Sharp Temperature Drop One For The Record Books?

(Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 9:30 am MST)

 

An Arctic cold front swept through the Central Plains Tuesday bringing an increase in clouds, snow in some areas, strong north winds and dramatic cooling.  The high temperature Tuesday afternoon in Goodland before the frontal passage was 61 degrees.  By 11:59 pm, the temperature had dropped to 19 degrees.  Temperatures today are expected to hold in the upper teens.  So, how rare is it to have a temperature drop of 42 degrees from one day to the next?

Looking back over temperature records dating back to 1906, a drop of 42 degrees is quite impressive for Goodland but nowhere near a record-breaker!  The greatest daily temperature change occurred January 26-27, 1951 when the temperature reached a balmy 79 degrees on the 26th, but climbed to a high of only 16 degrees on the 27th, a 24-hour change of 63 degrees.  A handful of other "cold snaps" occurred over the years with daily temperature drops greater than 50 degrees.

The table below lists some of the more impressive temperature changes which have occurred over the years.  To read the table, the Max T for each date is the high temperature recorded on that day.  Change refers to the difference in maximum temperature from the previous day.  Looking at the second date in the table, April 15, 2000, the maximum temperature was 29 degrees.  This was 57 degrees colder than the previous day.

One thing to keep in mind is that the maximum temperature recorded is for a calendar day, and might not necessarily occur during the afternoon.  Quite often on the day following a strong cold front, the high temperature for the day occurs at 12:01 am.  No matter when the high occurs, it looks like it's time to put away the light jacket for awhile and get out the heavy winter coats, hats and gloves!

 

Date  Max T Change
1/27/1951 16 -63
4/15/2000 29 -57
2/7/1933 -7 -53
2/1/1989 22 -53
1/18/1950 19 -48
10/30/2003 42 -48
1/29/1950 17 -47
12/5/1950 11 -47
3/14/1944 30 -45
1/3/1950 4 -45
3/23/1965 16 -45
12/18/1980 34 -45
12/26/1950 30 -44
10/26/1951 39 -44
12/21/1989 -1 -44
2/11/1999 31 -44
1/7/1909 8 -43
2/22/1914 29 -43
5/14/1945 44 -43
3/28/1988 44 -43
4/5/1994 30 -43
1/21/2003 26

-43



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