Winter was coldest, or second-coldest, in west-central Florida

Mercury plunged. Power bills lunged.

Farmers of strawberries, tomatoes and even tropical fish watched their crops wilt, blacken or float to the surface. Manatees perished in record numbers and snook succumbed by the school.

"People ask me, 'Was it really one of the coldest winters?' " said Bay News 9 meteorologist Brian McClure. "It was."

The National Weather Service says the winter season that ended Friday is either the coldest or second-coldest in the region, depending on where you live:

St. Petersburg: The average temperature was 56.9 degrees, the coldest in 96 years of tracking. The next coldest year, by a fraction of a degree, was 1940.

Tampa: The average was 55.6 degrees. Only 1978 was colder in 120 years of record keeping.

St. Leo University in Pasco County: The average barely missed the record of 54.6 degrees set in 1931, coming in two-tenths of a degree higher.

Brooksville: The 55.3-degree average broke the 1920 record.

Winter was coldest, or second-coldest, in west-central Florida 03/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 11:33am]

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