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9 polar outbreaks so far

By Staff | Mar 6, 2014

Source: State climatologist

When the thermometer started reading high temperatures in the single digits above and below zero on Feb. 26, it marked one of the coldest winters in the past 20 years in Iowa.

That assessment came from Dr. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University’s climatologist, who said the polar outbreak Iowa was under that day was the ninth of the winter season.

One has to go back to the 1940s, Taylor said, to find that many polar outbreaks that made it down to Des Moines.

There have been years of colder outbreaks, he said, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, including one with sub-freezing temps that reached Cuba, but 2014 wins for the most number of outbreaks.

Taylor told audiences in Dakota City on Feb. 10 and in Fort Dodge on Feb. 13 that the 2013-2014 winter is the third year of an 18-year trend of volatile winters.

“The weather will resemble the weather we had in the 1950s,” Taylor said.

All this is leading to a Dust Bowl-like year in 2025, he said.

The cold snap that started Feb. 26 kept temperatures to a high of 4 degrees on Feb. 27 and 2 degrees on Saturday.

The lows were -8 on Feb. 26, -7 on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 and -9 on Saturday and Sunday, and -11 Monday.

Accuweather.com, said the warm up was expected to begin by Thursday and continue warming to the first day of spring with highs between Thursday and March 20 to be mostly in the high-30s to high-40s, with two days in the 50s.

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