Weather Talk: Don't be fooled — 30 below is not as common as it used to be
The last time the temperature in Fargo-Moorhead officially reached 30 below was Jan. 2, 2010, when the low temperature of the day was 33 degrees below zero. Eight years is a long time, historically, to have gone without any 30 below temperatures. The year 2010 was the third consecutive winter with a temperature of at least 30 below, suggesting the present eight-year run is something of a statistical blip; however, there has been a measurable trend toward fewer extreme cold outbreaks in recent decades.
Although not an annual occurrence, 30 below temperatures have historically been observed in about half of the winter seasons, sometimes happening more than once during a winter. The last winter with multiple 30 below readings was 2004 when the temperature plunged to 31 below, 29 below, 33 below and 36 below on four consecutive mornings in late January. Two of those days had high temperatures around 20 below.