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Weather Talk: Coldest temperature this winter is not that cold

The coldest temperature officially measured for Fargo-Moorhead this winter so far is 24 below zero. Although this is the coldest since the winter of 2013-14, it is above our long-term average for coldest temperatures in a winter season.

The average coldest temperature in winter going back to the beginning of the record period in 1881 is minus 29. If the exceptionally cold 1880s and 1890s are excluded, the average winter minimum is minus 27.

Recent winters have been less extreme. The seven-year average through this winter is just 22 below zero. However, the five years before that delivered an average winter minimum of 30 below zero, including minus 33 in January of 2010, which was the most recent reading in the 30s below zero.

The mildest winter minimum is minus 10 set in the winter of 2001-02. The coldest winter minimum of the present millennium is minus 36 in 2003-4. The coldest of the 20th century is 39 below zero in 1995-96. The coldest temperature on record is 48 below zero in 1886-87.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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