Balmy days end

Area may see lows in the 30s tonight


Published: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 12:49 a.m.
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University of Florida senior Lance Gordon, 21, and Santa Fe Community College student Andressa Soalheiro, 18, play soccer together Monday at a practice field next to the Southwest Softball complex located on the UF campus.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
The balmy weather Floridians have enjoyed over the past week will come to an abrupt end today with temperatures 45 degrees lower than Monday's high and a freeze coming soon, forecasters say.
The first five days of January were all warmer than average, with highs mostly in the upper 70s to low 80s, according to the National Weather Service.
The last few days of December were also warmer than average, with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s.
The average high temperature for early January is 66 degrees.
Several days since Jan. 1 came close to record highs but none quite made it.
But a cold front has changed all that. High temperatures of 60 are expected for today, with lows in the mid-30s, according to the Weather Service. There's a 30 percent chance of rain today.
And the balmy warmth of yesterday isn't coming back anytime soon.
High temperatures will hover around 58 Wednesday, with lows of about 30 degrees. Brisk winds will make it feel like it's in the mid-20s tonight and Wednesday night.
Mike Benton, manager of Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille in downtown Gainesville, said he's sorry to see the warm weather go.
The comfortable temperatures have helped business, Benton said. The restaurant has had a lot of customers sitting outside, he added.
But the cold weather might keep them from even leaving their house, he said.
"Late at night, it seems to slow down quite a bit (when it's cold)," Benton said. "I think people tend to stay home."
Matt Zibura, a meteorologist at the Weather Service, said a high pressure system sitting over South Florida caused the unseasonably warm spell.
"It's been keeping all the cold air up north," Zibura said, adding, "It's going to weaken and the cold air is going to come south."
But this cold blast probably won't set any records. The record low for the next few days was 21 degrees, according to the Weather Service records, which date back more than 100 years. And it won't get nearly as cold as the coldest night ever recorded in Gainesville - 10 degrees on Jan. 21, 1985.
Temperatures through this weekend will stay in the low to mid-60s, with lows in the 40s.
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at 338-3109 or ciotolk@gvillesun.com.

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