Record Setting Cold -  December 12, 2000

Tuesday morning (December 12th) brought record cold to many locations in Minnesota. Though the Twin Cities did not set a record low temperature (-11 F on Tuesday was the coldest December 12th since 1962, but not close to the record cold of -14 F in 1903), several other communities reported record
lows, including....

Alexandria -21 F,    Brainerd -23 F,    Cambridge -24 F
Windom -17 F,       Owatonna -15 F,  Albert Lea -15 F
Red Wing -15 F,     Hibbing -24 F,      Park Rapids -27 F
Lamberton -14 F,    New Ulm -15 F (tied 1945 and 1932)
Embarrass -35 F,     Littlefork -27 F,    Babbitt -25 F
Eau Claire, WI -18 F

Further during the day on Tuesday, the maximum temperatures never recovered much. As a result many record cold maximum temperatures were recorded as well, including...

MSP -1 F,                 Rochester -5 F,    Fergus Falls -5 F
Eau Claire, WI -1 F,  St Cloud -4 F (tied 1922)
Mankato -2 F (tied 1995)

Elsewhere around the country......
The cold air helped produce record lows from the northern Rockies eastward to the Mississippi Valley. On Tuesday low temperature records were either tied or set in Montana at Bozeman (27 degrees below zero) and Billings (11 degrees below zero); at Aberdeen, SD (25 degrees below); in Nebraska at Chadron (22 degrees below), Alliance (24 degrees below) and Lincoln (14 degrees below); at Casper, WY (17 degrees below); at Eau Claire, WI (18 degrees below); in Iowa at Mason City (16 degrees below), Waterloo (15 degrees below), Cedar Rapids (12 degrees below), Des Moines (11 degrees below) and Dubuque (11 degrees below) and at Moline, IL (12 degrees below zero). While the cold air was primarily responsible for the record lows, a fresh snow cover, along with weak winds under the clear skies of high pressure permitted intense nighttime radiative cooling. Temperatures were slow to rebound on Tuesday afternoon in many locations. Record low high temperatures were either tied or set on Tuesday afternoon in Iowa at Des Moines (one degree above zero) and Dubuque (2 degrees), at Moline, IL (5 degrees) and in Texas at Lubbock (21 degrees), Austin (32 degrees at Bergstrom), San Antonio (34 degrees), Tyler (34 degrees) and Del Rio (41 degrees).

Mark Seeley
Professor and Extension Climatologist
Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
University of Minnesota
St Paul, MN 55108


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Last modified: December 13, 2000