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Florida Freeze Snaps Weather Records

icicle red berries florida freeze
Icicles hang on this berry tree near Jacksonville, Florida. (Image credit: jon-johannes/flickr)

The Sunshine State was shivering cold over the weekend, with temperatures falling far below freezing during the state's first blast of winter.

The winter has been wimpy for most of the continental United States until recently. But a strong cold front moved through Florida this past Friday (Feb. 11) and snapped the state back into the reality of winter. The cold plunge turned Florida frigid, and a few weather records fell with the temperatures. Freeze warnings were issued, snow birds complained, and people across the state (gasp!) put on jackets.

Jacksonville recorded a record low for Feb. 12 of 24 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 4 degrees Celsius), according to the National Weather Service. That snapped a record set in 1981 for the day. Daytona Beach tied a 1955 record low of 30 F (minus 1 C) on the same day. South Florida wasn't frosty, but it wasn't all sun and fun. The high temperature in Miami was a measly 61 F (16 C) yesterday (Feb. 12).

"Sixty-one is cold for south Florida," said the Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams on "Wake Up with Al."

In mid-state, counties around Tampa didn't set any records, but they were still under a hard freeze watch this morning, which left farmers worried about their crops. Low temperatures aren't uncommon this time of year for the Tampa region, so the reason for the cold was obvious.

"The simple answer is that it's winter time," said Richard Rude, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Tampa.

The freezing weather — technically caused by a strong high-pressure system following a cold front — is pushing east today (Feb. 13), Rude told OurAmazingPlanet, and mild winter temperatures for Florida are expected to return by midweek, according to the NWS.

You can follow OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel on Twitter: @btisrael. Follow OurAmazingPlanet for the latest in Earth science and exploration news on Twitter @OAPlanet and on Facebook.

Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.