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Weather Talk: Can you imagine an 80-degree temperature swing?

Our weather has had its ups and downs lately. But can you imagine a temperature swing of 80 degrees within a few days? In February 1996, our region was deep into one of the coldest periods of weather of the 20th century. Feb. 1, Fargo-Moorhead officially had a high temperature of 28 below and a low of 39 below zero (not wind chill). This temperature is remarkable because it is the closest the temperature in Fargo Moorhead has been to 40 below since the 1880s. However, after a few more days of subzero weather, there came a thaw. On Feb. 10, the afternoon high reached 41 degrees, a full 80 degrees warmer than it had been 10 days before. More cold weather would follow that winter, but the brutal cold of early February would not be repeated. In fact, such temperatures have not been observed here since.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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