MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Something unusual happened at MSP Airport last week, and it had nothing to do with an airplane. The thermometer dropped a single degree an hour for 16 consecutive hours. From 4 p.m. on Jan. 28 to 8 a.m. on Jan. 29, the temperature dropped one degree consecutively for a grand total of 16 degrees. Yes, this is totally obscure and completely arbitrary in any sort of long term way, but local records suggest that this may be the longest such streak.
While the National Weather Service has a very short archive of hourly temperature data from MSP Airport, the creator of the Iowa Mesonet has a much longer private record. He saw my tweet about it and looked into it and couldn’t find anything close to that many hours, dating back to the 70s.
(via Twitter) @akrherz “Neat find! The closest my database of KMSP has are two 12 hour stretches back on 11-12 Sep 1983 and also 8-9 Mar 1996”
Because the National Weather Service doesn’t keep track of these kind of stats, this won’t exactly be an official “record” of any kind, but we can say for certain that it is exceedingly unusual.
So why all the fuss? Well the atmosphere typically works in surges of warmth and cooling as the sun rises and sets. It’s exceedingly unusual to have persistent cooling or warming for such a long period of time when there are so many atmospheric factors that can mess with that process.