As I write this early morning, it's a -20F (-29C) at the Davenport Municipal Airport and -18F (-28C) at the Quad City International Airport over in Moline, a new record low temperature for this date. While it's not quite as cold here in Davenport as it was yesterday - the temperature at the National Weather Service office at the Davenport airport got down to -22F (-30C). As I've said before, if it's -2F or -20F, it's just cold.
This is the 26th day this winter season that we've had temperatures under 0F (-18C). On over a dozen of those days, the temperature has reached below -10F (-23C). Considering we normally have just 10 days where the thermometer dips below the 0F mark on average during winter, this has truly been an extraordinary winter around here.
And it's been a long winter - we had our first snow on October 22 of last year. Average temperatures have been well under normal for the last four months. And we're inches away from hitting our all-time snowfall during a winter season. While we haven't had many large snowfalls this season - most have been in the 2 to 4 inch range (5 to 10cm) - we've had a lot of those little clipper systems that keep piling up snow depths that I haven't seen in years. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that we haven't been above freezing for over two weeks.
The good thing is that we're not seeing high winds with these low temperatures, so we're not getting the brutally cold wind chills that we were getting back in early January. Still, authorities are cautioning people to bundle up to guard against frost bite.
With all this snow, the moisture content isn't high. Usually, most snows have a 10 to 1 ratio (10 inches of snow equal 1 inch of rain). But because of the cold temperatures and low moisture content, the snow moisture ratio is around 17 to 1. That's going to help when it begins to melt.
And it looks like it will begin to melt starting this week. We could see high temperatures on Thursday above freezing for the first time since late January. And long-term forecasts show that after another small dip in temps at the start of the coming weekend, we could see temperatures moderating into the 40's (F) (5 to 7C) next week. And I'm ready for it. As are millions of others around the Midwest.
Oh, and since I started writing this entry, the temperature at the Quad City airport in Moline has dipped to -21F (-29C). Brrrr.... indeed.