Biggest Cold Wave in U.S. and G.R. History

February 12th, 2013 at 9:50 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

<–snowball fight on the steps of the Florida State Capitol in Feb. 1899 (picture from Wikipedia – click to enlarge). The coldest temperatures ever officially recorded in Grand Rapids came during the cold wave of Feb. 1899. That Arctic blast remains the coldest ever for the U.S. The low temperature in G.R. was -23 on 2/12, and -24 on 2/13 and 2/14. Here’s the high/low temperatures in G.R. during that frigid half/month: Jan. 30 (10/M), Jan. 31 (4/-20), Feb. 1 (9/-20), Feb. 6 (18/-3), Feb. 7 (12/-15), Feb. 8 (12/-8), Feb. 9 (-3/-10), Feb. 10 (-6/-21 – coldest maximum ever in G.R.), Feb. 11 (0/-21), Feb. 12 (0/-23), Feb. 13 (2/-24), Feb. 14 (15/-24), Feb. 15 (25/0). Here’s a list of all-time record lows set in Feb. 1899 in Michigan: -30 Muskegon, -35 Allegan, -24 Battle Creek, -36 Big Rapids, -25 Grand Haven, -41 Grayling, -35 Hart, -31 Hastings, -25 Ionia (this may have been beaten in Jan. 1994), -32 Ishpeming, -41 Lake City, -28 Manistique, -40 Newberry, -22 St. Johns, -22 S. Haven, -47 Stambaugh, -20 Three Rivers, -33 Traverse City. Four all-time state records still stand today after 113 years: -2 Tallahassee FL, -16 Minden LA, -39 Milligan OH, -47 Camp Clarke NE. Logan, MT dipped to -61. It’s was -10 in Dallas, TX. Here’s more and weather maps of the event. Snow fell across central Florida and the temperatures hit the 20s all the way down to Miami. New Orleans fell to 7 above and ice floes moved down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico! The center of the monster high pressure reached 31.42″. There’s a couple of old maps here. Here’s a picture from Washington, D.C. and Galveston, TX. Here’s more maps from NCDC.

18 Responses to “Biggest Cold Wave in U.S. and G.R. History”

  1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    I love cold and snowy weather, however even for me that is way too COLD!! Give me the teens and 20′s with heavy SNOW!!!

    1. Jack says:

      I hear Ya..R.R… And The Song……HEATWAVE, Was not Written in This Period , as Well ! ;-)

  2. Slimjim says:

    That was one extreme event. That along with the heat wave of 1936 are events that just do not happen that often. It should br noted that last March kind of falls into that extreme events.

    1. Brian(Grandville) says:

      Yes, those extreme events don’t happen often. That’s why they’re called events, and not trends, or patterns. I think we can leave it at that.

      1. fixxxer says:

        Oh? Then what do you call the heat we had most of the spring & summer too? Id love for a repeat even though i know its a slim chance. My hopes is for at least a slightly above average summer temp wise.

        1. Brian(Grandville) says:

          80′s for highs, and 50′s for lows would be fine by me.

        2. fixxxer says:

          Sounds good to me.

        3. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

          70s for highs with 50s as lows.

          Come on, fixxxy. 80s would be much harder on your energy bills.

  3. TomKap (Michigan St. & Fuller) Grand Rapids says:

    I know I’ve said this before when Bill puts this thread up: I’m sure it was a cold snap, but one has to wonder just how accurate thermometers were back in the late 1800′s.

    1. Jack says:

      If your up for Some Reading, TOM. Check this Out about Accuracy of Thermometers , Back Then. Ps. I didn’t read it Lost my Good Glasses… LOL..
      Hope it’s what u were wondering.. ;-)

    2. Todd In Nunica says:

      1800′s ? heck they are not accurate today, I have used many over the years and can sit there with 2 identical models and they read different temps. BOTH for cooking and for air temps. One of my biggest pet peeves, tired of boiling water every time I get a new thermometer for cooking to “see” if its accurate.

      The ones outside….well just have to believe what they way since they generally do not go up to 212 deg…lmao

  4. fixxxer says:

    Lets think spring billy.

  5. Matt in New Era says:

    I just don’t see were everybody is getting the idea of a major event coming!!!! I see that the storm coming out of Canada is going to end up with a major shift!!! I can see it clipping the U.P. and northern Mi!! I don’t know maybe it will hit us maybe it won’t with the jet stream it is going to be a hit or miss!!

  6. Jack says:

    Hello BILL: Speaking of COLD, Ya Ever Seen THIS . I think u will get a Chuckle. ;-)

    1. Skot says:

      Same could be said about CONservatives.

      1. Mike M. says:

        No, there are very few conservatives in Congress. There are a lot of RINOs, the Lite beer version of Democrats. They don’t steal quite as much and they feel guilty about it afterwords, just not enough to actually stop doing it. Democrats steal AND gloat AND berate the victims when they object. ;)

  7. Mike M. says:

    Apparently we can bring back those good old cold spells for just a few trillion dollars. That, and recycling. Or something. Maybe it was growing our own organic tofu. I forget.

  8. Brenda says:

    Love those old pictures. People having fun on the steps of the state capital; that’s awesome : )

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