January could be coldest since 1985: Accuweather

WASHINGTON Tue Jan 4, 2011 4:08pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This month could be the coldest January for the nation as a whole since the 1980s, according to Accuweather.com.

The weather website's chief long-range forecaster, Joe Bastardi, said regional temperatures have been lower in past Januarys, but this month could see the coldest coast-to-coast temperatures since 1985.

"We have not had a winter where almost all the country is at or below normal, and that's what's going to happen," Bastardi said in an interview.

He said the early days of January haven't been unusually cold, and the last 10 days or so could be milder. But every region of the country could see a "major cold shock" in the middle of the month, Bastardi said.

He anticipates Chicago and Omaha could have days where the high does not climb above zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17.77 degrees Celsius), and New York City could see a day with highs in the teens. Bastardi also said snow could be possible in parts of the Pacific Northwest.

"When we do all the totaling up, we'll see a lot more people below normal than above normal," Bastardi said.

Cold air moving to Texas next week could affect the state's citrus industry, though Bastardi expects Florida citrus will not be hurt, according to the statement.

He said he anticipates February will be cold across the North and mild across the South.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; editing by Jim Marshall)

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