Saturday, June 15, 2024

Very frigid weather for the start of 2024

| January 15, 2024 1:06 AM

Late last week, we had some of the coldest weather across the country we’ve felt and heard about in a long time as hundreds of cold records were broken. Over the weekend, morning low temperatures in central Montana near the Canadian border were more than 20 degrees below zero. Frigid weather was reported across the central U.S. and into the Northeast.

Here in Coeur d’Alene, morning low temperatures Saturday morning dropped to a record -17 degrees for the date. The old record was -8 degrees set back in 1950. The coldest weather we’ve reported within the last 20 years, prior to last weekend, occurred Jan. 5, 2004, with a low of -14 degrees. The most frigid morning in Coeur d’Alene happened Jan. 30, 1950, with a low of -30 degrees. At the Spokane International Airport, the coldest day in history was Jan. 15 and 16 in 1888 with a low of -30 degrees as well.

In other locations around the region, Athol dropped to -18 degrees Saturday morning. It was -17 degrees at Rathdrum and -15 degrees at Dalton Gardens, Fernan Hill and the Coeur d’Alene Airport. It was -10 degrees in Spokane and the temperature dropped down to -20 degrees at Kellogg, -21 degrees at Pullman and a frigid -22 degrees at Spirit Lake and Deer Park on Saturday. The winds early Saturday also made for dangerous wind chill temperatures. Readings were down to around -40 degrees in the Coeur d’Alene region.

The NFL playoffs had some of the roughest weather in history. On Saturday, Kansas City experienced its coldest professional game ever at Arrowhead Stadium. The temperature at kick-off around 5 p.m. Pacific Time was down to -4 degrees. According to Accuweather, until last weekend, the coldest game the Miami Dolphins played in was 10 degrees in 2008. In 1983, the most frigid game for Kansas City had a temperature of around 0.5 degrees. The coldest game in NFL history was the infamous “Ice Bowl” in Green Bay, Wis., with an air temperature of -13 degrees with a -48 degree wind chill.

Blizzard conditions were also reported around the Great Lakes. Over 10 inches of snow was measured in parts of the Chicago area. The playoff game in Buffalo, N.Y., that was scheduled Sunday, was postponed until Monday afternoon due to heavy lake-effect snows and strong winds. Snow and ice were also reported as far south as eastern Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Low temperatures down to zero were reported as far south as Oklahoma as Arctic air quickly moved southward behind the strong storm. According to Wikipedia data, the fastest drop in temperature happened in Rapid City, S.D., on Jan. 10, 1911. Within five minutes, the mercury dropped by a whopping 49 degrees. Nearly 10 months later, Nov. 9, 1911, according to Weather Underground, Rapid City went from 55 degrees at 6 a.m. to only 3 degrees at 8 a.m.

By the way, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere was -93.3 degrees in Greenland on Dec. 22, 1991. Officially, the coldest reported temperature on Earth was -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit at the Vostok Station in Antarctica, in the Southern Hemisphere, on July 21, 1983. However, there was an unofficial satellite observation along a ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji at an elevation of nearly 13,000 feet in Antarctica of -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit. In other higher elevations in Antarctica, there have been estimates of low temperatures colder than -140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our neighbor to the east, Montana, holds the record for the largest temperature drop in 24 hours. From Jan. 23-24, 1916, Browning had an incredible 100-degree drop from 44 degrees to -56 from the passage of a strong cold front. In just 12 hours, Fairfield, Mont., had an 84-degree drop in temperature from 63 degrees to -21 degrees Dec. 24, 1924.

In terms of our local weather, after a frigid weekend, temperatures across the Inland Northwest are expected to warm up by this weekend and into next week. We’ll also have an increasing chance of snow around the middle to the end of this week and we may need the snow shovels from the mid-week storms.

Next week’s weather will likely be mild enough to produce more rain than snow in the lower elevations as high temperatures approach the 40-degree mark. However, the full moon cycle beginning Jan. 25 will have the possibility of more snow in Coeur d’Alene and surrounding regions as we expect to see Pacific storms coming in from the Gulf of Alaska.

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