A brutally cold stretch of weather in Iowa is gradually coming to an end as of February 17th. Our recent stretch of cold weather rivals, but does not beat, the stretch of cold Iowa experienced 25 years ago. The longest stretch ever of temperatures at 0° or lower in Des Moines occurred for 4 days from January 31 through February 3, 1996.
Des Moines recently had a period of 4.5 days that nearly stayed below zero the entire times, except for Saturday afternoon when temperatures went above 0° for a few hours. Des Moines first dipped below 0° at 7:54 PM on Thursday. The city stayed below zero from that time until 12:54 PM Saturday when we rose to 1°. We stayed just above zero until 5:54 PM on Saturday. From Saturday at 5:54 PM through 12:54 PM Tuesday, Des Moines had sub-zero temperatures. We were below 0° for 41 hours between Thursday evening until Saturday afternoon. The second stretch, beyond Saturday afternoon, lasted for 66 hours.
We have had similar sub-zero stretches for Des Moines. Looking back through historical data shows these similar dates:
During that sub-zero stretch, Des Moines hit a few record cold maximum temperature records.
Monday Feb. 13: Cold Max High: 2° – Tied Old Cold Max High: 2° (1905)
Sunday Feb. 14: Cold Max High: -4° – Old Cold Max High: 4° (1936)
Monday Feb. 15: Cold Max High: -3° – Old Cold Max High: -2° (1936)
Des Moines stayed above the record lows during this sub-zero streak of temperatures.
Des Moines has had 11 days in a row where temperatures have stayed below 20°. The streak started on February 6th with a high 11° through Tuesday with a high of 6°. Temperatures are forecasted to stay below 20° through Thursday Feb. 18th taking the streak to 13 days.
11 of the last 12 days, Des Moines has hit sub-zero temperatures at some point each of those days. The only day where temperatures stayed above 0° was Dec. 10th with a high of 12° and a low of 4°.
NOAA’s 8 to 14 Day Outlook has a positive outlook for the last two weeks of February for Iowa showing a likelihood of above average temperatures to wrap up the month.