Northern Ohio breaks record high; Unseasonable national weather not all that unusual

CLEVELAND - Usually in the middle part of January, northern Ohio is stuck in a deep freeze and buried under a blanket of thick snow. But not this year. 2013 has bucked that trend.

Mid-January is normally our coldest time of the year. Highs only average in the low to mid-30s. We don't start warming up until early February.

This year, we nearly reached record highs on both Saturday and Sunday. Highs topped out in the middle 60s. That's a good 30 degrees above normal.

We weren't the only ones. From Boston to Washington to Atlanta, highs averaged 30 degrees above normal with several records set along the East Coast and through the south.

While things were heating up across the east, a deep freeze was happening across the west. Parts of southern California, southern Nevada and southern Arizona had temperatures at or below freezing. Freeze warnings are out again for those parts Monday night. Winter storm warnings are out for parts of New Mexico.

While the snowfall isn't unusual, temperatures in the 20s and 30s in California and Arizona, are. Tucson, Ariz. reached a low of 21 degrees. That's the coldest temperature ever recorded there, breaking a record of 20 back in 1940.

Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles dropped to their coldest point in 23 years Monday morning, hitting 34 degrees. The Phoenix metro area is experiencing its coldest stretch since 1988.

When the warm and cold clash, severe weather can break out. This happened in portions of Tennessee and Kentucky. A tornado destroyed a church in Kentucky and Tennessee experienced flooding rains. We also had some localized flooding in northern Ohio.

The words extreme weather, might be a bit too extreme.

Cold outbreaks like this aren't that unusual. Nor is severe weather in the Tennessee Valley. They do happen from time to time. And typically, if one part of the country is very warm, there's another part that's very cold. Record high temperatures happen any month of the year. What makes some say "extreme" is we are in the midst of the coldest time of our year, so all-time records are now being threatened.

Things moderate through the middle of this week. Normal temperatures return out west and winter returns across the Midwest and northeast. I expect another, more significant, cold snap to affect us early next week with highs likely dropping into the teens. By then, we'll see a warm up out west. So goes our winter.

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