Saturday, January 21, 2012
Weather History: Last Subzero Low In Philadelphia
Thursday marked the 18th anniversary of Philadelphia's last subzero low temperature and what was the coldest day in Philadelphia in 60 years. January, 19th, 1994 featured a morning low in Philadelphia of -5 degrees, which was not only a record for the date but also one of the coldest lows the city has had in January, bested only by -7 on two occasions in the early 1980's during some notorious arctic cold snaps that gripped the Eastern US. The 1994 arctic outbreak isn't remembered as much around these parts compared to "Cold Sunday" in the early 80's or some of the late 70's arctic shots. January 1994 is remembered locally for its ice storms but this arctic cold shot carried a lot of pop as a myriad of winter storms in early January laid the groundwork and snow cover over the Midwest for a massive ooze of arctic chill that lead to a parade of record lows being broken across the eastern half of the country.
Lows on January 19th in the Delaware Valley included -8 in Trenton, -13 in Reading, -11 in Allentown, and -5 in Wilmington. "Highs" for the day generally only inched above zero in a number of spots...reaching just 3 in Trenton, 6 in Philadelphia, and 1 (yeah, that's it) in Allentown and Reading. Wind chills stayed below zero throughout the day with breezes that were in the ten mile per hour range in the afternoon adding just enough bit to make it feel several degrees colder.
The 1994 wave was one of the rare cold outbreaks in the country's history that even forced schools to shut down in Minnesota by order of the state's governor...temperatures in Minneapolis reached -26 with wind chills below -45 on January 18th...and "highs" in Minneapolis on the 18th only reached -17.