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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The Fargo record low for today’s date, Feb. 24, is 28 below zero set in 1889. There is a record of a spectacular 32 below set March 15, 1897. However, these late-winter 20-below and 30-below temperatures have become quite rare this late in the winter in recent decades.
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.
So far this winter, there have been seven days in which the high temperature was below zero degrees in Fargo-Moorhead. The average during a winter season is eight, based on the most recent three complete decades from 1981 to 2010.
When February brings a combination of a mild weather pattern and a limited snowpack, an occasional day has been known to warm into the 50s. On rare occasions, this has happened twice in the same month.
Even though our snow has not been very deep this winter, it is showing lots of staying power.
We live in a cold climate, and we love to talk about the weather.
Last summer brought severe drought conditions to parts of central and western North Dakota. Although the Red River Valley was certainly drier than average last summer and fall, it was not anywhere near dry enough to be called a drought.
Most of the world converted to Celsius decades ago, but the people of the United States stubbornly refused to change. Now, we Americans are on a different scale for temperature than most people of the world.
"At what temperature is cold weather considered 'arctic?' " This very good question came into the weather office this week. Actually, there is no temperature consideration at all.
So far, the cold and the mild have about equaled each other out this winter season here in the Red River Valley. February could change that.