Cold wave
A cold wave is a weather phenomenon that is distinguished by a cooling of the air. Specifically, as used by the U.S. National Weather Service
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

, a cold wave is a rapid fall in temperature within a 24 hour period requiring substantially increased protection to agriculture, industry, commerce, and social activities. The precise criterion for a cold wave is determined by the rate at which the temperature falls, and the minimum to which it falls. This minimum temperature is dependent on the geographical region and time of year.


A cold wave can cause death and injury to livestock and wildlife. Exposure to cold mandates greater caloric
Food energy
Food energy is the amount of energy obtained from food that is available through cellular respiration.Food energy is expressed in food calories or kilojoules...

 intake for all animals, including humans, and if a cold wave is accompanied by heavy and persistent snow, grazing animals may be unable to reach needed food and die of hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as . Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation...

 or starvation. They often necessitate the purchase of foodstuffs at considerable cost to farmers to feed livestock.

Extreme winter cold often causes poorly insulated
Thermal insulation
Thermal insulation is the reduction of the effects of the various processes of heat transfer between objects in thermal contact or in range of radiative influence. Heat transfer is the transfer of thermal energy between objects of differing temperature...

 water pipelines
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

 and mains to freeze. Even some poorly protected indoor plumbing
Plumbing is the system of pipes and drains installed in a building for the distribution of potable drinking water and the removal of waterborne wastes, and the skilled trade of working with pipes, tubing and plumbing fixtures in such systems. A plumber is someone who installs or repairs piping...

 ruptures as water expands within them, causing much damage to property and costly insurance claims. Demand for electrical power and fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

s rises dramatically during such times, even though the generation of electrical power may fail due to the freezing of water necessary for the generation of hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

. Some metals may become brittle at low temperatures. Motor vehicles may fail as antifreeze
Antifreeze is a freeze preventive used in internal combustion engines and other heat transfer applications, such as HVAC chillers and solar water heaters....

 fails and motor oil gels, resulting even in the failure of the transportation system. To be sure, such is more likely in places like Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and much of Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 that customarily get very cold weather.

Fires become even more of a hazard during extreme cold. Water mains may break and water supplies may become unreliable, making firefighting more difficult. The air during a cold wave is typically denser and any cold air that a fire draws in is likely to cause a more intense fire because the colder, denser air contains more oxygen.

Winter cold waves that aren't considered cold in some areas, but cause temperatures significantly below average for an area, are also destructive. Areas with subtropical climates may recognize unusual cold, perhaps barely freezing, temperatures, as a cold wave. In such places, plant and animal life is less tolerant of such cold as may appear rarely. The same winter temperatures that one associates with the norm for Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, northern Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, or Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 would be catastrophic to winter crops in southern Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, southern Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, or southern Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 that might be grown for wintertime consumption farther north, or to such all-year tropical or subtropical crops as citrus fruits. Likewise, abnormal cold waves that penetrate into tropical countries in which people do not customarily insulate houses or have reliable heating may cause hypothermia and even frostbite.

Cold waves that bring unexpected freezes and frosts during the growing season in mid-latitude zones can kill plants during the early and most vulnerable stages of growth, resulting in crop failure as plants are killed before they can be harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

ed economically. Such cold waves have caused famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

s. At times as deadly to plants as drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

, cold waves can leave a land in danger of later brush and forest fires that consume dead biomass. One extreme was the so-called Year Without a Summer
Year Without a Summer
The Year Without a Summer was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C , resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere...

 of 1816, one of several years during the 1810s in which numerous crops failed during freakish summer cold snaps after volcanic eruptions that reduced incoming sunlight.


In some places, such as Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, extreme cold requires that fuel-powered machinery to be used even part-time must be run continuously. Internal plumbing can be wrapped, and persons can often run water continuously through pipes. Energy conservation, difficult as it is in a cold wave, may require such measures as collecting people (especially the poor and elderly) in communal shelters. Even the homeless
Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are unable or unwilling to acquire and maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence." The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country...

 may be arrest
An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation and prevention of crime and presenting into the criminal justice system or harm to oneself or others...

ed and taken to shelters, only to be released when the hazard abates. Hospitals can prepare for the admission of victims of frostbite and hypothermia; schools and other public buildings can be converted into shelters.

People can stock up on food, water, and other necessities before a cold wave. Some may even choose to migrate to places of milder climates, at least during the winter. Suitable stocks of forage can be secured before cold waves for livestock, and livestock in vulnerable areas might be shipped from affected areas or even slaughtered. Smudge pot
Smudge pot
A smudge pot is an oil-burning device used to prevent frost on fruit trees. Condensation of water vapor on particulate soot prevents condensation on plants and raises air temperature very slightly. Usually a smudge pot has a large round base with a chimney coming out of the middle of the base...

s can bring smoke that prevents hard freezes on a farm or grove. Vulnerable crops may be sprayed with water that will paradoxically protect the plants by freezing and absorbing the cold from surrounding air.

Most people can dress appropriately and can even layer their clothing should they need to go outside or should their heating fail. They can also stock candles, matches, flashlights, and portable fuel for cooking and wood for fireplaces or wood stoves, as necessary. However caution should be taken as the use of charcoal fires for cooking or heating within an enclosed dwelling is extremely dangerous due to carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after enough inhalation of carbon monoxide . Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect...

. Adults must remain aware of the exposure that children and the elderly have to cold.

Modern cold waves (2001-date)

  • Winter of 2010–2011 in Great Britain and Ireland
    Winter of 2010–2011 in Great Britain and Ireland
    The winter of 2010–2011 was a weather event which brought heavy snowfalls, record low temperatures, travel chaos and school disruption to Great Britain and Ireland...

     - It was referred to as The Big Freeze by national medias in both United Kingdom and Ireland and it was the coldest winter in Britain for 31 years with an average temperature of 1.51C. The UK had its coldest December ever, since records began in 1910, with a mean temperature of -1°C. It easily broke the previous record of 0.1°C, set in December 1981.

  • 2009-2010 European Cold Wave - At least 90 are confirmed dead after record low temperatures and heavy snowfall across Europe causes travel disruption to much of the continent including the British Isles
    British Isles
    The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

    , France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    , the Low Countries
    Low Countries
    The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

    , Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

    , Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    , Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    , the Baltic States
    Baltic states
    The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

    , the Balkans
    The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

    , Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

     and Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    . Coldest winter for 30 years in the UK with the longest sustained cold spell since 1981. Temperatures in the Italian Alpine
    The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

     peaks have reached low to an extreme of -47 °C.

  • Early 2009 European Cold Wave - Early January gave most of Europe, especially in central and south very cold temperatures. Some places like Germany, France, Italy, Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     and Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     had record cold temperatures well below 0°C. Most of the places were covered in snow and ice which caused school closings and airport delays. Large cities like Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , Madrid
    Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

    , Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

     and even Marseille
    Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

     saw very cold temperatures with lots of snow and ice in Northern Italy
    Northern Italy
    Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

    , most of Germany, in northern Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

     and even along the coasts of the Mediterranean. In early February another cold front brought heavy snowfall to much of Western Europe with the heaviest snow falling in France, Northern Italy, the Low Countries and the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    , where parts of Southern England
    Southern England
    Southern England, the South and the South of England are imprecise terms used to refer to the southern counties of England bordering the English Midlands. It has a number of different interpretations of its geographic extents. The South is considered by many to be a cultural region with a distinct...

     had seen the worst snowfall in over 18 years causing widespread travel disruption particularly around London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...


  • 2008 Alaska - In early February Alaska experienced some of the coldest temperatures for 8 years, with Fairbanks
    Fairbanks may refer to:Places in the United States*Fairbanks, Alaska, city*Fairbanks, California, unincorporated community in El Dorado County*Fairbanks, Mendocino County, California, former settlement*Fairbanks, Indiana, unincorporated community...

     nearing (-50 °F (-46 °C) and Chicken, Alaska
    Chicken, Alaska
    Chicken is a census-designated place in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. Chicken is a community founded on gold mining and is one of the few surviving gold rush towns in Alaska...

     bottoming out at -72 °F (-58 °C), a mere 8 degrees away from the record of -80 °F (-62 °C). The first half of January also brought unusual cold weather and heavy snow to widespread regions of China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

     and the Middle East
    Middle East
    The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...


  • 2007 Argentine cold wave - An interaction with an area of low pressure systems across Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     during the July 6, July 7 and 8 of 2007, and the entry of a massive polar cold snap resulted in severe snowfalls and blizzard
    A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds. By definition, the difference between blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind. To be a blizzard, a snow storm must have winds in excess of with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 400 meters or ¼ mile or...

    s, and recorded temperatures below -30º C. The cold snap advanced from the south towards the central zone of the country, continuing its displacement towards the north during Saturday, July 7. On Monday July 9, the simultaneous presence of very cold air, gave place to the occurrence of snowfalls. This phenomenon left at least 23 people dead.

  • 2007 Northern Hemisphere cold wave - All of Canada and most of the United States underwent a freeze after a two-week warming that took place in late March & early April. Crops froze, wind picked up, and snow drizzled much of the United States. Some parts of Europe also experienced unusual cold winter-like temperatures, during that time.

  • 2005-2006 European cold wave - Eastern Europe and Russia saw a very cold winter. Some of them saw their coldest on record or since the 1970s. Snow was an abundance in unusual places, such as in southern Spain and Northern Africa. All the winter months that season saw temperatures well below average across the continent.

  • 2004-2005 Southern Europe cold wave - All areas of Southern Europe saw an unusually hard winter. This area saw an ice storm
    Ice storm
    An ice storm is a type of winter storm characterized by freezing rain, also known as a glaze event or in some parts of the United States as a silver thaw. The U.S. National Weather Service defines an ice storm as a storm which results in the accumulation of at least of ice on exposed surfaces...

     which have a 1 in 1000 chance of happening. This cold front caused snow in Algeria
    Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

    , which is extremely unusual. The south of Spain and Morroco also recorded freezing temperatures, and record freezing temperatures were observed on the north of Portugal and Spain.

  • 2004 January cold outbreak, Northeast United States - New England was near a record month when frequent Arctic fronts caused unusually cold weather. Boston
    Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

     was one of their coldest in 114 years. Virginia Beach had an unusually long period of below freezing
    Freezing or solidification is a phase change in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point. The reverse process is melting....

     weather. One area of New York
    New York
    New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

     saw 150 inches of snow in a month. Many parts of the western and midwestern area of the country seen the effect as well.

20th century cold waves

  • 1997 Northern Plains cold air Outbreak - Mid January across the Northern U.S. was one of the windiest on record. With a low of around -40 °F in some places, wind caused bitterly cold wind chill
    Wind chill
    Wind chill is the felt air temperature on exposed skin due to wind. The wind chill temperature is always lower than the air temperature, and the windchill is undefined at the higher temps...

    s sometimes nearing -80 °F. Northern parts of North Dakota
    North Dakota
    North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

     saw up to 90 inches of snow. This was one of the most severe cold air outbreaks of the 1990s.

  • 1996 Great Midwest cold outbreak - Late January and early February was Northern Minnesota
    Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

    's coldest short term period on record. The record low of -60 °F was recorded in Tower, Minnesota
    Tower, Minnesota
    As of the census of 2000, there are 479 people in the city, organized into 233 households and 137 families. The population density is 176.8 people per square mile . There are 295 housing units at an average density of 108.9 per square mile...

    . Cities like Minneapolis experience temperatures near -35 °F.

  • 1995 White Earthquake
    White Earthquake
    thumb|400px|Map of Chile showing communes in state of catastrophe during the White Earthquake in red. Communes in pink were declared zones of "agrarian emergency"...

     in southern Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

     - On August 1995 southern Chile was struck by a cold wave consisting in two successive cold fronts. Fodder scarcity caused a severe livestock starvation. Cows and sheep were also buried in snow. In parts of Tierra del Fuego
    Tierra del Fuego
    Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of , and a group of smaller islands including Cape...

     up to 80% of the sheep livestock died.

  • 1994 Northern US/Southern Canada cold outbreak - January 1994 was the coldest month recorded over many parts of the northeast and north-central United States, as well as Southern Canada, or coldest since the late 1970s in some locations. Many overnight record lows were set. Cold outbreaks continued into February but the severity eased somewhat. The cold also extended further south than usual into Texas bringing snowfall and temperatures lower than -20 °F to parts of the state, Florida also experienced cold and snowfall, even once flurries were reported north of Miami and damage to the citrus crop in central Florida was extensive. Detroit, Michigan
    Detroit, Michigan
    Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

     saw their coldest temperature since 1985.

  • 1990 western United States- Extreme cold dropped down from Canada in the second half of December, causing record low temperatures up and down the West Coast, including one of California's most damaging freezes on record.

  • 1989 record cold start to December - In 1989, the central and eastern USA saw one of the coldest Decembers on record. A white Christmas
    White Christmas
    A white Christmas refers to the presence of snow on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere...


  • 1985 Great Western cold air outbreak - February 1985 saw the USA's third coldest temperature of -69 °F in Peter's Sink
    Peter's Sink
    Peter Sinks is a natural sinkhole in northern Utah that is one of the coldest places in the contiguous United States.Peter Sinks is located above sea level, in the Bear River Mountains east of Logan, within the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Due to temperature inversions that trap cold nocturnal...

    , Utah
    Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

    . About a month of severe cold affect a large part of the nation. 1985 became the fourth coldest year on record in the western USA.

  • January 1985 US cold air outbreak - On January 21, 1985, it was so cold that President Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

    's inauguration took place in the Capitol Rotunda. In addition to the cold in Washington, DC, frost was reported in Miami and many Southern cities set all-time record cold or at least came close.

  • 1983 Record cold December USA - USA had its coldest ever Christmas
    Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

     in 1983. Severely cold winds blew in from Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     and about 70% of the month was colder than average. The 1980s saw the USA's coldest Decembers on record. Many locations east of the Rockies broke December cold records on Christmas Eve. In addition to -23F cold, the Sioux Falls area had 60 mph winds bringing wind chills
    Wind chill
    Wind chill is the felt air temperature on exposed skin due to wind. The wind chill temperature is always lower than the air temperature, and the windchill is undefined at the higher temps...

     down to -70F. High temperatures did not even reach -10F in northern Illinois during the days before Christmas.Temperatures dropped below zero on December 15 and remained there for over 9 days at Sioux Falls. Minneapolis recorded an average temperature for the month of 3.7F, the coldest on record.

  • 1982 cold air outbreak - January 1982 was very cold. The 1981 AFC Championship Game
    NFL playoffs, 1981-82
    The NFL playoffs following the 1981 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XVI. Both conference champions had losing records the previous season, the only time this has happened. All four of the AFC playoff games were between teams who had never faced each other in the postseason before...

    , held in Cincinnati was nicknamed the "Freezer Bowl
    Freezer Bowl
    In NFL lore, the Freezer Bowl was the 1981 AFC Championship Game between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals. The game was played in the coldest temperature in NFL history in terms of wind chill...

    " due to the -9 °F temperature and -59 °F wind chill. The following week's events was also known as Cold Sunday
    Cold Sunday
    "Cold Sunday" was a meteorological event which took place on January 17, 1982, when unprecedentedly cold air swept down from Canada and plunged temperatures across much of the United States far below existing all-time record lows....

  • 1970s - In the late 1970s most or all places in the Lower 48 had at least one winter with a memorable cold wave, and the 1977-78 cold wave
    Cold wave of 1978
    The cold wave of 1978 was a weather event that occurred in the United States and parts of North America. The cold wave, which began in December 1977, produced one of the coldest winters on record.-December:...

     was the coldest winter on record in the lower 48, with every state seeing well below average temperatures.

  • 1936 Cold wave - The cold wave of 1936 was the only cold wave of the 1930s impacting North America and the Midwest United States.

  • 1910s - The severe cold outbreak of 1912 caused the longest recorded period of below zero weather. The winter from 1916–1917 until 1917–1918 was very frigid
    Frigid may refer to:* Female sexual arousal disorder or Hypoactive sexual desire disorder, also called frigidity, though this is sometimes seen as an offensive term.* Frigid, someone with a low sex drive/libido or lack of interest in sex...

     across the USA.

See also

  • 1888 Northwest Cold Wave
    1888 Northwest Cold Wave
    In mid-January 1888, a severe cold wave passed through the Pacific Northwest. It led to a blizzard for the northern Plains and upper Mississippi valley where many children were trapped in schoolhouses where they froze to death. This tragedy became known as the Schoolhouse Blizzard, Schoolchildren's...

  • Arctic dipole anomaly
    Arctic dipole anomaly
    The Arctic dipole anomaly is a pressure pattern characterized by high pressure on the arctic regions of North America, and a low pressure on the Eurasia region. This pattern sometimes replaces the Arctic oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation. It was observed for the first time in the...

  • Siberian Express
    Siberian Express
    Siberian Express is a shorthand meteorological term in the United States describing the arrival of an extremely cold air mass of Arctic origins. It does not necessarily refer to an origin in Siberia...

  • Winter
    Winter is the coldest season of the year in temperate climates, between autumn and spring. At the winter solstice, the days are shortest and the nights are longest, with days lengthening as the season progresses after the solstice.-Meteorology:...

  • Polar front
    Polar front
    In meteorology, the polar front is the boundary between the polar cell and the Ferrel cell in each hemisphere. At this boundary a sharp gradient in temperature occurs between these two air masses, each at very different temperatures....

  • Polar vortex
    Polar vortex
    A polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near one or both of a planet's geographical poles. On Earth, the polar vortices are located in the middle and upper troposphere and the stratosphere...

  • Heat wave
    Heat wave
    A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. There is no universal definition of a heat wave; the term is relative to the usual weather in the area...

  • List of snow events in Florida
  • Winter of 1963
  • Year without a summer
    Year Without a Summer
    The Year Without a Summer was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C , resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere...

  • Winter of 2010–2011 in Europe
    Winter of 2010–2011 in Europe
    The winter of 2010-2011 in Europe began with an unusually cold November caused by a cold weather cycle that started in southern Scandinavia and subsequently moved south and west over both Belgium and the Netherlands on 25 November and into the west of Scotland and north east England on 26 November...

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