    Many believe it is actually a left wing conspiracy!!!

    January 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. unowhoitsme

    Snowbirds brought it all down to Florida! Go home!

    January 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Christ people, get a damn grip. This is not a life ending phenomenon. The weather just freaks out from time to time. I remember growing up in Detroit in the 50's and 60's, some days in the middle of winter we were walking around in short sleeves. Get over yourselves fearmongers.

    OMG the sky is falling. Geeesh

    January 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      It is oh man.

      January 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    Must be wobal garming.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Suze

    Uh...just realized I hit the "i" instead of the "u" in "would". See what a difference it makes?

    January 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Montana Native

    Born and raised in Montana I don't remeber any January being this warm. I wouldn't say the abnormal temperatures are from global warming, but we do need to think about how people impact the planet and the resources. Our population is growing way to fast, and we will reach a point where are resources will not be able to sustain us. To get an idea of where we are headed with our resources watch EARTH 2100 on the History channel. Its very eye opening. Also do some research on Water Wars, thats a scary topic to. If you don't believe in global warming or that we wont run out of resources eventually, you will be the ones who will have the hardest time surviving and adapting. As for me, I like to think anything is possible, for better or worse.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarileeBob

      I refer to it as 'climate change'; its not like the entire planet is going to heat up all of a sudden, our climate will just change all over the globe. Places where it used to be hot, it'll be colder, and vice versa. We'll have all kinds of 'record' temperatures recorded, record lows and highs.

      January 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • ross

      you are asking people to actually "think"............geddaoutahere!

      January 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lue Blacknell

    It is the "hot air" from Congress-because they surely are only working their "lips".

    January 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. open400

    Climate change is a proven fact, not a disputed theory. How much climate change we will experience, what will be the impact and over what period of time is the debate. We went though this same kind of denial back in the 1960s with smoking. The tobacco industry's "scientists" would deny cigarette smoking was not the cause of many health problems including lung cancer. I remember back in the 1960s the tobacco industry’s “scientists” said that these tobacco-related illnesses were the result of defective genes in people. These “scientists” would point to some guy that was a 100 years old that smoked his whole life – the exception on the very fringe of the bell shaped curve of statistical data. The Right wing has been waging this war on science for years because science has shown some of their conservative values are damaging people and/or the environment.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Yes. Climate change is a proven fact. Climate change has always been and will always be. The largest debate is whether human contributions to the atmosphere are significantly affecting it or not.

      January 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      There was a time doctors recommended people take up smoking to calm their nerves. So much for all these AMA experts!

      January 4, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jaimeh

    Can't wait for conservatives blaiming the weather on Obama ...

    January 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Burbank

    Just keep cranking out 3-6 kid families like there will be no consequences people! This is all due to pollution caused by overpopulation and you are looking at the consequences of what the last generation did. Now their grown up overpopulated kids are starting to breed like thier own kids won't be suffering the consequences too – just like the example thier parents set. It won't get any better until we lower the population by not making the same mistake with this generation. You are looking at the new normal. Scary?? You're damn right it is!

    January 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MINX

    WEATHER – it is what it is and it's going to be what it's going to be – and you can do what about it??????

    January 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ross

      We can STOP putting garbage in our atmosphere..........and take that head out of the sand!

      January 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andrea M

    Man do I wish I were at my aunts house! She's on the North Shore of Oahu and it's great to just spend all day watching the surfers when big waves come in.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob

    I'm from Maine I love how people in Florida are freaking out about it being in the 50's and 60's.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
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