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Big, brief cold spell plumbs record

But forecasters say we should be dressed for lunchtime temperatures in the mid 70s.

By AARON SHAROCKMAN
Published April 25, 2005


An early morning cold snap is threatening to break a 102-year record for April 25th.

Temperatures were expected to fall to 51 degrees early today at Tampa International Airport, one degree cooler than the record, set in 1903.

Don't worry. Schools will open. Crops will be safe.

And by lunchtime, "we'll be back into the mid 70s," said Ernie Jillson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

The brief cold spell swooped in Saturday afternoon as storms moved through Central Florida. Cooler temperatures hung around Sunday and into this morning.

Jillson said a 102-year-old record is "unusually long." In 1903, railroads were just reaching Tampa. The old federal courthouse was a year old.

Jillson wasn't even sure where the 1903 temperature was recorded. Meteorologists now record Tampa weather changes at the airport.

"Personally, I wish we'd get a lot of fronts through like this," Jillson said. "I guarantee come June, July, August, you'll be praying for winter. Florida winter, not Michigan winter."

About 1,200 miles north, people in Vassar, Mich., were feeling the effects from the same huge cold front, though a bit more keenly. After enjoying temperatures in the low 80s last week, the mercury had dipped below freezing Sunday and several inches of snow had fallen. "The boots are back out, snow shovels, gloves, all that good stuff," said Liz Tompkins, who owns a fruit orchard in Vassar, a small town near the thumb of the state. "I think we're a little worse off."

[Last modified April 25, 2005, 08:37:25]


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