Big Swings

On January 2 the low temperature in Fargo Moorhead dropped to -33°. This week temperatures have been close to 30° which is over 60° warmer than that cold morning two weeks ago. Back in February 1996 we experienced an even greater short-term swing in temperatures. Nearly everyone living in this area then remembers the -39° recorded on February 1, 1996. It was the coldest temperature recorded locally since the 1910s and we almost accomplished something not experienced since the 1880s, a temperature of -40°.

But what many forget is that on February 10, 1996 the high reached 41 degrees. In fact, that was our 5th straight day with temperatures above freezing and a swing of 80 degrees in just 10 days. Great transitions like that are taken in stride in this area, but many locations around the world would not experience such a swing in an entire year, let alone in less than two weeks.


2 Responses

  1. Dustin


    I was in 8th grade, and I distictly remember the temperature going from roughly -40 to +40, and thinking not there were not many places that the temperature could rise 80 degrees and it still be winter. I thought, if only we could have gone from 0 to 80, at least then it would have been winter to summer.

    Even within one standard deviation of the average low (-5) and high (15), the range this time of year is roughly 50 degrees (-20 to +30).

  2. Robert V Sobczak

    Diurnal changes in the Caribbean are bigger than seasonal differences. Key West is the closest we get on the continent to such a smooth temperature chart. (Finally warming up down here — T-Shirt weather today!)

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