Gainesville on track for its coldest winter ever

Rainy weather could start on Tuesday night

Morning fog hangs over Lake Alice at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Jan. 30, 2010.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.

Gainesville awoke to a bright golden haze across Paynes Prairie on Sunday, with early fog burning off to reveal a beautiful morning.

Churchgoers shed coats, joggers put on shorts and everyone reveled in the blue skies. Temperatures reached about 70 degrees by mid-afternoon.

According to the National Weather Service, we can expect more of the same Monday and Tuesday, with the high expected to reach 72 today and 74 on Tuesday.

But, of course, it can't last forever. Showers are expected late Tuesday night and could last through Friday. That will bring temperatures down into the 60s by later in the week. National Weather Service Meteorologist Jason Hess said the showers will not be accompanied by severe weather like last week's storms, although there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms.

But last weekend's balmy skies belie a record-setting trend in Gainesville. Hess said Title Town is on track for its coldest winter ever.

"Since Dec. 1, we've had an average of 49.5 degrees, the first time it's done that in recorded history," Hess said.

December saw 16 days with temperatures at or below freezing, while January had eight such days. The year 1940 holds the record for the coldest January ever in Gainesville. Right now, 2011 is ranked 15th on that coldest-weather list.

Hess explained that the bad siblings of weather — El Nino and La Nina — are not to blame. Instead it's something that sounds like it's an arctic oscillation, also known as a polar vortex. The weather phenomenon has been pushing freezing air to the Sunshine State.

Contact Kimberly Moore at 374-5036 or

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