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    Jesse Ferrell

    Northeast Cold Temperature List, Midwest Records

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    1/19/2009, 7:46:42 AM

    UPDATE: NEXT DAY -28 IN PENNSYLVANIA: The readings below from my local area were blown away on Saturday morning.

    UPDATE: MAINE READINGS: The NWS says they will attempt to "certify" the -50 reading, and that unofficial reports of -56 were filed, according to this article, though on the NWS website, the lowest reading was -50.

    UPDATE: PENNSYLVANIA READINGS: The NWS in State College has just issued a statement showing an unofficial reading of -22. I also have a friend of a friend reporting -21.

    UPDATE: NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAIN READINGS: As a Commenter pointed out below, I neglected to talk about the low temperatures at the typically cold locations of Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, my home state. Both hit -11 last night.

    UPDATE: THERMOMETER PICTURES: We got a number of photos of thermometers on the AccuWeather.com Photo Gallery this morning. First, our own Shawn Smith, meteorologist at AccuWeather, measured 17 below zero near State College in an area known as "The Barrens" which is our local cold spot. He has a picture of one of their thermometers showing -10. Second, we got a picture from larryedit showing -17 on his digital thermometer in Tipton County, Indiana. And finally, something that probably won't be beat: A pair of thermometers showing -53 degrees, taken by Tim Wright, a Utah meteorologist during our previous cold outbreak on January 4th. You can read more about these photos at the bottom of this entry.


    UPDATE: MAINE STATE RECORD: I overlooked Maine's state temperature record which is not as high as nearby states. It is -48, but Black Bear River has fallen to -50 this morning, so, if confirmed, that would be a new state record. The NWS in Caribou, Maine has issued a statement to that affect.

    UPDATE: NEW HAMPSHIRE POWER OUTAGES: There is more information on this in Breaking Weather News Page (PREMIUM | PRO). Early I said: "There are rumors of power outages in New Hamphire, which would be terrible with temperatures below -20 there. Google News has not picked up on this yet."

    UPDATE: MORE ON LONG ISLAND: I also talked to Joe Bastardi about the event on Long Island last night. He believes the -13 was credible, and explained how it could have happened. 1. The coldest air never made it to Long Island at the surface, but very cold air was available in the lower atmosphere. 2. Rising air was present off the coast of Long Island, caused by the warm water. With air rising on both sides of the island, it had to fall in the middle, and could have brought down the cold air temporarily, while surface winds were calm. I expect the NWS in New York City to issue a statement on the KFOK reading today, and I'll bring that to you when they do.

    UPDATE: MORE ON ILLINOIS: He also believes the Rochelle, IL reading from yesterday was probably valid, but I am still suspicious because I know how unreliable electronic weather stations can be, even the million dollar instruments that the government uses. Interesting to note this morning however that Sterling, IL (KSQI), has experienced similar sudden temperature swings - it was -35 at 9 AM and -20 at 9:30 AM Eastern.


    This morning was definitely the coldest of the season here at State College, Pennsylvania, home of AccuWeather HQ [Google Map], as it was at many locations in the Northeast. Here are some local readings, in F:

    My Old Thermometer At Home: -6 My Car Thermometer: -4 Dave D. (State College): -4 Elliot Abrams' House: -3 Frank Strait (State College): -3 Josh N. (Bellefonte): -2.6 My House: -2 Jack B. (Spring Mills): -1.5 KUNV Airport: 0 Joe Bastardi's House: +1

    The 0 at KUNV is the coldest since 2/5/07, when it hit -2. As far as my records, this is very close to that date. I was also -2 at my house, and I saw -3 in the Car thermometer, in fact if you read my blog from that date, it will look very similar to this one.

    Temperatures were as cold as -20 in Massachusetts, Ohio, and New York State, as you can see by the 7 AM temperature map below:


    But the ultimate winner was station "K40B" in Maine with -44 degrees. Believe it or not, Mount Washington was not the winner for New Hampshire; it was "only" -24 there. Here's a list of the lowest officially-reported temperatures that I was able to find this morning (by state for major Northeast States):

    Maine: -44 (K40B) Berlin, NH: -38 (KBML) Morrisville, VT: -31 (KHIE) Saranac Lake, New York: -26 (KSLK) Marion, OH: -20 (KMNN) Orange, MA: -20 (KORE) Sussex, NJ: -13 (FWN) New Castle, PA: -11 (UCP) Meriden Mark, CT: -9 (MMK) Westerly, RI: -7 (WST)


    Again if you compare the above readings to the all-time state low temperature records I posted Wednesday, nothing is in danger of falling, but this is the coldest air this season and may be records at some stations.


    One airport on Long Island (KFOK) claimed a temperature of -13 at 3 AM, but quickly rose to 10 by 6 AM. A nearby amateur station reported a drop to -2 during the same time period, but the other official lowest temperature reported on Long Island was +2, so I'm suspicious of the -13 reading and it certainly wasn't representative of anything happening in the city; officially the temperatures in New York City didn't fall below 10 at Central Park. SEE UPDATE ABOVE!


    Illinois is again flirting with that state's record temperature of -36 this morning; Sterling (KSQI) is at -33. According to the NWS, as I suspected yesterday, the sensor at Rochelle was malfunctioning and the -37 there was not correct - the official lowest temperature was -29. SEE UPDATE ABOVE!

    IOWA -40:

    Iowa fell to -40 this morning, and there are more details on the daily records broken there at the Des Moines register.


    In regards to the photo mentioned above, taken of a pair of thermometers showing -53 degrees, by Tim Wright, a Utah meteorologist during our previous cold outbreak on January 4th... here is the full story from Trent & Tim. There are additional photos of a metal thermometer and of the area where the photos were taken.


    Trent Wrote:

    One of my favorite interests are the Sinks in northern Utah. You might've heard of them. They're at about 8500ft and are collapsed limestone caves. Peter Sinks is the coldest; Middle Sink is nearby and easier to reach but about 5-6 degrees warmer. Anyway, Tim Wright, a meteorologist in Logan UT, frequently treks up to the Sinks to take readings, as the bowl-shaped geography can create some extreme cold air drainage.

    The coldest readings from any COOP stations Sunday morning 1/4/09 were -35F at West Yellowstone and Chinook, MT. But Tim recorded -53F in Middle Sink. This is actually a few degrees warmer than its minimum, since he got there a little late. Peter Sinks would've been about -60F to -62F, but Tim didn't go there since it can be dangerous with a lot of snow on the ground.

    Tim wrote:

    I was able to go to Middle Sink and record -53F this morning at 8am; however, I arrived just before sunrise and the temperature had already risen at least 3 degrees and was rising slowly while I was there. The official I can give is -53F, but the temperature was likely -56F twohours before and perhaps around -60 to 62F in Peter Sinks. Here are some photos: The first of the alcohol thermometers, the next of my bi-metal with the needle buried, and the third of the inversion fog in Middle Sink. I had -12F at my house this morning and the 3pm temperature is 5F.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Jesse Ferrell