Our Warmest Record Lows

The period of record for Fargo Moorhead weather is 135 years from 1881 to the present.  So for each day of the year, there are 135 different examples.  Over the entire calendar, the warmest daily record low is 46 degrees set twice on July 25, 1900, and July 27, 1971.  So there is no single date in the calendar in which the temperature in Fargo Moorhead has not reached at least 46 degrees.

Over the entire summer, there are just 46 dates on which the temperature has never fallen below 40 degrees within the period of record.  The majority of these dates are in July.  In fact, there are only four record lows below 40 degrees for July.  These are July 1, 2001 at 39; July 3, 1967, and 36; July 4, 1967, at 37; and July 30, 1971, at 39.

Century Scorchers

The last time it was 100 degrees in Fargo Moorhead (officially) was July 20, 2012.  Century days are not that common here and are far more likely during dry summers than in wet summer because of the ability for dry soil to get hot in the sun.

A quick scan of all the daily record highs shows that 100 degree days are most common in July and August.  All but nine of the days in July carry a record high of at least 100.  All but ten of the days in August have a peak day of at least 100.  There are only seven June dates with a record high of 100.  There are four in September and one each in May and April.

The earliest 100 degree day was April 21, 1980, and the latest was 101 on September 21, 1936.  The hottest record high (and, therefore, the all-time record high) is 114 degrees set July 6, 1936.  The North Dakota state record of 121 degrees was set that same day in Steele.

Meteorologist John Wheeler


Hot Summer in Alaska

Alaska is having a hot summer, relatively speaking.  Temperatures across the 49th State have been consistently in the 70s and 80s this month across all but the North Slope and western areas adjacent to the Bering Sea.

There are two primary reasons for the early summer heat wave.  A lack of snow this past winter has resulted in a significant drying of Alaska’s normally marshy soil.  Plus, the weather pattern has favored warm temperatures.  A lack of rain is accompanying this northern heat wave, creating a concern that this could be a very bad year for forest fires.

The warm temperatures are probably welcome to many Alaskans, many of whom endure winters much longer and, at least, as cold as ours.  But few Alaska homes and businesses are built with air conditioning.  Most of the time, unusual weather, even pleasantly unusual weather, tends to create problems for those who live through it.

Fargo Moorhead Factoids

You know those internet/social networking things that lure you into clicking with tantalizing facts that end up being banal.  Yeah, this is one of those, but without the pop up ads.  Here are fifteen facts about Fargo Moorhead weather.  Average annual precipitation is 22.58 inches.  Rainiest month on average is June. Average snowfall in winter is 50.1 inches.  Snowiest month on average is January.  Average number of blizzards is three.  Average coldest temperature for the winter is 27 below.  Average number of 90 degree days a year is 13.  Hottest temperature record is 114 in 1936.  Coldest temperature recorded is 48 below in 1887.  Average high temperature in July is 82.5.  Average low temperature in January is 0.1.  Average temperature (day and night all year long) is 42.4 degrees.  There are an average of 168 cloudy days, 110 partly cloudy days, and 88 sunny days a year.

Northern Plains Biggest Outbreak of Tornadoes

Twelve people died from the Fargo tornado on June 20, 1957.  In Fergus Falls, 57 people were killed by twin tornadoes on June 22, 1919.  Thirteen died during the Fridley (Twin Cities) tornado outbreak of May 6, 1965.  But the biggest outbreak of tornadoes on record in this region happened just five years ago on June 17, 2010.  There were 76 tornadoes that day; 22 in North Dakota, 48 in Minnesota, and three each in Iowa and Wisconsin.  The 48 in Minnesota is a record number of tornadoes in a single day.  Wadena, MN, took a direct hit and was heavily damaged. Two were killed and nine injured across the region but the casualty list would have been much higher had the tornadoes formed over more populated territory.  This remains the biggest outbreak of tornadoes on record for the summer months.  Most high-count tornado outbreaks happen in spring.

Meteorologist John Wheeler


One Wet May


The Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information has declared this past month as the wettest May in the United States over 121 years of record-keeping.  Although many parts of the West Coast region as well as most of the Southeast region were significantly drier than average, the wet spots won out.  The wettest region, relative to average, was the Great Plains from Texas to North Dakota, with rainfall in May about 200 to 300 per cent of normal.  The states of North Dakota and Texas had their wettest May months on record.  Across North Dakota, the month of May was rainy enough to turn a very dry March and April into the 37th wettest spring since 1895.  Weather was also wet in the Great Basin, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Meteorologist John Wheeler

The Relatively Rare 90s

The temperature reached 92 degrees on Tuesday, June 9.  It was not a record. The record high for June 9 is 95 degrees set in 1976.  It was, however, our first 90 degree day of 2015.  Any time the temperature reaches the 90s in Fargo Moorhead, it is an above average temperature.  But the normal swings of weather give us an average of about 13 or so days in the 90s in a year.  Most of these hot days occur in July and August.  Each of these months reaches the 90s about five or six times on average. May and June together get to the 90s an average of once or twice.  And there is an average of one additional 90 degree day in September.  Of course, in any given year, these numbers vary.  The greatest number of 90 degree days in June is 13 back in 1910 and again in 1988.  The greatest number of 90 degree days in a year is 39 in 1988.   Meteorologist John Wheeler

April in Review

The month of April in Fargo Moorhead was statistically warmer and drier than average.  The average high temperature for the month was 61.3 degrees, which is 5.5 degrees above average.  The average low was 32.9 degrees which is just 0.2 degrees above average.  So the average temperature of 47.1 degrees is 2.8 degrees above average.  The coldest temperature of the month was 15 on the 23rd and the warmest was 82 on the 30th.  April 14 was perhaps the strangest day of the month with a morning low of 31 degrees followed by an afternoon high of 80.  Total precipitation was 0.90 inches which is .46 inches below average.  Just a trace of snow was recorded although trace amounts of snow were observed on four separate days.   Meteorologist John Wheeler


Dressing For Easter

Easter is, of course, a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  It is also a celebration of spring celebrating the rebirth in nature.  The symbolism of the rabbit distributing eggs makes this obvious.  Standard dress for Easter Sunday includes such spring-appropriate clothing as a pretty spring dress and bonnet or a new suit.  These outfits may or may not be comfortable, depending on the weather. And while Easter does occur in spring, the actual date varies.   In the year 325, at the Council of Nicaea, it was established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.  This means Easter in any year can fall between March 22 and April 25.  High temperatures in Fargo Moorhead during this period have ranged from one below zero (March 24, 1974) to 100 degrees (April 21, 1980).  It is difficult to dress for such a range.      Meteorologist John Wheeler

Record High, of Sorts


There are places on Earth with long periods of weather records and other places that have only been measured for s short time.  This can make comparisons difficult.  It makes some record highs more or less impressive than others.  So in that light, a new record high may have been recently set for the continent of Antarctica.  Although most of Antarctic’s interior has been growing colder in recent decades, temperatures along the Antarctic Peninsula have been getting warmer.  On March 24, an Argentinian research station reached a temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit, which, if accepted, would be an Antarctic record high. The present record high for the continent at the bottom of the world is 59 degrees.  At the Amundson-Scott scientific station at the actual South Pole, the record high, summer and winter, is seven degrees. However, the complete temperature record for Antarctica only dates back a few decades.   Meteorologist John Wheeler