Last winter the coldest temperature of the season was a -17 degree low on January 19. Not only was that the coldest night of the 2011-12 cold season, it was also the last time Fargo Moorhead recorded a low in the double digits below zero for the rest of that winter. Although that -17 degree lowest temperature was not the warmest coldest night of a winter, that distinction goes to the winter of 2001-2002 when the coldest night was just -11 degrees, it did rank as tied for 7th in that category.
Since records started in 1881, the average lowest temperature of a winter locally is -28 degrees. Besides last year, recent cold seasons have been very near that average. The winter of 2010-11 the lowest temperature was -27 degrees, in 2009-10 it was -33 degrees, in 2008-09 it was -30 degrees and in 2007-08 it was -31 degrees.
Therefore we may not want to admit it, but the bitterly cold air that is moving into the area is quite normal for our climate.