MINNESOTA’S REPUTATION FOR COLD IS ALREADY SOLIDIFIED THIS MONTH!

One measure of the degree of cold we have been experiencing this month is a relative comparison of low temperature reports from the 48 contiguous states. Over the period from December 1-16, Minnesota has reported the lowest temperature on ten days. That’s a very large fraction from all national reports. Here are the nation’s lowest temperatures (outside of Alaska) that have come from Minnesota so far this month…..

December 2nd -7 degrees F at Embarrass

December 3rd 3 degrees F at Grand Marais

December 6th -5 degrees F at Embarrass

December 7th -23 degrees F at Embarrass

December 8th -23 degrees F at Embarrass

December 10th -18 degrees F at Orr

December 11th -16 degrees F at Embarrass

December 12th -32 degrees F at Embarrass

December 13th -32 degrees F at Embarrass

December 16th -35 degrees F at Longville and Babbitt

The readings of -35 degrees F this morning are not far below the all-time state record for December 16th which is -39 degrees F at Pokegama Dam way back in 1903.

Embarrass has clearly had a very cold month so far, and they are on track to record their 2nd coldest December in history there. But several other Minnesota communities have already been -30 degrees F or colder this month. In addition to Embarrass and Longville, Babbitt, Orr, Eveleth, Cook, and Hibbing have all been below -30 degrees F.

You can track morning low temperatures from nearly any climate station by using the commercial web site known as Anything Weather.

  • Tracy

    Does anyone know the coldest “feels like” temperature on record for St. Paul? The lowest recorded temperature was -32°F in 1996 but I can’t find the “feels like” temperature for that day.

  • Mark Seeley

    Hi Tracy,

    Good question…..the National Weather Service changed the formula for Windchill Index back in 2001, but it can be applied to historical data as well. Locally here in the Twin Cities area the two worst episodes of windchill conditions in the modern era were December 23-24, 1983 and February 2, 1996. In both cases actual air temperatures were -24 to -27 degrees F, but with winds of 14 to 19 mph. This produced winchill conditions that felt like -53 degrees F. In the older historical records, the Twin Cities reported a morning low of -34 degrees F with a 20 mph wind on January 22, 1936. This produced a windchill index of -67 degrees F. In this case a man was found frozen to death on the streets of Minneapolis.

  • Tracy

    Thanks Mark!

    I remember that day in 1996. Despite being bundled up in a hockey mom coat and everything else I owned, I had to fight back tears of pain as I tried to get my car jump started.

    I now live in Seattle where 20F is considered cold and my skin doesn’t sting when I walk outside. But I miss wearing my hockey mom coat. I loved that coat.