Temperature in Columbia reached record high for Jan. 28

Monday, January 28, 2013 | 7:00 p.m. CST; updated 11:44 a.m. CST, Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Animals and people enjoy the unseasonably warm weather Monday.

COLUMBIA — Monday was a day to swap winter coats for shorts.

The temperature reached 77 degrees on Monday, shattering the previous record of 67, set in 2002. The unseasonably warm weather is expected to continue throughout the day on Tuesday.

"This is one of warmest days in January in the 125 years that we've kept data for Columbia," said Anthony Lupo, chair of the MU Atmospheric Science Department.

An unusually warm, "spring-like" front caused Monday’s balmy temperatures, according to Scott Truett, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

“Low pressure to the west is dragging warm air into the area,” Lupo said.

Monday’s low temperature was 55, breaking the highest previous minimum temperature record by two degrees.

As of 5:55 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service called for a high of 68 for Tuesday, which would break the 2008 record of 64.

A cold front will begin moving into the area on Tuesday afternoon and mix with the warm, moist air to form severe thunderstorms with gusts up to 25 mph. A tornado is possible but not likely, Truett said.

“The primary threat is going to be straight line wind damage, but we can’t really discount the possibility of a tornado,” he said.

Wednesday will see a return to seasonal temperatures and a slight chance of snow.

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