Pella Chronicle


March 13, 2014


Past winter was the coldest in 35 years and 9th coldest all time

Pella — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey  highlighted a summary of the 2013/2014 winter season compiled by Harry Hillaker, the State Climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

 “It has certainly seemed like a long, cold winter and the numbers from our State Climatologist’s office bear that out.  Everyone is certainly looking forward to spring,” Northey said.

 “The meteorological season of winter runs from December 1 through February 28.   This past winter season has been the coldest experienced in Iowa in 35 years and ranks as the 9th coldest winter in 141 years of records.   Temperatures this winter season averaged 14.7 degrees or 7.2 degrees below normal,” said Hillaker.

 On a month-by-month basis all three winter months were unusually cold this past season:

December 2013

17.3 degrees

6.7 degrees colder than average

17th coldest December

January 2014

13.9 degrees

4.7 degrees colder than average

35th coldest January

February 2014

12.6 degrees

10.5 degrees colder than average

7th coldest February

 A colder December was last recorded in 2000, a colder January in 2010 and a colder February in 1979.   Historically there have been only 24 winters among the past 141 seasons where all three winter months averaged colder than normal.   Temperatures this winter have varied from about ten degrees below normal in northeast Iowa to four degrees below normal over the southwest. 

 The cold has been very persistent this winter with nearly one-half (44) of all days averaging more than ten degrees colder than normal while only four days averaged more than ten degrees above normal.

 Persistence has been the primary characteristic of the Iowa weather pattern this winter as there have been very few daily record low temperatures set.   Elkader has recorded the lowest temperature of the winter with a minus 29 degree reading on the morning of January 28.   Slightly more than one-half of all Iowa winters have brought a lower statewide minimum temperature than the -29 recorded this winter.

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