The Big Story Blog

Will warm weather shatter below-zero record?

Posted at 3:58 PM on January 9, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Weather

MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

We posted some data earlier from Minnesota Climatology Working Group showing that this first 10 days of January in the Twin Cities are likely to be the warmest on record.

The working group has also posted data showing this might end up being the longest stretch in the Twin Cities before hitting a below zero temperature. January 18 is the current record.

Here's the working group entry:

In 140 years of record keeping in the Twin Cities, the official temperature has always fallen below zero sometime during the winter. The latest being January 18th during the winters of 1888-89 and 2000-2001.

So far as of January 9, there has not been a below zero temperature recorded so far at the Twin Cities International Airport. There has never been a winter that has not dipped below zero at least twice in the Twin Cities.

The latest into a season that a winter has gone without seeing a below zero temperature was in the winter of 1888-89 and 2000-2001 that lasted until January 18th without going below zero. So far the winter of 2011-2012 is in eighth place for the latest a winter has lasted without a below zero reading at the official Twin Cities recording station.

The long term average for the first below zero reading in the Twin Cities is December 9.

The winter of 2000-2001 only had two days with temperatures that reached below zero The Chanhassen National Weather Service has a tally of the lowest counts of below zero temperatures in past winters.

Twin Cities First Below Zero Temperature: 1872-2012 Winters

Rank Season First Below Zero
1) 1888-89 January 18
1) 2001-02 January 18
3) 1954-55 January 16
4) 1881-82 January 14
5) 1913-14 January 11
5) 1974-75 January 11
5) 2002-03 January 11
8) 2011-12 January 9 (so far)
9) 1877-78 January 4
10) 1969-70 January 2

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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