More freezes likely before winter ends

By Blake Mathews - Meteorologist
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Here's an update to the story we brought to you on Monday about our 'intense' Indian Summer here across Jacksonville. There's much talk about the ''hottest year ever'' in the United States for 2012 but as warm as its been here, it has been way warmer in decades past.

Try 1937! Long before CO2 became the catalyst to the climate change panic. In fact, it came on the heels of the Great Dust Bowl and long before the dramatic arcitc outbreaks of the 1970s and 80s---one of which produced snow in Miami.

According to The National Weather Service's Jason Hess, January 1937 saw an incredible 9 days in a row above 80 degrees and 13 days in total for the month of January. The year 1974, a very anomolous decade of below average temperatures for the United States, saw 18 days above 80 degrees in the month of January.

Tuesday marked the 5th day above 80 degrees for January 2013. Wednesday will very likely make number six. However, the trend will soon break. One of several strong cold fronts are expected to make their presence known beginning Thursday with temperatures only making it into the low 60s for daytime highs. Looking out a week, it is possible that a very strong cold front could bring temperatures into the 20s for overnight lows by next Tuesday. We'll keep watching it for you.


Monday's Weather Update:

The Indian Summer is in full force across the region with high temperatures topping 80 degree days for four consecutive days (including Monday's high) in January.

 While 80 degrees days aren't unheard of across northern Florida in the depths of winter, having four consecutively is tough to find -- even in the bellweather years of 2005 (the supposedly hottest year on record). In fact, it hasn't happened in more than 13 years.

Don't let the warmth fool you. We are in early January. The temperatures across Europe and Asia are frigid. China is seeing its coldest winter in over 70 years.

This winter season, we've had 7 freezes officially at JIA -- which is about what we should have recorded thus far according to NOAA averages for our area. The coldest temperature this season came on December 23rd when the mercury bottomed out at 27 degrees. We're just now half way through with January, a month we normally see seven freezes in, and the month of February which averages three freezes annually.

Of the eight past February's, looking at the coldest lows only for the month, we've averaged 26 degrees, which is colder than the lowest low we've seen so far this year, something to think about!

And what do you know?  Moving into the latter part of January, the pattern is expected to shift to a colder pattern across the United States leading to much chillier weather as pressures build in Canada and will help to unlock the arctic air stored up in the northern latitudes.

So, don't let the dusting of pollen and the Spring-like temperatures fool you!  We're very much in the heart of winter and more freezes are likely to intrude our area before winter fades for good.

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