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BRRRRRRRRRRRR!

February 11, 2018
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Director , Reinbeck Courier

I must say, I have enjoyed this winter so far. I purchased a snowblower two years ago and by my estimates have logged a whopping 6 hours of time on the engine. Actually, I think that may even be stretching the run time. That's great!

I know the past few years have not been kind to the snowmobilers and their pastime but these aging bones and back of mine have enjoyed the lack of snow. I heard on the radio recently that this year we have received only about 4 inches of snow. Fortunately, we have received more precipitation than that but in the form of rain.

All this has been written with the weatherman saying we can expect snow and by the time you are reading this we will have likely received somewhere between 4 to 8 inches of the white stuff. So, in anticipation of the stuff, I went reading about it:

From where those fluffy snowflakes originate, falling at the rate of 2-4 mph, it can take about one hour for them to fall to the ground. The most snow produced in a single snowstorm is 15.75 ft. at Mt. Shasta Ski Bowl, California between February 13 and 19, 1959. A total of 1,224.5 inches (102 ft!) of snow fell over a 12-month period from February, 1971 to February, 1972 at Paradise, Mt. Ranier, in Washington state. And the greatest snowfall in a single day was 75.8 inches at Silver Lake, Colorado during the April 14-15, 1921 snowstorm.

And while we have not had a year of snowfall, we have experienced cold, cold, cold temperatures.

As far as cold temperatures go, the lowest world temperature ever recorded is -128.6 F at the Vostok Station, Antarctica on July 21, 1983. The lowest USA temperature was -79.8 F at Prospect Creek, Alaska, on January 23, 1971. And the lowest USA temperature within the 48 contiguous states was -69.7 F at Rogers Pass, Montana on January 20, 1954.

Here's something else temperature-wise that I found interesting: on January 22, 1943, the temperature at Spearfish, South Dakota rose from minus 4F at 7:30 AM to 45F at 7:32 AM (a 49F rise in just 2 minutes!). That phenomenon is referred to as heat bursts. A parcel of air is pushed down from 20,000 feet to the surface, warming by compression all the way down.

As we watch the nationwide weather maps recently, we see that much of the country is experiencing colder than usual temperatures. But consider this historical cold record this country's most widespread reported cold wave was in February of 1899. It was so cold in the central United States that the Mississippi River froze over its entire length, with ice as thick as two inches in New Orleans! Think about that you ice fishermen ice fishing in New Orleans.

 
 

 

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