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Widest Temperature Swings

Anyone have any insight into what part of the U.S. sees the widest temperature swings during any one season. I can't help but think the cornbelt during the winter, would be place to look. For example a leeside mid lat storm could bring Omaha a high of 65 in the warm sector, then when the front swings through temps could drop to near zero 48 hours later. I'm not talking about the most drastic temperature change within 24 hours ar anything like that, I'm just talking about the broadest range of temps that could actually be considered normal.


Inquiring minds want to know!
 
John, I was just reading about some similar type records in my weather book.

Greatest temperature change in one day: 100 F, a temperature drop from 44 F to -56 F on 23-24 January 1916 in Browning, MT.

Most rapid temperature change: 49 F in two minutes, a temperature rise from -4 F to 45 F on 22 January 1943 in Spearfish, SD.

I know you are looking for the broadest average temperature range, but I think these records probably have much to say. Both above mentioned records were in neighboring states during January, so I'll bet you'll find that the broadest average temperature range for the US lies somewhere around MT, ND, and SD in the month of January.

What's got me wondering though is how the temperature can rise 49 degrees in two minutes. An extremely sharp cold front I could see, but I have never heard of a warm front being that sharp or moving that fast. A heat burst might, but you typically don't have any storm activity when its -4. :wink:
 
Spearfish is on the lee side of the Black Hills, so what happened was they got a Chinook wind off the lee side of the mountain that displaced the shallow layer of Arctic air.

As for the original question - the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains is definitely the place where you're going to see the greatest range in temperature. Closest proximity to the downslope Chinook winds, and just low enough in elevation where they can still get the coldest of the Arctic air (Arctic air usually isn't much deeper than the 850mb level). I recall one instance earlier this winter where Limon CO had a low of -22F, then the downslope winds kicked in and they warmed all the way up to +41F that same afternoon.
 
so I'll bet you'll find that the broadest average temperature range for the US lies somewhere around MT, ND, and SD in the month of January.

Living in South Dakota, I'd agree.

Some "normal" shifts of temperature (from the NWS FSDFO) -

My first example is from the NWS FSDFO Climatology Page, the Prelim data for the month of Feb. Climatology Page Here.

Date Hi Lo
02/01 42 31
02/02 45 25
02/03 58 24
02/04 61 27
02/05 57 30
02/06 30 14
02/07 19 7
02/08 13 7
02/09 19 -3
02/10 43 0
02/11 57 18
02/12 59 19

January is even more extreme. Click Here

If you go back and look at the climatic summaries for past year's, you can see that these swings of 40 - 50 degrees in a 24 hr period, and 50-60 degrees over a week are quite normal around here.

That's why South Dakotan's tell visitors:

"What, you don't like the weather? Wait 'til tomorrow."[/list]
 
That is a good quote that you Dakotans use, and it works perfectly for you as well. I would have to go with areas of the northern plains during winter, but more specifically the western portions, such as the Dakotas and you can throw in Montana/Wyoming/Colorado and there will be some huge variances from day to day.
 
Seneca, Oregon

In 1936, a temp of -56F was recorded in Seneca, Oregon. 24 hours later it was 42F. A swing of about 96F or so. :shock:
 
There was a cold front in the month of November (I want to say 1911, but I am not sure of the year) that caused OKC and MKC (and possibly some other stations) to have both their record high and record low the same day.
 
Originally posted by cedwards
49 F in two minutes

My question is, what kind of thermometer could measure this? Most reaction times are very slow for thermometers.

We use mercury thermometers in our slings on Mount Washington. They go from 70F (inside) to -30F outside in about 2 minutes. No big deal.

Now, the 49F swing in two minutes, I doubt that ever happened. I say prove it.
 
Originally posted by B Ozanne+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(B Ozanne)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-cedwards
49 F in two minutes

My question is, what kind of thermometer could measure this? Most reaction times are very slow for thermometers.

We use mercury thermometers in our slings on Mount Washington. They go from 70F (inside) to -30F outside in about 2 minutes. No big deal.

Now, the 49F swing in two minutes, I doubt that ever happened. I say prove it.[/b]

While this isn't proof, this is a report that I found on Intellicast that I found to be pretty interesting:

January 22, 1943 -

Chinook winds caused wild temperatures fluctuations at Spearfish, SD. The temperature rose 49 degrees between 7:30 and 7:32 am (4 below to 45 above zero). Around 9 am the temperature plunged 58 degrees in 27 minutes (54 above to 4 below zero). Plate glass windows cracked as a result of the quick thermal expansion and contraction.

It is very hard to believe, but I guess it's possible. I sure would have liked to experience that though!
 
Well it is officially in the record books I believe because it was taken by official sensors. So as far as the proving is concerned, it has been proved!! ;)
 
I'd have to say some of the craziest "routine" temperature swings occur in March in TX/OK/KS. I love March because the weather is so upside-down and we get some of those deep, dynamic weather systems cutting across the Plains.

Tim
 
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