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Baby it's cold outside – And a heat wave isn’t expected any time soon

By Staff | Jan 18, 2008

ESTHERVILLE–The brief period of above-freezing temperatures at the beginning of the month was just a prelude to this week’s frigid forecast.

According to the National Weather Service in Des Moines, temperatures for the next several days aren’t expected to get out of the single digits above zero–if we’re lucky.

The forecasted high for Saturday is 2 degrees below zero. The overnight low is expected to dip into the lower teens below zero. Combine that with winds out of the northwest between 5-15 mph and it won’t be very cozy stepping outside.

That’s nothing new to January, however.

“On average, January is the coldest month of the winter,” said Iowa state climatologist Harry Hillaker, adding that the first month of the year for the past 50 winters has been the coldest 34 times.

His records show, for Estherville, the 30-year average temperatures for each winter month are:

n January–13.5 degrees.

n December–18.3 degrees.

n February–19.6 degrees.

n March–31.2 degrees.

n November–32 degrees.

“Last winter, however, February was the coldest winter month and the winter before that it was December,” Hillaker said.

It turns out that December has been the coldest month of winter nine times out of the last 50. February comes in third at six times and even March had to get in there once. Hillaker said March 2002 was the coldest month on record for that winter.

The NWS forecast shows today (Friday, Jan. 18) to be the warmest of the next several days with a high of 9. Temperatures, however, will begin falling throughout the day, with the temperature sliding to just 1 degree by 5 p.m.

Winds will be the story tonight, as speeds are expected to be sustained between 15-25 mph with gusts possible of up to 36 mph.

That will create bitterly cold conditions with wind chill factors around 20 degrees below zero. The overnight low is forecast to be 13 below zero.

The story doesn’t get much better until Monday, with a high temperature of 6 degrees forecasted. By Tuesday, high temperatures should be, at least, back into the double digits above zero.

Wednesday looks to be balmy, with mostly sunny skies and a high near 18 degrees.

Contact Nathan Christophel at (712) 362-2622 or editor@esthervilledailynews.com and visit our photo sharing Web site at cu.esthervilledailynews.com