Historic cold records fall in Southern Plains

The Southern Plains are shivering this morning after one of the coldest mornings this deep into April on record.

Oklahoma City plummeted to 31 degrees, its coldest reading on record so late in the spring. Records there date back to 1891.

Temperatures were generally 20 to 30 degrees below normal this morning throughout the Plains.


Temperature difference from normal at 8 a.m. EDT this morning as indicated by GFS model (WeatherBell.com)

Here are some other notable record lows:

* Lubbock, Texas tanked to  25, its coldest temperature so late in the spring (records date back to 1911)

* Wichita Falls, Texas fell to 29, its coldest temperature so late in the spring (and latest freeze)

* Amarillo, Texas fell to 21, its coldest temperature so late in the spring

* Dallas dropped to 37.  The last time it was in the 30s this late was April 25, 1910, when the mercury dipped to 33.

On Tuesday, 489 record low temperatures were set across the U.S. compared to just 13 record highs according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Records set Tuesday (HamWeather.com)
Records set Tuesday (HamWeather.com)

In some locations, snowfall complemented the unusual chill.  Wichita, Kansas received 0.2 inches of snow Tuesday, its latest measurable snow on record (since 1889).

AccuWeather reports Major League Baseball has been forced to cancel 17 games due to cold and snow this April.

As I noted yesterday, a large southward excursion of the jet stream over the central U.S. has allowed bitter cold air to spill south.

While cold weather records have outpaced warm weather records in the U.S. so far this calendar year, temperatures have been warmer than average globally.  In fact, March ranked as the 10th warmest month on record for the planet.

Local conditions at any given time do not necessarily reflect weather around the globe and may be out of step with long-term trends as NOAA explains in the video below…

As a great example of this, Minneapolis set a record low of 21 degrees Saturday, but it was its first record low since August, 2004.  According to Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas, 42 record highs were set in that same span – from 2004 to present.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Dan Stillman · April 24, 2013