The numbers behind the Christmas weekend arctic outbreak
It was one of the longest stretches at or below freezing in MGM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - No records fell in Montgomery in association with the arctic air outbreak over Christmas weekend. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t brutally cold, it just means we have been colder at some other point in time.
Temperatures reached the teens each day from Friday to Monday. The coldest morning came Saturday when the low fell to 16 degrees. Saturday also happened to be the coldest afternoon as highs in Montgomery failed to get above freezing!
Wind chills were another aspect of the cold, especially Friday and Saturday. Wind chill values plummeted into the single digits Friday morning and again Saturday morning. Montgomery’s wind chill got very close to 0° at its coldest point. There were locations that did see their wind chill fall to 0° Friday morning, Saturday morning or both.
When it comes to where this stretch of frigid cold sits in the history book, it is towards the top. It’s not every day that the temperature falls to 16° in Montgomery, Alabama.
Since the late 1800s there have only been 142 occurrences of the temperature falling as low as 16°. That averages out to about once per year. But we had three days with lows of 18° surrounding that. That makes this shot of cold even more impressive.
Going back 30 years there has only been one other 4-day stretch with temperatures falling below 20° in Montgomery: January 8-11 of 2010. Since 1992 that’s it!
It’s just hard to get that cold in this part of the state. Only 23 times since records began being kept in the late 1800s has Montgomery fallen below 10°. That averages out to once every five years! And only one time ever has Montgomery’s actual temperature dipped below zero. The thermometer reached -5° all the way back on February 13th, 1899!
More than just the plain temperatures and wind chills is the consecutive hours at or below freezing. That statistic can’t be overlooked as many locations failed to warm above freezing for at least 48 hours. That includes Montgomery, which saw about 55 hours without going above 32°.
Only one other time since the turn of the century back in 2000 have we spent at least 55 hours at or below freezing. That stretch also happened to be 55 hours! So now Montgomery has experienced two stretches of more than 48 hours at or below freezing in the last 20 years.
Like I said above, it’s just very difficult to get this kind of cold in Central and South Alabama. Let alone multiple days in a row with that kind of cold.
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