Weather Forecast


Weather Talk: City's longest cold spell was in 1936

Cold weather is expected during a northern Plains winter. In some years, truly extreme cold is fleeting and manageable, but most winters have enough cold weather for it to become tiresome. Since Fargo-Moorhead records began in 1881, the longest and most difficult cold spell was in January and February of 1936.

Here in Fargo-Moorhead, there were 44 consecutive days with a low temperature of zero degrees or colder. During this run, there were 23 daily lows of minus 20 degrees or lower, and eight daily lows of minus 30 or lower.

Even more remarkable and miserable was that for 37 consecutive days, from Jan. 15 through Feb. 20, the temperature failed to rise above zero at all, even in the daytime. The North Dakota state record low temperature of minus 60 degrees was set in Parshall on Feb. 15 that year. The coldest here in Fargo-Moorhead that winter was 37 below zero.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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