Bitter Cold of 1936

  • Article by: ACCUWEATHER
  • Updated: February 20, 2011 - 2:25 PM
Bitter winter cold on the northern Great Plains culminated in February, 1936, a notoriously harsh winter for the region.

For one thing, the state of North Dakota set its all-time lowest temperature on February 15, when the mercury bottomed at -60 degrees at Parshall. It is a mark that still stands.

Likewise, South Dakota got its standing record low two days later with a -58 degree reading at McIntosh.

In eastern Montana, the city of Glasgow dipped 59 degrees below zero, its all-time coldest.

Another illustration of the intensity and persistence of the could comes to the historical record by way of Langdon, N.D., where February 20, 1936, marked 41-straight days of sub-zero temperatures.

Who would have thought that, only a few months later, these same areas (and a great deal more) would sear at record levels in some of the hottest weather the nation has ever known. Fifteen states from the Great Plains to the Mid Atlantic set all-time state record highs that still stand.

One of these, oddly enough, was North Dakota, where Steele registered 121 degrees on July 6.

So that makes for 181 degrees of contrast across one state within less than five months.

Story by Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews

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