February trying to make the record books for cold
It’s not a record you want to see broken, but one that just may be by the time this winter season is finished.
The winter of 2007-2008 holds the local record for the most days with below zero temperatures at 61. But already this winter the area has recorded 55 days below zero putting it in a tie for fifth place with the winter of 1996-1997 and only 6 days behind the record.
Even though western Minnesota is forecast to have highs in mid to upper 30s, with lows teens and 20s this week, the National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting much colder temperatures by the weekend. Below zero days are forecast to return by Saturday and linger into at least the middle of next week. If the current forecast proves accurate, the area should be in a tie for second place by next Tuesday at 59 days below zero.
But then forecasts are educated guesses.
Last week’s weather story started with the lede sentence saying, “A stretch of 17 consecutive days with below zero temperatures was to finally end Wednesday with the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasting a low of only 10 degrees above zero.” The NWS was 12 degrees off on that forecast – it fell to a minus 2 degrees bringing the stretch of continuous below zero days to 18. From Jan. 26 to Feb. 12, it fell below zero every day.
The bitterly cold stretch of days finally ended Feb. 13 when the low only fell to 1 degree above zero, but then the next three days it fellow in the subzero range again.
Through the first 16 days of February, the highs averaged 12.5 degrees and the lows a minus 10.6 degrees. Highs were 12.1 below the average of 24.6 degrees and the lows were 16.8 degrees below the average of 6.2 degrees.