A look back at recent cold spells

This weekend’s cold spell that is affecting the region is among the coldest seen in at least a decade.  While Huron had a maximum temperature below zero once in January, it has been 2 years for Sioux Falls and 3 years for Sioux City. In fact, since 2000, there have been very few days with high temperatures below zero in Huron, Sioux Falls and Sioux City.   The only cold air outbreak in the last 5 years that compares to what is expected this weekend occurred from January 28-30, 2004.  With the Arctic air expected to remain over the area for 4 or 5 days, this may be the longest prolonged period of cold weather in a decade. One has to go back to December 17-24, 1996 to find a cold outbreak that is comparable to this outbreak.

Not only will high temperatures be cold but minimum temperatures are forecast to remain below zero for at least a week.  While below zero temperatures are normal in winter, a prolonged period of low temperatures below zero is less common.  Based upon the current forecast Huron, Sioux Falls, and Sioux City will have low temperatures below zero for at least 7 consecutive days - with Huron likely to exceed 10 days.  While this will not approach the record for consecutive number of days below zero set in 1936, it will rival cold snaps from the mid 1990s.

Here is some information on extreme cold events for Huron, Sioux Falls, and Sioux City:

Last Day the Maximum Temperature Was Below Zero

Location

Date

High Temperature

Huron, SD

January 12, 2007

-3oF

Sioux Falls, SD

January 14, 2005

-1oF

Sioux City, IA

January 29, 2004

-1oF

January 2004 Arctic outbreak maximum temperatures

Date

Huron SD

Sioux Falls SD

Sioux City IA

January 27, 2004

1oF

2oF

2oF

January 28, 2004

-4oF

1oF

2oF

January 29, 2004

-5oF

-5oF

-1oF

January 30, 2004

0oF

-4oF

0oF

Note:  January 2004 was the last time that Huron and Sioux Falls had two consecutive days below zero.

January 1997 Arctic outbreak maximum temperature

Date

Huron SD

Sioux Falls SD

Sioux City IA

January 10, 1997

-11oF

-12oF

-7oF

January 11, 1997

-9oF

-9oF

-1oF

January 12, 1997

0oF

-1oF

1oF

Note: January 1997 was the last time Sioux Falls had 3 consecutive days with high temperatures below zero.  It was also the last time that Sioux City had 2 consective days with high temperatures below zero.  It was also the last time both Sioux Falls and Huron had a high temperature below -10oF.

December 1996 Arctic outbreak maximum temperatures
Date Huron SD Sioux Falls SD Sioux City IA
December 22, 1996 -3oF 3oF 10oF
December 23, 1996 -2oF 1oF 7oF
December 24, 1996 -6oF -3oF 1oF
December 25, 1996 -5oF -5oF -1oF
December 26, 1996 -1oF -2oF -1oF

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  December 1996 was the last time that Huron had 3 or more consecutive days below zero.

For Sioux City, the last time that more than 2 consecutive days were below zero was in December 1983.  The last time Sioux City had a high temperature below -10oF was December 22, 1989.

Number of days with maximum temperatures below zero since January 1, 2000

Location

Number of days

Huron SD

4

Sioux Falls SD

4

Sioux City IA

1

 

Consecutive days with minimum temperature below zero
  Huron SD Sioux Falls SD Sioux City IA
Record

40 
1/13/1936 to 2/21/1936

35
1/18/1936 to 2/21/1936

35
1/18/1936 to 2/21/1936

Most since 1990

19
1/17/1996 to 2/4/1996

11
1/25/1996 to 2/4/1996
7
12/21/2000 to 12/27/2000
Most since 2000 9
12/1/2005 to 12/9/2005
9
12/1/2005 to 12/9/2005
7
12/21/2000 to 12/27/2000

Current streak
(thru 2/2/2007)

7
1/27/2007 to present
2
2/1/2007 to present
4
1/30/2007 to present



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