Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:08 PM GMT on January 21, 2013
A blast of Arctic air more intense than anything experienced during the winter of 2011 - 2012 has descended over the Midwest U.S., bringing the coldest temperatures in nearly two years. The low hit -2°F Monday morning in Des Moines, Iowa, marking the first day since February 10, 2011 that Des Moines had dropped below zero. The 710 consecutive days the city had gone without reaching 0°F was the longest such streak on record (previous record: 368 straight days, beginning January 23, 1954.) In Minneapolis, the mercury dropped to -10°F Monday morning, the coldest day since February 10, 2011. With the high temperature not expected to get above zero Monday, the city will likely snap its record-long streak of just over four years without a high temperature above 0°F. The last time the high temperature at the Minneapolis airport was below zero was on January 15, 2009, when the thermometer climbed to only -6°F. The previous longest such streak since record keeping began in 1872 was a 3.1 year streak that ended in January 2004. Strong winds accompanying today's cold blast have dropped the wind chill to a dangerously cold -40 to -50°F across much of Minnesota and North Dakota. The wind chill bottomed out at -51°F at Langdon, North Dakota at 4:35 CST Monday morning, thanks to a temperature of -22° combined with a wind of 17 mph. The wind chill hit -46°F at nearby Devils Lake and -51° at Hamden. The lowest wind chill in Minnesota was at Le Center: -43°F. Brr!
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