Prensa Latina – December 17, 2010
Cubans were bundling up in coats, scarves and boots as a mass of dry, cold Arctic air from the north brought the lowest temperatures in 50 years to most of Cuba this week.
On Tuesday, 31 records were broken for lows on the island, nine of them absolute and 22 for the month of December as part of this cold front, according to the Meteorology Institute.
One of the lowest-ever temperatures was in the city of Matanzas, with 1.9 degrees Celsius (35.42 degrees Fahrenheit).
Other records were broken in Indio Hatuey, Matanzas (2.0), Bainoa, La Habana (2.5), Aguada de Pasajeros, Cienfuegos (2.7), Jagüey Grande, Matanzas (2.8), Unión de Reyes, Matanzas (3.2), Tapaste, La Habana (3.4), Melena del Sur, La Habana (3.6), Santo Domingo, Villa Clara (3,6), Playa Girón, and Jovellanos, Matanzas (3.7).
The record cold had some wondering if it might snow in Cuba.
That would only happen under very exceptional conditions, according to Ramon Perez, head of the Climate Center at the Meteorology Institute, who spoke to Granma newspaper.
In order for snowflakes to fall without melting first, the temperature must be below the freezing point (0 degrees Celsius) and as the cold fronts caused by snowfall in North America moved down over Cuba, they are affected by heat from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Strait, Perez said.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Cuba is 0.6 degrees Celsius (33.08 degrees Fahrenheit), registered in Bainoa on February 18, 1996.