Birmingham’s Coldest Temperature Ever

| February 12, 2010 @ 10:54 pm | 12 Replies

On February 13, 1899, one of the coldest airmasses ever observed in the U.S. made it all the way to the Gulf Coast. It was 7F in New Orleans and Pensacola. Mobile dropped to a numbing -1F. The reading of -2F at Tallahassee still is the state’s coldest reading ever. Many all time state record lows were observed during the cold wave.

In Birmingham, observations were taken at the old Fountain Heights weather office. According to J.B,, records were kept in a beat up old journal. The official low on this frigid morning was -10F at the weather office. Handwritten notes on the journal for the date indicated that the temperature in outlying areas around the city was -14F.

If the reading had been taken at the current observation post at the airport, it would have surely been –14F. If readings had been kept in Pinson then, (normally coldest in Birmingham area) it is safe to bet that the reading there would have been –17F!

Other Alabama lows that cold morning: -7F in Tuscaloosa, Elba and Opelika; -5F in Greensboro; -11 in Florence; -12 in Decatur; -15 in Oneonta; -16 in Hamilton and Scottsboro and –18 in Valley Head. Greensboro had five inches of snow on the ground.

A major blizzard was spreading a wide swath of snow from Florida to Maine. Snow flurries were reported in Fort Myers, Florida. The blizzard, dubbed the “Storm King,” dumped nearly 16 inches of snow on New York City on top of an 11 inch snowcover. Twenty inches of snow fell at Washington DC and thirty four inches fell at Cape May, NJ. The pressure in the center of the storm was estimated at 966 Mb (28.53 inches), as strong as a major hurricane.

More cold records that fell during the cold wave included these all time records: -8 DAL, -16 AMA, -23 Tulia for the coldest ever in Texas, -13 at LIT, -22F at KC and -15 at Washington DC.

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Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site’s official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site’s severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian

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  1. Dede says:

    I remember the temp fell to -15 F (or so) in Jasper in 1965-there was snow and pipes burst everywhere. I was in elementary school. My Dad and uncle were discussing it lately…

  2. Dede says:

    Think it might have been 1966…

  3. Cameron says:

    Can Someone Give ME An Update On SUNDAY NIGHTS SNOW EVENT? How Much And What Part Of Alabama Will Get It? (im in walker)

  4. Rebecca says:

    No snow for Sunday Cameron–all rain. No worries.

  5. DaveEcholsPhotography (formerly GoldwingDave) says:

    Yes, I’ve changed my name. Gotta advertise where I can :).

    The wife and I went to the Galleria yesterday morning and it was very empty. A few of the stores decided to close at noon. We made it home to Huffman safely but noticed not everyone on the road was playing it safe, still speeding, still changing lanes, and STILL braking on the bridges. Didnt see any wrecks and Im surprised. We came home and played in the snow and built the first snowman either of us can remember (we are in our 40’s). We knew to stay home as road conditions would deteriorate and obviously they did. Had a good evening with each other on the couch watching the olympics.

    I wanted to comment on the earlier post about the rude comments made on the blog when it looked like the forecast was a bust. I for one never called it a bust my only comment was it looked like the system was falling apart around 530-6am. Im no met, Im not even a hard core enthusiast, I was a lay person looking at the radar, thats all. I can only guess that any real rude comments came from people who are generally not happy people to begin with. They are the type to always complain, always find fault in others, and are probably spoiled brats that always got their way when they were young. Therefore when it doesnt snow they go crying to mommy that James and company lied and want her to fix it. Grow up and learn a little bit about weather forecasting snow in the south before you go bother your mommy. I think all forecasters in the area do a great job of forecasting sunny days, rainy days, cold days, hot days, tornadic days, stormy days, windy days, calm days and most any other kinda weather days, its just that when it comes to forecasting snow, its just “aint that simple”.

    Thats just my two cents, and thats what it is worth.

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