The Arctic Cold of 1996

In Historical by Jeff Wilcox

A massive arctic high settled into the upper midwest from January 30th through February 4th in 1996. Temperatures nosedived below zero and stayed there for up to a week in some places. Schools were closed statewide in Minnesota and many schools in Iowa were closed during the peak of the cold spell on the 1st and 2nd of February. Minnesota set an all time record low for the state with -60° at Tower on the 2nd. Elkader in Iowa recorded the states all time record low tying a previous record at -47° also on the 2nd. Numerous sites recorded record lows for those dates. Moline IL recorded record lows for five straight nights (Jan 31-Feb 4th). Cedar Rapids and Dubuque hit record lows on 4 nights, (Jan 31, Feb 2-4), Burlington on 3 nights (Jan 31, Feb 3-4), Waterloo on 3 nights (Feb 2-4), Mason City on 3 nights (Feb 1-3). Waterloo fell below zero at 8pm on the 29th of January when it fell to -2° and wouldn’t get back above zero until February 4th at 3pm when it hit 1°. Numerous days temperatures never got above -10°. However by the 7th, temperatures had rebounded into the 40s and stayed there for 4 days. The cold snap earlier this month was almost as bad as this one, but there was even one worse than this which will be posted on later.