How Did The Late-March 2011 Cold Snap Compare To The Record Books?

Needless to say, south central Nebraska and north central Kansas was mired in a multiple-day stretch of well-below average temperatures between March 25-29, 2011, with daily highs in most areas not escaping the 30s. Here is a look at the cold snap, with a comparison to records over the past 100+ years...

Below are a series of tables...

The first of these tables shows the all-time coldest maximum temperatures at GRAND ISLAND for March 25-29 compared to the 2011 results.

The largest two tables break down numbers for 6 locations across the area. In these larger tables are the Top-5 coldest March 25-29 periods on record, based on the overall 5-day average of MAXIMUM temperatures. PLEASE NOTE: These data are based solely on daily maximum temperatures, NOT the overall daily average calculated from both the high and the low.

Finally, the last set of smaller tables are again for GRAND ISLAND only, and document the coldest 2, 3, and 4 day stretches on record for March 25-29 based on maximum temperature averages. This helps to better differentiate between years that had brief but intense cold snaps, versus years where it remained cold for several days in a row.

Here are some highlights that stand out from the following tables:

1.) Despite being around 20 degrees below average the past few days, the recent stretch of late March chill was nowhere close to breaking daily records for coldest maximum temperatures (see first table below). The "typical" high temperature for March 25-29 at Grand Island based on official averages from 1971-2000 is 54 degrees.

2.) HOWEVER, when looking at the 5-day cold snap as a whole, all 6 sites in the larger tables below reflect a "Top-5 Coldest" finish for March 25-29, including Hastings Nebraska and Alton Kansas with 2nd-place finishes.

3.) For most of south central Nebraska and north central Kansas, the last time there was a more intense late-March cold snap was 24 years ago in 1987, when the average high temperature during a 7-day period from March 24-30 at Grand Island was only 34.6 degrees, including a 24-degree high on the 29th. The previous day, March 28, 1987, featured 9 inches of snow.

 

All-time MARCH Temperature Extremes for Grand Island (Records Date to 1896):

Coldest Minimum Temperature:  -21 degrees on March 4, 1960

Coldest Maximum Temperature:  4 degrees on March 10, 1948

Warmest Temperature: 90 degrees on several occasions, most recently on March 29, 1986

 

This table for GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA

Date        

Daily High Temperature March 2011 Record Coldest Maximum Temperature For Date
March 25 35 11 in 1955
March 26 32 23 in 1913
March 27 32 18 in 1931
March 28 34 28 in 1987
March 29 38

21 in 1954

 

For the following tables, temperature records date back to the following years:

Grand Island - 1896    Hastings- 1908    Kearney- 1901    Holdrege- 1902    Loup City- 1902    Alton KS- 1903

Coldest 5-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29

GRAND ISLAND

  Average 5-Day Maximum Temperature

GRAND ISLAND 

     

Coldest 5-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29

HASTINGS

   Average 5-Day Maximum Temperature  

 HASTINGS

     Coldest 5-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29

KEARNEY AIRPORT

  Average 5-Day Maximum Temperature 

 KEARNEY AIRPORT

 March 25-29, 1937 32.2   March 25-29, 1987 33.4   March 25-29, 1931 28.0
 March 25-29, 1965 33.0   March 25-29, 2011  35.0     March 25-29, 1965 31.8
March 25-29, 1944 33.8    March 25-29, 1915   35.0    March 25-29, 2011   34.0
March 25-29, 2011 34.2   March 25-29, 1926 35.2    March 25-29, 1937   34.8
March 25-29, 1987 34.8   March 25-29, 1944 36.4   March 25-29, 1944  36.0

 

Coldest 5-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29

HOLDREGE

Average 5-Day Maximum Temperature

 HOLDREGE

     

Coldest 5-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29

LOUP CITY

   Average 5-Day Maximum Temperature  

 LOUP CITY

     Coldest 5-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29

ALTON KS

  Average 5-Day Maximum Temperature 

 ALTON KS

 March 25-29, 1931 30.6   March 25-29, 1931 31.6   March 25-29, 1931 33.4
 March 25-29, 1987 31.2   March 25-29, 1987
32.2    March 25-29, 2011
37.2
March 25-29, 2011
34.2    March 25-29, 1965/1944  33.4   March 25-29, 1987  38.0
March 25-29, 1915
36.0   March 25-29, 1915 34.0    March 25-29, 1926  39.4
March 25-29, 1926 36.6   March 25-29, 2011
34.2   March 25-29, 1980  42.8

 


The last set of tables are for GRAND ISLAND, and document the coldest 2, 3, and 4-day streaks on record between March 25-29 based on maximum temperature averages:

 Coldest 2-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29 Average 2-Day Maximum Temperature
 March 25-26, 1955  17.5
 March 25-26, 1965  23.0
March 28-29, 1931 24.5
March 26-27, 1913 24.5
March 28-29, 1987 26.0

 

 Coldest 3-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29 Average 3-Day Maximum Temperature
 March 25-27, 1955  23.7
March 26-28, 1937 28.0
March 27-29, 1931 28.7
March 25-27, 1965 29.7
March 27-29, 1944 31.0

 

 Coldest 4-Day Stretches On Record Between March 25-29 Average 4-Day Maximum Temperature
 March 26-29, 1937  30.5
March 25-28, 1955 31.0
March 25-28, 1965 31.8
March 26-29, 1944 31.8
 March 25-28, 2011 33.3

 

This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.

 



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