Cold weather context

albany observed temps January 2013 through 1-23

Though it's been a bit nippy lately, this January hasn't been that cold.

Breaking: it's cold out there. The highs for both Wednesday and Thursday are forecasted to be in the teens, and the lows sub-zero.

So that got us thinking about some historical context, and the coldest days on record...

All numbers from the National Weather Service. All temperatures Fahrenheit.

Zero degree days
The Albany area averages about 10 days per winter where the temp hits zero (average for years 1874-2010). The winter with the most zero degree days: 1874-1875, with 32.

Cold waves
The NWS defines a "cold wave" as "3 or more consecutive days with minimum temperatures of zero degrees or less." The longest cold wave on record here: 15 days, from January into February 1961.

Deep freezes
The NWS defines a "deep freeze" as "10 or more consecutive days with maximum temperatures of 32 degrees or less." The longest deep freeze on record here: 36 days, from January into February 1945.

Coldest winter
The coldest winter on record in Albany: 1867-1868, at 17.3 degrees. (Records span 1820-July 2012.)

Coldest temperature
The coldest temperature on record in the Albany area is -28, on January 19, 1971. (Record spans 1874-2013.)

Coldest high temperature
The lowest high temperature on record in Albany (the day in which the high temp for the entire day was the lowest): -8, on February 15, 1943 and December 20, 1942. (Record spans 1874-2013.)

Typical coldest days of the year
The dates January 8-25 have the coldest "normal" average temperature: 22 degrees. If you narrow those dates to only include the days with the lowest normal low (14 degrees) and lowest normal high (30), the span is January 10-January 22. (Normals from 1981-2010.)

Earlier on AOA:
+ 2012 was the warmest year on record in Albany
+ The first, last, most, and least snow

chart: National Weather Service


So when your parents or grandparents tell you tales of "This is nothing, in my day, it was so cold...." they aren't lying.

"The coldest winter on record in Albany: 1867-1877"...not only very cold but very long as well...

Editors: Fixed. Thanks.

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