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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published January 14 2014

Weather Talk: Rebound following severe cold wave not uncommon

Most of us enjoyed the 40-degree day Sunday without question, but a few wondered if it was uncommon to have such a mild day following a serious cold wave.

It is not. In fact, it is quite common for the atmosphere to rebound after a period of deep cold.

The most brutal cold wave in recent history came in 1996. The cold snap began with a severe blizzard mid-January. By the end of the storm, it was 20 below zero (and still snowing). What followed was 19 days in which the warmest temperature was 7 above. Fifteen of those days had a high temperature below zero. All of the nights were below zero, and 13 of the nights were in the 20s and 30s below.

In fact, minus 30 happened on four separate calendar days. The coldest day was Feb. 1 with a low of minus 39 and a high of minus 28. But following the cold, there were five consecutive days above 32, including a balmy 41 degrees Feb. 10.


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