Wednesday, November 6, 2013

5 Incredible Temperature Swings

Spearfish, S.D.
Spearfish after a heavy snowstorm in late December 2009 from iWitness Weather contributor RickBriggs.

Imagine bundling up to get the newspaper on an early morning at 7:30 a.m. with the temperature at a frigid -4 degrees.

Just two minutes later as you are letting Fido have a potty break on the lawn, you notice that the frigid air you walked out the door into is not so frigid anymore. You look at your thermometer and the temperature has shot up to 45 degrees. That's right, a temperature increase of 49 degrees in just two minutes!
But wait, that's not the end of this wild morning weather story. After the temperature climbs all the way to 54 degrees at 9 a.m., it crashes down again 58 degrees in 27 minutes to -4 degrees once again.

Sounds like a dream, but it's not. All of this happened in Spearfish, S.D. on January 22, 1943.

The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, S.D. describes the cause of the dramatic temperature changes:

"The wild temperature fluctuations were likely due to cold air and warm air sloshing back and forth along the plains at the base of the Black Hills. A similar effect would be to pour warm water into a shallow bowl of cold water. The water would slosh back and forth a few times before settling down. This is likely what happened with the warm and cold air along the Black Hills."

Record High and Record Low in One Day

Weather Map 11/12/1911

The cold front was almost to the East Coast by the next morning with very cold high pressure taking over the middle of the country.

Oklahoma City accomplished a rare feat on November 11, 1911.

Warm air ahead of a cold front allowed the afternoon temperature that day to reach a record high of 83 degrees. Then, the sharp cold front sliced through the Heartland and dropped temperatures in an extreme way. Just before midnight, the low temperature bottomed out at a record of 17 degrees. This is a total drop of 66 degrees from the record high to the record low.

Both of these temperature records for November 11 remain intact more than 100 years later.

(MORE: America's 5 coldest cities)

Springfield, Mo. was another city that set a record high and record low on this same day in 1911.

An hour-long break for lunch would've been wild in the next city.


From 67 at Lunch to 1 at Dinner

West Texas Sunrise

A sunrise west of Amarillo in the town of Adrian. Credit: iWitness Weather contributor davpas 2.
Ahhh...a temperature of 67 degrees at noon on an early December day might give you thoughts of an outdoor lunch. If you were in Amarillo, Texas on December 12, 1919, this would've been a bad idea...unless you're a weather enthusiast.

A powerful cold front raced through the northwest Texas city during the lunch hour, ushering in cold northerly winds that dropped the temperature to 23 degrees by 1 p.m. An incredible plunge of 44 degrees in one hour!

It got even worse through the afternoon and early evening. In fact, by the time people were cleaning up from dinner around 7 p.m., it was only one degree above zero.

It's back to the Sooner State for a record-breaking temperature rise just a couple of years ago.


110-Degree Rise

Nowata, Okla.

Car buried in snow after a February 2011 snowstorm in Nowata, Okla. Credit: iWitness Weather contributor giantfood.

This next amazing temperature swing from the winter of 2011 had some residents of Oklahoma changing their wardrobe from thick winter coats to shorts and t-shirts in the span of a week.

A cold air mass combined with a fresh snowpack and calm winds allowed the town of Nowata, Okla. to reach a low of -31 degrees on February 10, 2011. This was confirmed as the all-time coldest temperature ever recorded in Oklahoma.

Gradual warming accelerated over the course of a week and temperatures peaked at a record high of 79 degrees on February 17.

According to the National Weather Service in Tulsa, Okla., this 110-degree temperature rise is the greatest change within seven days in Oklahoma history.

(MORE: Ten shocking cities for snow)

The next temperature extreme is unique for a combo of extreme records set in a matter of months.

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