Near record-setting temperature swing over the weekend

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Here is a map of the temperature difference between the coldest wind chills of the Polar Vortex and the warmest temperatures experienced over the weekend. In parts of southern MN and Iowa, it was more than 100°. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Mesonet

What a wild week we have had--near record lows to round out the month of January and then suddenly this midwinter thaw over the weekend. But for some areas, this was actually one of the largest three-day feels like temperature swings on record.

For much of the Midwest, wind chills dropped anywhere from 40 to nearly 70 below zero. Then, our temperatures surged into the 30s, 40s and 50s over the weekend. All told, some areas saw more than a 100-degree feels like temperature jump over a three to four-day period.

The most drastic areas were in parts of central and northern Iowa that went from wind chills near 50 below zero to temperatures in the middle 50s over the weekend, more than a 100-degree spread. For southern Minnesota, both Rochester and La Crosse experienced a nearly 70°-degree rise in actual air temperatures over three days, which is in the top five all-time largest swings for both cities and largest since 1951.

For the metro, we went from a feels like temp of minus 57 degrees all the way to 39 degrees in just a few days’ time! For those counting, that’s a 96-degree feels like difference in about four days. Amazing!

For parts of Illinois though, it was all time record lows. In fact, a minus 37-degree actual air temperature was reported in the western part of the state, which breaks the record for coldest temperature ever recorded in the state. 

The National Weather Service is working on verifying that temp. If it holds up, it would be the first state record low broken since Minnesota’s was broken by Embarrass' low of 60 degree below zero low 1996.