It was a record-brrrreaking January

Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.

For those who shivered through it, this won’t be difficult to believe: January was a month when Gainesville shattered a century-old weather record.

The stretch of 13 consecutive days — Jan. 2-14 — when the low temperatures were below freezing set a local record for any month since record keeping began in 1891, said Angie Enyedi, a meteorologist at the Jacksonville office of the National Weather Service.

The previous record of consecutive days with a low temperature below freezing was nine, set in December 1960.

On the subject of records, there were at least two more: On Jan. 11, 2010, the temperature dropped to 17 degrees — a record low for that day — and Gainesville Regional Utilities reported a record winter peak usage of 468 megawtts.

All in all, when examining the high and low temps throughout the month, the National Weather Service said January 2010 wasn’t the coldest January on record for the Gainesville area. It tied 1918 as the ninth coldest, Enyedi said. She said the coldest January was 1940.

Still, the average daily high and low temperatures for January 2010 were well below historic averages. The average high was 62 degrees, compared with the historic average of 66; and the average low was 36 degrees, compared with the historic average of 42.

Don King, who owns a produce farm in Hague, said the nearly two-week stretch of freezing lows claimed 30 percent of his strawberry crop.

“It killed everything I had up off the ground,” King said. “It froze the berries and killed the blooms...It’s been colder than that before but we never had that many days in a row.”

While temperatures were below typical levels, there was more rainfall than usual for January: 4.54 inches, compared with the historic average of 3.51 inches.

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