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Thread: Record cold temps,snowfalls,snowstorms/ice etc..

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    Member MatthewCarman's Avatar
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    Default Record cold temps,snowfalls,snowstorms/ice etc..

    This information is taken from the book "Extreme Weather"
    by Christopher C. Burt. This is the 2003 edition so years after 2003 are not included. Since we have alot of new members and weather enthusiasts I thought some would be interested in this information.


    Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota is the coldest major city in the lower 48 states. Since 1820 records have been kept. An extreme low of -41 was reached in January of 1889 at St. Paul. The average temperature for winter's three months is 17.3 degrees. One year during 186 consecutive hours between New Years Eve of 1911 and January 8, 1912, the thermometer did not rise once above 0 degrees. Then for four hours it rose above 0 degrees only to fall below for another 113 hours.

    10 Coldest cities in the US with an average annual temperature from 1970-2000 are:
    Fairbanks, AK 26.7
    Anchorage, AK 36.2
    International Falls, MN 37.4
    Duluth, MN 39.1
    Caribou, ME 39.2
    Butte, MT 39.5
    Sault. Ste. Marie, MI 40.1
    Grand Forks, ND 40.3
    Alamosa, CO 40.8
    Williston, ND 40.9

    Average January temperatures from 1970-2000:
    Fairbanks, AK -19.0
    International Falls, MN -8.4
    Grand Forks, ND -3.7
    Alamosa, CO -3.7

    Fairbanks Alaska is the coldest city in the US. Temperatures for at least a few days ever winter can be expected to fall below -40 degrees. Bismark, Fargo and Grand forks (ND) averages 14.5, 11.1 and 9.7 degrees for the December through February period. Hansboro ND averages 5.4 degrees all winter. The average nighttime low is -10.4 degrees. Tower, MN averages a daily low of 13.6 degrees for the month of January. Taylor Lake, CO averages 12.2 for a January night.

    Alamosa, CO 91 35 7/2/1989
    Coalville, UT 100 37 7/10/2003
    Delta, UT 107 42 7/10/2003
    Kansas City, MO 76 11 11/11/1911
    Las Vegas, NV 119 48 7/13/1972
    Oklahoma City, OK 83 17 11/11/1911
    Rapid City, SD 101 39 8/17/2002
    Pine Valley, NV 97 30 7/30/1989
    Souix City, IA 91 33 5/16/1997

    Juniper Lake in Oregon on May 2, 1968 had a temperature rise from 0 degrees in the morning to an afternoon high of 81 degrees.


    Several states in the lower 48 have had a record cold temperature of -60 degrees and are MN, ND, MT, WY, CO and UT. SD and MN also have a unofficial reading of -60 degrees at Rochford and Embarrass.
    I will list only a few of the records for these states.

    Roger Pass, -70
    Fort Keogh -65
    Elk Park Pass -64

    Riverside Ranger Station -66
    Moran -63

    Peter Sink -69
    Middle Sink -62
    Last edited by MatthewCarman; 12-05-2009 at 02:16 AM.
    There can be miracles when you believe. - Prince of Egypt.

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    Member MatthewCarman's Avatar
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    Taken from "Extreme Weather" by Christopher C Burt. (2003 Edition)


    Fairbanks Alaska Deep freeze December 1961 had 16 days where temperatures day to night averaged -40 to -55 with a temperature of -62 recorded twice. Ambler Alaska recorded a daily temperature of -66 degrees on January 27, 1989. The windchill made it feel like -120 degrees.
    Several places in Alaska have recorded a temperature between -70 and
    -80 with the coldest temperature recorded at Prospect Creek Camp at
    -79.8 degrees. Coldfoot has an unofficial reading of -82 degrees.

    A thermometer left at an elevation of 15,000 feet on Mt. McKinley for 19 years recorded a low temperature of -100 degrees at some time during it's exposure according to the US Army Natick Laboratories in 1969. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -128.6 degrees at a Russian research station near the South Pole. A colder reading was reported during the winter of 1997 at -132 degrees but was never confirmed.
    July, 1968 the average annual temp was 99.8 degrees. July 4, 2003 Queen Muad Land in East Antarctica reported an air temperature of -94 degrees and a wind speed of 75 MPH resulting in a windchill of -150 degrees.

    Russia's far east is the coldest permanently inhabitable region in the world. Daily temps have been recorded of -54 to -63 with the coldest ever recording being -90 degrees for this region. Oymyakon had an unofficial temp of -108 degrees and has never seen a temperature above 0 degrees for December 1 to March 1 with the warmest winter reading being -4 degrees. A phenomenon known as the "whispering of the stars" is said to occur, when ice crystals in the atmosphere make a swishing sound when the temperature falls below -58 degrees. Spitsbergen, Norway, averages -4 during it's coldest month, March.
    Last edited by MatthewCarman; 12-05-2009 at 02:15 AM.
    There can be miracles when you believe. - Prince of Egypt.

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    Member MatthewCarman's Avatar
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    Taken from "Extreme Weather" by Christopher C Burt. (2003 Edition)


    The nation in February of 1899 saw the greatest cold wave in modern U.S. history. (record keeping period) During the first two weeks of February temperatures in ever state fell below 0 degrees with Tallahassee, Florida recording -2 degrees. February 14, New Orleans saw snow and February 13, was the coldest day ever for the city. Ice flows chocked the Mississippi River and flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. The temperature for Havana, Cuba did not rise above 54 degrees on February 14. Temperatures dropped between -50 and -62 in the upper Midwest and rockies. By mid February the Mississippi River had frozen 16 inches thick. Washington D.C. recorded it's coldest modern temperature ever of -15 on February 11. Record cold temperatures for over 40 major cities and 4 states still stands today.

    The Midwest saw it's worst winter ever from 1935-1936. Langdon, N.D. had 41 consecutive days with a temperature below 32 degrees from January 1 to February 20, the longest stretch in US history outside of Alaska. Fort Berthold Agency, ND went seven days consecutive days with a maximum temperature of -20 or lower and for two full weeks remained below -10 degrees. Parshall, ND dropped to -60 degrees on February 15. Turtle Lake, ND had an average mean temperature of -19.4 degrees.
    This was the coldest month ever from Montana to Minnesota. Amenia recorded a maximum temperature of only 10 degrees for the entire month of January.

    The Western U.S. saw it's worst cold wave in January 1949. This was the coldest winter at almost every weather station in California, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon. Severe blizzards also plagued this month with Las Vegas receiving 16.7 inches of snow for the month. Operation Haylift was started by the army to send supplies to farmers and people stuck at ranches in Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota.

    January of 1977 was one of the worst cold waves the country has ever seen. 69 of the 302 weather stations recorded their coldest month on record. The cold air extended from Iowa and Missouri east to New Hampshire and south to Florida. Ohio saw the worst of the cold weather where ever weather station recorded it's coldest month on record and Cincinnati dropped to -25 degrees it's coldest temperature ever in the records. From Eastern Iowa to Western Pennsylvania for the entire month of January the temperatures did not reach above 0 degrees. On the morning of January 28, the windchill for Minneapolis dropped to -78 degrees. Buffalo, New York saw it's worst blizzard ever for the last week of the month when near hurricane force winds created white out conditions for almost three days. Temperatures hovered near 0 with a windchill of -60 degrees. Snowdrifts up to 30 feet deep literally buried entire homes with their occupants. Winds up to 73 MPH broke windows in homes and were quickly replaced with blowing and drifting snow.

    Temperature rises and drops and Chinook Winds:

    Chinook winds called "snow eaters" by the Indians is warm air that quickly melts snow. When a stationary front retreats northward temperatures can increase dramatically along and east of the Rockies.

    Kipp, Montana on December 1, 1896, saw the temperature rise to 80 degrees in about 15 hours entirely melting 30" of snow. Grainville, North Dakota on February 21, 1918, saw a temperature raise from -33 degrees to an afternoon high of 50 degrees, an astonishing 83 degree rise. Assiniboine, Montana on January 19, 1893 saw in 15 minutes a temperature rise of 42 degrees. Helana, Montana in 50 hours had a temperature raise of -36 to 54 degrees during January of 1954. Loma, Montana had a temperature increase from -54 to 49 degrees on January 14-15, 1972 resulting in a 103 degree change in 24 hours.

    A stationary front can retreat southward resulting in a temperature drop. Browning, Montana on January 23-24, 1916 saw a temperature drop of 100 degrees in 24 hours from 44 to -56 degrees. Fairfield, Montana saw on December 24, 1924, in 12 hours a temperature drop of 84 degrees from 63 at noon to -21 at midnight, March 17-18, 1883, Huron South Dakota saw a drop from 71 to -8 degrees. The famous cold front passage of January 10-11, 1911 was responsible for the sharpest drop in temperature ever across a wide area of the Midwest. Kansas City saw a drop from 76 to to 11 degrees by midnight for January 11. Oklahoma City's temperature dropped from 83 to 17 degrees. Rapid City, South Dakota, in just two hours saw a 75 degree drop from 62 to -13 degrees between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. on January 10.

    The Black Hills of South Dakota sometimes experiences a unique phenomenon when a stationary front separating very cold air from mild air stalls over it's mountains and valleys. Cold or warm air pockets become trapped in valleys and slosh back and forth like water in a shallow bowl. Dramatic temperature changes can result in minutes instead of hours. One time in Lead it was 52 while 600 feet lower but only 1 1/2 miles away Deadwood had a temperature of -16 degrees. The shocking change in temperature cracked windows in Lead and winds 40-50 MPH whipped through the region. As motorists drove from a warm pocket to a cold pocket of air their windshields would instantly freeze over.

    Spearfish during the morning of January 22, 1943 saw in just two minutes a 45 degree rise from -4 to 45 degrees. By 9:00 A.M. the temperature had risen gradually to 54 degrees when it suddenly dropped to -4 degrees over the next 27 minutes. Rapid City a few hours later suffered the same effect.


    Thompson Pass, Alaska, located at 2,600 feet and about 20 miles inland receives an average of 600" of snow a year but the winter of 1952-52 a total of 975" fell with 346" in a single month. December of 1995 had a five day period where a single snowstorm dropped 175.4" of snow.

    The Mt. Baker Lodge at about 5,000 feet in Washington recorded 1,140" of snow (95 feet!) during the winter of 1998-1999.

    Montague Township, Newyork, in January of 1997 had an unofficial world record of 77" of snow in just 24 hours.

    In January 1-3, 1961 in northern Idaho 8" of ice accumulated. 6" of ice has been recorded once in TX and once in NY with an ice storm.

    Weather historian David Ludlum cites an ice coating on a 12" length of #14 telephone wire weighed 11 pounds during Michigan's famous ice storm of 21-23, 1922.


    Utah, December 2, 1970, a tornado moved across the Timpanogas Divide that had a snow cover of 38". The tornado snapped tress one foot in diameter and sucked snow over a thousand feet high into it's funnel resulting in a solid white appearance
    Last edited by MatthewCarman; 12-06-2009 at 01:24 AM.
    There can be miracles when you believe. - Prince of Egypt.

  4. #4


    Is there something you are wanting to discuss in this thread or just posting things from a book for your own informational purposes?
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  5. #5
    Member MatthewCarman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Allington View Post
    Is there something you are wanting to discuss in this thread or just posting things from a book for your own informational purposes?
    This is for informational purposes. I thought maybe a few people would find it interesting.

    I added some information for snow and ice records but I don't feel like spending two hours putting down as much information as I did for cold temperatures.
    Last edited by MatthewCarman; 12-06-2009 at 01:25 AM.
    There can be miracles when you believe. - Prince of Egypt.

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