Frigid Arctic air coming down from Canada broke records in eastern North Dakota on Wednesday, including one that had stood for more than a century. Forecasters said a warmup was in store.
The temperature dropped to minus 33 degrees at the Grand Forks airport Wednesday morning, breaking the record for the date of minus 29 set in 1956, said Al Voelker, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the city.
Devils Lake hit 34 degrees below zero, breaking that city's record for the date of 30 below set in 1939.
Fargo broke a record that had stood for 119 years, with 31 below. The record had been 30 below set in 1889.
"High pressure overhead, fresh snow, light winds, it made for ideal conditions for a nice, cold night," meteorologist John Hoppes said.
All of North Dakota was in the deep freeze early Wednesday, weather service data showed. Jamestown hit minus 29 overnight, Minot minus 25 and Bismarck minus 22.
However, "The arctic high pressure that moved down out of Canada this morning centered right over the Red River Valley," and no record lows were set in the western part of the state, said Vern Roller, a weather service technician in Bismarck.
In Grand Forks, where the normal low for the date was 6 degrees above zero, the wind made it feel as cold as 52 below on Wednesday morning. However, the extreme cold is not unusual for this time of year, Roller said.
"Some of the coldest weather that we've ever gotten in this state was right in the middle of February," he said.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Bismarck, 45 below, was set on Feb. 16, 1936, Roller said.
"That same day it was the coldest ever recorded in North Dakota. That was 60 below at Parshall," he said.
Temperatures were expected to begin climbing today as warmer Pacific air moved in from the west. Billings, Mont., had a high temperature on Tuesday of 59 degrees. "It was real nice out there," Roller said.
Highs in North Dakota were expected to be in the 30s statewide by Sunday, according to the weather service.