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Cold Breaks Loose and Breaks All-time Records

By Joe D'Aleo
Monday, January 26, 2009


For three weeks record cold gripped Alaska and Northwest Canada. It finally let lose mid-month and plunged into the lower 48 states. And it made a heck of an impact.

 

It was -44F in Bismarck, ND On January 15, falling 1 degree short of its all-time cold record for any day set in 1916 and 1936. Waterloo, Iowa came in with -34F, tying its all-time record set in March 1961 (one of our analog years). Rochelle, IL reached -38F January 15th and -36F the following day. That would be a new state record. For IL, beating out the -36F set in 1999 in Congerville.

 

Record Lowest Temperatures by State

State

Temp.
°F  

Temp.
°C

Date

Station

Elevation
in feet

Alabama

–27

–33

Jan. 30, 1966

New Market

760

Alaska

–80

–62

Jan. 23, 1971

Prospect Creek Camp

1,100

Arizona

–40

–40

Jan. 7, 1971

Hawley Lake

8,180

Arkansas

–29

–34

Feb. 13, 1905

Pond

1,250

California

–45

–43

Jan. 20, 1937

Boca

5,532

Colorado

–61

–52

Feb. 1, 1985

Maybell

5,920

Connecticut

–32

–36

Jan. 22, 19611

Coventry

480

Delaware

–17

–27

Jan. 17, 1893

Millsboro

20

D.C.

–15

–26

Feb. 11, 1899

Washington

410

Florida

–2

–19

Feb. 13, 1899

Tallahassee

193

Georgia

–17

–27

Jan. 27, 1940

CCC Camp F-16

est. 1,000

Hawaii

12

–11

May 17, 1979

Mauna Kea

13,770

Idaho

–60

–51

Jan. 18, 1943

Island Park Dam

6,285

Illinois

–36

–38

Jan. 5, 1999

Congerville

635

Indiana

–36

–38

Jan. 19, 1994

New Whiteland

785

Iowa

–47

–44

Feb. 3, 19961

Elkader

770

Kansas

–40

–40

Feb. 13, 1905

Lebanon

1,812

Kentucky

–37

–38

Jan. 19, 1994

Shelbyville

730

Louisiana

–16

–27

Feb. 13, 1899

Minden

194

Maine

–48

–44

Jan. 19, 1925

Van Buren

510

Maryland

–40

–40

Jan. 13, 1912

Oakland

2,461

Massachusetts

–35

–37

Jan. 12, 1981

Chester

640

Michigan

–51

–46

Feb. 9, 1934

Vanderbilt

785

Minnesota

–60

–51

Feb. 2, 1996

Tower

1,460

Mississippi

–19

–28

Jan. 30, 1966

Corinth

420

Missouri

–40

–40

Feb. 13, 1905

Warsaw

700

Montana

–70

–57

Jan. 20, 1954

Rogers Pass

5,470

Nebraska

–47

–44

Dec. 22, 19891

Oshkosh

3,379

Nevada

–50

–46

Jan. 8, 1937

San Jacinto

5,200

New Hampshire

–47

–44

Jan. 29, 1934

Mt. Washington

6,262

New Jersey

–34

–37

Jan. 5, 1904

River Vale

70

New Mexico

–50

–46

Feb. 1, 1951

Gavilan

7,350

New York

–52

–47

Feb. 18, 19791

Old Forge

1,720

North Carolina

–34

–37

Jan. 21, 1985

Mt. Mitchell

6,525

North Dakota

–60

–51

Feb. 15, 1936

Parshall

1,929

Ohio

–39

–39

Feb. 10, 1899

Milligan

800

Oklahoma

–27

–33

Jan. 18, 19301

Watts

958

Oregon

–54

–48

Feb. 10, 19331

Seneca

4,700

Pennsylvania

–42

–41

Jan. 5, 1904

Smethport

est. 1,500

Rhode Island

–25

–32

Feb. 5, 1996

Greene

425

South Carolina

–19

–28

Jan. 21, 1985

Caesars Head

3,115

South Dakota

–58

–50

Feb. 17, 1936

McIntosh

2,277

Tennessee

–32

–36

Dec. 30, 1917

Mountain City

2,471

Texas

–23

–31

Feb. 8, 19331

Seminole

3,275

Utah

–69

–56

Feb. 1, 1985

Peter's Sink

8,092

Vermont

–50

–46

Dec. 30, 1933

Bloomfield

915

Virginia

–30

–34

Jan. 22, 1985

Mountain Lake

3,870

Washington

–48

–44

Dec. 30, 1968

Mazama & Winthrop

2,120; 1,765

West Virginia

–37

–38

Dec. 30, 1917

Lewisburg

2,200

Wisconsin

–55

–48

Feb. 4, 1996

Couderay

1,300

Wyoming

–66

–54

Feb. 9, 1933

Riverside R.S.

6,500

 

But the NWS has decided not to include it.

 

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Chicago IL
432 pm CST Fri Jan 16 2009

 

Regarding Rochelle`s low temperature this morning…the automated weather observing system (AWOS) at the Rochelle airport recorded a temperature of -36f at 745 am this morning. While the thermometer on the AWOS was re-calibrated yesterday and may indeed be accurate…AWOS observations are not quality controlled or calibrated by the National Weather Service and are also not designed for climate purposes.


Therefore…the state climatologist does not consider this temperature an official measurement for the purpose of determining whether or not an all time record low for the state was reached. For the purpose of determining record temperatures for the state…only ASOS and cooperative observer observations will be used since both of these observations are quality controlled by the National Weather Service.

 

See this post questioning that decision by fellow meteorologist Anthony Watts in which he calls the decision to not count the record with this conclusion "So when we see public information statements like the one yesterday from the National Weather Service telling us that the ASOS system is more acceptable that an AWOS system calibrated just the day before, I'm quite comfortable in calling BS on that statement."

 

In New England on the 16th, Maine was coldest in Aroostook County where it reached -44F at Clayton Lake, -48F at Ninemile Bridge and -50F at Big Black River, the last two USGS stations. -50F would be the new All-Time State Record Low for Maine, beating out Van Buren's -48F set in 1925. It would also tie the coldest ever for all of New England set in Bloomfield, Vermont in December 1933. This cold air fresh from Alaska and Northwest Canada meant business. Caribou’s NWS has reserved judgement until the site can be surveyed Let us see if this record holds up in this new era when cold records are not PC.

 

The following was the statement out of Caribou, Maine about the lows on January 16, 2009.

 

Low Temperatures Recorded 16 January, 2009


Here are the preliminary temperature reports from January 16, 2009.

  • First is a map showing temperature reports across northern Maine.
  • Second is a listing of temperature reports from locations across northern Maine.

Our appreciation is extended to highway departments, cooperative observers, SKYWARN spotters and the media for these reports.

A special thanks is extended to the general public for phoning in reports via our automated system. Your help is appreciated and aided us greatly in updating our products.

Map of Temperatures


 

Temperature Reports

 
***********************MINIMUM TEMPERATURES***********************
 
LOCATION            MIN TEMPS    TIME/DATE    COMMENTS
                     DEGREES        OF
                      (F)       MEASUREMENT
 
 
MAINE
 
...AROOSTOOK COUNTY...
   BIG BLACK RIVER        -50   831 AM  1/16 USGS BBRM1
   NINEMILE BRIDGE        -48   841 AM  1/16 USGS NINM1
   ALLAGASH               -47   722 AM  1/16 COOP ALGM1
   DICKEY                 -45   833 AM  1/16 USGS DICM1
   LILLE                  -45   717 AM  1/16 AR034
   MASARDIS               -45   840 AM  1/16 USGS MASM1
   CLAYTON LAKE           -44   832 AM  1/16 COOP CLTM1
   GRAND ISLE             -44   722 AM  1/16 SPOTTER
   OXBOW                  -43   842 AM  1/16 COOP OXBM1
   FORT KENT MILLS        -41   853 AM  1/16 AR054
   STOCKHOLM              -41   717 AM  1/16 SPOTTER
   VAN BUREN              -41   845 AM  1/16 COOP VANM1
   EAGLE LAKE             -40   902 AM  1/16 COOP EGLM1
   FORT KENT              -40   851 AM  1/16 COOP FISM1
   FOX BROOK              -40   835 AM  1/16 COOP FOXM1
   PRESQUE ISLE           -39   758 AM  1/16 AWOS KPQI
   LIMESTONE              -38   917 AM  1/16 COOP LIZM1
   CARIBOU WFO            -37   718 AM  1/16 ASOS KCAR
   MADAWASKA              -37   832 AM  1/16 AR037
   SHERMAN                -37   902 AM  1/16 AR072
   HOULTON                -35   838 AM  1/16 ASOS KHUL
   LIMESTONE              -35   717 AM  1/16 AR035
   FRENCHVILLE            -30   835 AM  1/16 ASOS KFVE
   ASHLAND                -28   716 AM  1/16 SPOTTER
   KNOWLES CORNER         -18   839 AM  1/16 COOP KNCM1
 
...HANCOCK COUNTY...
   WALTHAM                -30   725 AM  1/16 SPOTTER
   PENOBSCOT              -20   717 AM  1/16 HA037
   BAR HARBOR             -15   831 AM  1/16 AWOS KBHB
   ACADIA NATIONAL PARK   -10   830 AM  1/16 COOP ANPM1
   PROSPECT HARBOR        -10   842 AM  1/16 COOP PPHM1
   STONINGTON RAINWISE     -5   844 AM  1/16 COOP STOM1
 
...PENOBSCOT COUNTY...
   GRINDSTONE             -38   837 AM  1/16 USGS GRNM1
   SHIN POND              -38   843 AM  1/16 USGS SBSM1
   CORINNA                -31   852 AM  1/16 COOP CORM1
   OLD TOWN               -30   841 AM  1/16 COOP OLDM1
   MATTAWAMKEAG           -29   840 AM  1/16 USGS MATM1
   WEST ENFIELD           -28   845 AM  1/16 USGS WENM1
   BANGOR                 -24   831 AM  1/16 ASOS KBGR
   MILLINOCKET            -24   841 AM  1/16 ASOS KMLT
   PATTEN                 -24   842 AM  1/16 COOP PATM1
   SUNKHAZE N.W.R.        -22   843 AM  1/16 COOP SHZM1
   DIXMONT                -12   833 AM  1/16 COOP DIXM1
 
...PISCATAQUIS COUNTY...
   KOKADJO                -39   839 AM  1/16 COOP KKJM1
   ABBOT VILLAGE          -37   811 AM  1/16 USGS ABTM1
   BLANCHARD              -35   831 AM  1/16 USGS BLAM1
   GUILFORD               -35   723 AM  1/16 COOP GULM1
   RIPOGENUS DAM          -35   843 AM  1/16 COOP RIPM1
   SEBEC LAKE             -32   838 AM  1/16 COOP GREM1
   DOVER-FOXCROFT         -31   852 AM  1/16 COOP DFXM1
   MILO                   -24   851 AM  1/16 COOP MLDM1
   GREENVILLE             -21   837 AM  1/16 ASOS KGNR
 
...SOMERSET COUNTY...
   SAINT AURELIE          -44   844 AM  1/16 COOP STAM1
   TURNER BROOK RAWS      -38   845 AM  1/16 COOP TNBM1
 
...WASHINGTON COUNTY...
   DANFORTH               -35   833 AM  1/16 COOP DANM1
   WESLEY                 -31   845 AM  1/16 USGS WSLM1
   CHERRYFIELD            -28   831 AM  1/16 USGS CFDM1
   EPPING                 -26   835 AM  1/16 USGS EPPM1
   MOOSEHORN N.W.R.       -26   841 AM  1/16 COOP MWRM1
   MACHIAS                -25   840 AM  1/16 USGS MACM1
   DENNYSVILLE            -24   834 AM  1/16 USGS DVLM1
   PRINCETON              -22   842 AM  1/16 COOP PNNM1
   WHITING                -21   801 AM  1/16 WS038
   GRAND LAKE STREAM      -20   836 AM  1/16 COOP GLSM1
   TOPSFIELD              -20   852 AM  1/16 COOP TOPM1
   WAITE                  -20   722 AM  1/16 WS034
   EAST MACHIAS           -18   852 AM  1/16 COOP ESTM1
   JONESBORO              -14   838 AM  1/16 COOP JONM1
   JONESPORT RAINWISE     -13   839 AM  1/16 COOP JPTM1
   CUTLER RAINWISE        -12   833 AM  1/16 COOP CUTM1
   MILBRIDGE              -12   723 AM  1/16 WS031
   EASTPORT                -9   834 AM  1/16 COOP EPOM1

 

In New York City and Boston a more westerly wind brought a little downslope warming and that kept temperatures above zero although suburban areas were below the zero mark. Concord, NH reached -22F. Westhampton on Long Island where they had fresh snow yesterday reached -15F! Not a good beach day.

 

It is likely to be the coldest January since 2004 for Boston. 2004 was the 3rd coldest month in history for the city. It will fall far short of the extreme in that year and in another incredible cold month in February 1934, when Boston reached -18F, Providence -17F, New York City -15F and Philadelphia -11F. This last cold turned more east after it entered the states. Still 2008 has delivered a mid-winter cold to remember and in the far north and central one for the books.

 

As for February, the following is the global temperature patterns in the most similar years:

 

 

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