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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jeff Masters: An incredible 110° temperature swing in 1 week in Oklahoma

An incredible 110° temperature swing in 1 week in Oklahoma

by Jeff Masters, wunderblog, February 18, 2011

The temperature in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, shot up to a record 82 °F yesterday, just seven days after the city hit -28 °F on February 10. This 110 °F temperature change has to be one of the greatest 1-week temperature swings in U.S. history. The -31 °F that was recorded in nearby Nowata last week has now been certified by the National Weather Service as the new official all-time coldest temperature ever recorded in Oklahoma. What's more, the 27 inches of snow that fell on Spavinaw, Oklahoma, during the February 8-9 snowstorm set a new official state 24-hour snowfall record. The previous record was 26", set on March 28, 2009, in Woodward and Freedom.

A 100+ degree temperature change in just six days is a phenomenally rare event. I checked the records for over twenty major cities in the Midwest in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana, and could not find any examples of a 100-degree temperature swing in so short a period of time. The closest I came was a 108° swing in temperature in fourteen days at Valentine, Nebraska, from -27 °F on March 11, 1998, to 82 °F on March 25, 1998. Valentine also had a 105 °F temperature swing in fifteen days from November 29, 1901 (71 °F), to December 14, 1901 (-34 °F.) 

Our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, lists the world record for fastest 24-hour change in temperature as the 103 °F warm-up from -54 °F to 49 °F that occurred on January 14-15, 1972, during a chinook wind in Lowe, Montana. This week's remarkable roller coaster ride of temperatures in Oklahoma is truly a remarkable event that has few parallels in recorded history.

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