The UA campus got a shock yesterday with a sudden cold spurt that dipped high temperatures to 20 degrees below Tuesday's.
The cold spell came after a month of unusually high temperatures, peaking at a rare 99 degrees on Oct. 17, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Glenn Lader. Today's projected high of 59 degrees will be the lowest for this date since 1960, he said.
""This cold snap will help bring those numbers down a little bit but we'll still probably end (the month's average) a little higher than normal,"" Lader said.
The unusual weather was caused by a high-altitude low-pressure system passing over Tucson, explained atmospheric sciences Emeritus Professor Benjamin Herman.
The system creates a pocket of cold air high in the sky that prevents the sun from effectively warming the ground during the day and traps cold air at night, he said.
The air – desribed by Lader as an ""cold storm"" - originated in the Gulf of Alaska and stayed cold as it travelled to the desert Southwest, he said, adding that temperatures are likely to rise by the weekend as the storm passes over.
This kind of weather is normal for the winter, Herman said, but less so for October.
""These things are quite common later in the year, but not usually this early,"" Herman said.
What do you think about the cold snap?
""I like it, but I'll be over it in like a week."" — Lucy Bruni, pre-physiology freshman
""I was literally wearing shorts yesterday."" — Kristin Basak, pre-business freshman
""Let's put it this way: if you're Scottish, it's a beautiful summer day."" — Muriel Fisher, linguistics research specialist and Scottish-Gaelic instructor
""I dig it."" — Cate Clifton, anthropology senior
""I'm from Texas and the reason I came here is because it's supposed to be warm all the time."" — Rachel Reznick, theater arts freshman
""I only own flip-flops."" — Emily Ossip, theater arts freshman