Streak of Below Freezing Temperatures in the Twin Cities

On January 31, 2009 at 10am, the temperature rose to 32 degrees in the Twin Cities. This ended the streak of below freezing temperatures that started at 8AM December 29th, 2008. There were 33nd consecutive days of below freezing temperatures in the Twin Cities. At 33 days, this stretch tied for the 11th longest stretch of below freezing temperatures in the modern Twin Cities record. The last time there was a similar streak lasting 31 days was from January 18 to February 17, 2004.

The average temperature during this time has been 8.0 degrees representing a departure of 5.1 degrees below normal. The coldest temperature during this period was -22 on January 16th. The longest stretch of below freezing temperatures in the Twin Cities in the modern record since 1891 was 66 days during the winter of 1977-78.

In looking at pioneer-era records there was an even longer span of below freezing temperatures. From December 19, 1874 to March 9, 1875 the temperature remained below freezing in St. Paul for 98 days. With scant snow cover during that winter the frost depth was reported to be eight-and-a-half feet in places with water mains freezing. Hydrants were left running in places to prevent more water lines from freezing. The table below shows the 20 longest stretches of below freezing temperatures in the Twin Cities since 1891.

MSP 30 longest streaks of days with max temps <= 31
1       12/19/1977      to      2/22/1978       66
2       12/24/1978      to      2/19/1979       58
3       12/24/1911      to      2/13/1912       52
4       1/9/1929        to      2/25/1929       48
5       1/16/1904       to      2/26/1904       42
        1/12/1936       to      2/22/1936       42
        12/20/1939      to      1/30/1940       42
        11/22/1983      to      1/2/1984        42
9       12/19/1969      to      1/24/1970       37
10      12/22/1981      to      1/26/1982       36
11      12/13/1968      to      1/14/1969       33
        12/29/2008      to      1/30/2009       33 *
13      1/15/1985       to      2/15/1985       32
        11/20/1985      to      12/21/1985      32
15      1/18/2004       to      2/17/2004       31 
16      12/25/1917      to      1/23/1918       30
        12/5/2000       to      1/3/2001        30
18      12/25/1976      to      1/22/1977       29
19      1/14/1937       to      2/10/1937       28
        2/17/1960       to      3/15/1960       28 
        1/10/1966       to      2/6/1966        28