WeatherTalk: What is the average coldest temp of the winter?

In Fargo-Moorhead, 94% of winters get to at least -20 degrees and in Grand Forks, it's 97 percent.

Cartoon of John Wheeler with a speech bubble depicting weather events

Our region is renowned for cold winters, and each winter has its own coldest temperature. Taking the last 100 years of record, the average lowest temperature of a winter in Fargo-Moorhead is -27 degrees, ranging from -12 degrees in 2002 to -39 in 1996. There are a few outlier records into the -40s in the 1880s, including the all-time record low of -48 set in 1887. But for the purpose of comparison, we will use the past 100 years.

In the past 100 years, 94 years have delivered at least one temperature as low as -20 degrees, 63 have been as low as -25 degrees, 36 have gotten to -30 degrees, and seven have been as cold as -35 degrees. For Grand Forks, the average is -30 degrees, but the range is from -14 degrees in 2002 to -43 in 2004. In the past 100 winters, 97 have gotten to -20 degrees, 83 to -25 degrees, 53 to -30 degrees, and 17 to -35 degrees.

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John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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