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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published February 22 2014

Weather Talk: Hard, crusty snow helps keep temps a bit higher

It has been a very cold winter, yet we have never really come close to setting any daily record lows. February will be ending quite cold, but the chance of Fargo-Moorhead recording a record low this week does not look likely.

Although we are rapidly approaching March, the record lows are still near minus 30 degrees. Back on Feb. 20, 2008, the temperature at Hector International Airport in Fargo dropped to minus 31 degrees, which did set a record for that date. We would likely need a reading that low to break any records with our current cold snap.

One factor that will hinder the temperature from breaking any records is our current snowpack. Although deep, it is crusty and hard and not as conducive to strong, radiational cooling as fresh, powdery snow would be. The hard, crusty snow will help keep the temperature a few degrees higher this week. So although it will likely be a very cold finish to February, the poor condition of the snowpack is keeping us several degrees warmer than it might have been.

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