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Frozen to the Saddle: A 19th Century Flash Freeze Investigation

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Monday, 18 July 2011: 11:45 AM
Frozen to the Saddle: A 19th Century Flash Freeze Investigation
Salon C (Asheville Renaissance)
Nancy E. Westcott, Midwestern Regional Climate Center, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL; and M. L. Spinar, L. A. Stoecker, and R. L. Obrecht
Manuscript (1.1 MB)

In December 1936, an extreme cold air outbreak affected much of the Midwestern United States, particularly Illinois. David Ludlum in his “Early American Winters II, 1821-1870” presented a description of this event where above freezing temperatures were replaced by near-zero Fahrenheit temperatures in a matter of hours, as well as anecdotal details of impacts on those who experienced this event. This study uses temperature, winds, precipitation, state of the weather and other available weather data from 34 stations, newly keyed and quality controlled through the Climate Database Modernization Program (CDMP) Forts and Volunteer Observer Database Project to further describe this event as it rapidly traversed the continental United States east of the Rocky Mountains.