Sure It's Cold but How Does this Cold Snap Rank?

Temperatures across east Kentucky have remained well below freezing
since Saturday and the forecast for at least the next week is more of
the same... cold. So, if the forecast pans out and the mercury
remains at or below freezing over the next week, how will this cold
snap rank in the record books?
 
The two longest cold spells at the Jackson Weather Office and at
London were recorded in December 1989 and in December 2000/January
2001. The 1989 event tallied 11 consecutive days with temperatures
below freezing at both London and Jackson. The 2000/2001 cold snap
again yielded 11 consecutive days with temperatures below freezing
at Jackson and 10 straight days below freezing at London. Of the two
events, the 1989 cold snap was by far the most extreme however
with temperatures dropping below zero on five different days at
Jackson and on four different days at London.
 
Other notable long duration cold spells in the record books include:
 
January 1994 when the mercury remained at or well below freezing for
eight days at many reporting sites and several stations set their
all-time record lows. These include -30 at West Liberty, -24 at
London, -21 at Williamsburg and -18 at Jackson.
 
January 1978 when the mercury remained below freezing for 13 straight
days at West Liberty and there were two separate five day streaks
with temperatures remaining below freezing at London.
 
January 1966 when temperatures stayed at freezing or below for nine
straight days at London.
 
Probably the most extreme cold snap on record for the area was way
back in 1899 though. Only three stations in east Kentucky were
recording data back then, Mount Sterling, Middlesboro and
Williamsburg, but all three of those stations recorded at least
eight straight days below freezing with Mount Sterling staying below
freezing for 10 days. In fact, the temperature at Mount Sterling
did not make it to 10 degrees for five straight days there. Also,
both Mount Sterling and Middlesboro set their all-time record lows
during this particular cold snap, with -22 and -20F respectively.
 
Note: Climate records date back to November 1954 at the London
Corbin Airport and back to January 1981 at the Jackson Weather
Office. While considerable missing data exists, climate records
extend back to 1892 at Mount Sterling, Middlesboro and
Williamsburg, and back to 1905 at West Liberty.


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