Cold Winter Stats - Updated March 28

Winter 2013-2014

Cold temperatures were a frequent occurrence across central and southeast Illinois this winter.  Since the second week of December most days had below normal temperatures.  While cold air is not unusual in winter, the persistence of this weather pattern which brought repeated rounds of Arctic air into the Midwest was unusual.  For meteorological winter (December through February), most weather observation sites in the area were in the top 10 coldest winter seasons on record with several cities in the top 5 coldest winter seasons.  Lincoln had its coldest winter season on record with 20.6F, while Bloomington/Normal, Galesburg, and Rushville had their 2nd coldest winter on record. Bloomington/Normal was 0.1F and Rushville was 0.2F from their coldest winter season.  

The following table shows how the mean temperature for this winter (Dec-Feb) ranked.

 

Location 2013-2014 Winter Season Temp 2013-2014 Winter Season Rank Coldest Winter Season Since... Coldest Winter Season Dec-Feb Records Began
Danville

23.5

#7

1981-82 (23.1)

1976-77 (20.6)

1895

Decatur

22.6

#6

1978-79 (21.8)       1977-78 (20.9)     

1893

Effingham

24.1

#6

1981-82 (23.6) 1977-78 (20.5)

1892

Galesburg

16.5

#2

1978-79 (15.4) 1978-79 (15.4)

1895

Hoopeston

21.3

#7

1978-79 (20.6) 1977-78 (18.9)

1887

Jacksonville

22.6

#7

1981-82 (22.0) 1977-78 (19.1)

1895

Lincoln

20.6

1st

1977-78 (20.9) 2013-14 (20.7)

1905

Normal

19.1

#2

1977-78 (19.1) 1935-36 (19.0)

1893

Olney

25.1

#4

1977-78 (23.3) 1917-18 (22.0)        

1890

Paris

21.6

#4

 1977-78 (20.6)  1977-78 (20.6)

1893

Peoria

20.2

#8

1978-79 (17.0) 1978-79 (17.0)

1883

Rushville

19.7

#2

1935-36 (19.5) 1935-36 (19.5)

1890

Springfield

22.8

#8

1981-82 (22.6) 1977-78 (19.8)

1879

Tuscola

21.5

#4

1977-78 (20.4) 1977-78 (20.4)

1893

Urbana

21.5

#9

1981-82 (21.7) 1977-78 (20.2)

1888

The general weather pattern responsible for the below normal temperatures is depicted in the image below.  The background image colors indicate temperatures at the 850 millibar pressure level (around 4,500 feet above ground level) with green/yellow colors showing warm air, and blue/purple colors showing cold air.  Thick yellow lines show the height of the 500 millibar pressure surface (roughly 18,000 feet above ground level), where higher numbers indicate warmer temperatures.  Mid-level winds blow parallel to these height lines.  Two notable features on this map are (1) strong "ridge" of mid-level high pressure along the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, extending all the way north into Alaska, and (2) a deep "trough" of mid-level low pressure over central and eastern North America.  Warm air surging north through the western third of the continent essentially displaced Arctic air from the high latitudes well south into central and eastern U.S./Canada.  This caused a reversal in typical winter trends, with temperatures on several days warmer in Alaska than in central and southeast Illinois!  Another interesting feature is the southward displacement of the "polar vortex" which is shown near Hudson Bay in this image.  The polar vortex typically resides near the North Pole but often surged as far south as the northern Great Lakes this season.

 


Images below show how far below normal temperatures were across the Midwest (click to enlarge).

 

 

 

Dec. Temp. departure from normal

Jan. Temp. departure from normal

Feb. Temp. departure from normal

The table below shows some additional cold temperature statistics including number of nights at or below zero this winter.

Location

Nights at or below 0F thru
Mar 28

Nights 
-10F or colder 
thru 
Mar 28

Nights at or below 0F in Jan 2014

Most Jan Nights at or below 0F

Nights at or below 0F in Feb 2014

Most Feb Nights at or below 0F

Normal # of Nights at or below 0F each Winter 

Coldest Low Temperature thru Mar 28

Coldest High Temperature thru Mar 28

Coldest Low Temperature
on Record

Coldest High Temperature
on Record

Records Began

Bloomington Airport (BMI)

25

4

11

 

 10

   

-17F Jan 6

-7F Jan 6

     

Champaign Airport (CMI)

 19

4

11

 

 6

   

-13F Jan 6

-1F Jan 6

     

Danville

 16

 4

 8

 20 in 1977

 8

 11 in 1936 & 1978

 

 -14F Jan 6, Feb 7 & 11

9F Jan 6 

-26F Jan 17, 1982 & Jan 19, 1994 

-10F Jan 19, 1994 

 1895

Decatur

 15

 

 7

 15 in 1977

 7

 11 in 1979

 

-13F Jan 6 

2F Jan 6 

 -25F Feb 13, 1905

-6F Jan 20, 1985 

 1893

Decatur Airport  (DEC)

14

 2

7

 

 7

             

Effingham

 17

 7

 10

 17 in 1977

 7

 9 in 1979

 

-15F Jan 6 & 7

-4F Jan 6 

-29F Jan 24, 1915 

 -10F Dec 25, 1983

 1892

Galesburg

 31

 9

 11

 20 in 1977

 12

 13 in 1905 & 1958

 

-18F Feb 3 

 

 -28F Feb 13, 1905

-12F Jan 18, 1994 & 
Feb 3, 1996 

 1895

Hoopeston

22

 6

 11

 16 in 1977

 8

 11 in 1905 & 1936

 

-16F Jan 6 

-3F Jan 6 

 -25F Feb 13, 1905

-10F Jan 20, 1985 

 1887

Jacksonville

 22

 4

 9

 18 in 1977

 11

 13 in 1905

 

-12F Jan 7 

-3F Jan 6 

-28F Feb 27, 1934 

-9F Dec 25, 1983 

 1895

Lawrenceville Airport (LWV)

6

 0

2

 

 4

   

-8F Jan 6

4F Jan 6

     

Lincoln

20 

 8

10

 16 in 1918 & 1977

 8

 11 in 1936 & 1979

6

-16F Feb 7 & Feb 11 

-5F Jan 6 

 -34F Jan 15, 1927

-10F Dec 25, 1983 

 1905

Mattoon Airport (MTO)

18

 4

10

 

 7

   

-14F Jan 6

0F Jan 6

     

Minonk

32

10 

10

 19 in 1977 & 1979

 14

 18 in 1936

 

-20F Feb 11

-4F Jan 6

 -28F Feb 13, 1905

 -11F Dec 25, 1983 & Dec 22, 1989

1896

Normal

28 

 5

 12

 18 in 1977

 11

 17 in 1936

 

-16F Jan 6 & 7 

-10F Jan 6 

-24F Jan 24, 1894 & Feb 8, 1895 & Feb 13, 1905 

-10F Jan 6, 2014 

 1893

Olney

 16

 2

 7

 16 in 1918

 7

 8 in 1979

 

-10F Jan 6 & 7 

-4F Jan 6 

-25F Feb 2, 1951 

-4F Jan 6, 2014 

 1890

Paris

 21

 7

 11

 17 in 1977

 9

 10 in 1979

 

-14F Jan 7 & 8  Feb 8, 11 & 12 

-8F Jan 6 

-23F Jan 18, 1930 

-8F Jan 6, 2014 

 1893

Peoria

21 

 3

8

19 in 1977

 10

 15 in 1936

7

-14F Jan 6 

-5F Jan 6 

 -27F Jan 5, 1884

-16F Jan 5, 1884 

 1883

Rushville

 29

 7

 10

 16 in 1977

 13

 16 in 1936

 

-14F Jan 6 & 7 

 -6F Jan 6

-26F Feb 13, 1905 

-13F Jan 24, 1894 

 1890

Springfield

 17

 3

9

 16 in 1977

 7

 11 in 1905

6

 -13F Jan 6 & Feb 7

-2F Jan 6 

 -24F Feb 13, 1905

-12F Jan 5, 1884 

 1879

Tuscola

 19

 5

 9

 20 in 1977

 9

 11 in 1905 & 2007

 

-13F Jan 6 & 7 Feb 12 

-7F Jan 6 

-26F Dec 22, 1989 

-8F Jan 20, 1985 

 1893

Urbana

18 

 3

 10

 14 in 1977

 6

 13 in 1905

 

-14F Jan 6 & Feb 7 

 -3F Jan 6

 -25F Feb 9, 1899 & Feb 13, 1905 & Jan 19, 1994

-12F Dec 24, 1983 

 1888



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