Amazing stretch of cold coming to an end. Even the snow today seems really "warm" with it in the low 30s. I've recorded three lows below minus 10 (-11, -16 and -19) over the last couple of weeks. We've certainly seen snowier periods, but apparently the coldest 13 day stretch in Canaan Valley's history -- see below.
The last 13-days ( 12-26-17 through 1-7-18) are the coldest 13 days ever recorded in Canaan Valley, WV’s official National Weather Service 73-year climate record (based on preliminary data). What was noteworthy of this brutally cold period was not that any one day had extremely low temperatures, but that this period experienced such consistently, much below average readings. The warmest temperature recorded during the 13 days was 24 F with one day staying below zero F all 24-hours.
The average high temperature for the period was 12.0 F with the average daily minimum temperature being -2.9 F. That yields a 13-day average temperature of 4.6 F, a whopping 2.5 degrees lower than the next coldest 13-day period in any other year. Ten of the 13 subject morning’s recorded sub-zero F minimum temperatures. The average temperature during this cold snap was equivalent to average January temperatures found at sea-level around the frigid northernmost shores of Lake Superior in Canada, 1,400 miles north in central Canada.
While the extreme low during the period was a modest -13 F by Valley standards, a new high quality research station in the Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge located in a frost hollow, recorded two separate mornings of -25 F and -24 F on 1/3 and 1/7/18 respectively.
The research temperature station is only 125 miles due west of Washington/Regan National Airport (DCA) as the crow flies. Canaan Valley’s official National Weather Service COOP weather station has recorded minimum temperatures in the 20’s F in all 3 summer months (June, July, August). Canaan’s valley floor has an average growing season shorter than that found in Fairbanks, Alaska in the cold interior of that state. It is the highest, large valley floor in eastern North America with an average valley bottom elevation of 3,250 feet. It’s bath-tub like shape also helps trap cold air forming overnight extremely efficiently during clear, calm, dry weather conditions.
This frigid pattern is coming to an abrupt end this week. Temperature should soar well into the 50’s F on several days by week’s end.
Some data courtesy of David Lesher.