Weather Talk: It's not as cold as it used to be
Although our region did experience about three weeks of cold weather starting around Christmas, it was never unusually cold. The lowest temperature during that stretch was minus 24 degrees on the morning of New Year's Eve.
Over the past three decades, the average coldest temperature of winter has been around 27 below zero. The last time it was as cold as the minus 30s here in Fargo-Moorhead was the morning of Jan. 2, 2010.
Historically, extremely cold temperatures have correlated well to winters with deep snow. This is due to the reflective and insulating qualities of a deep snowpack.
But extremely cold temperatures have been in a general decline over the past few decades, which encompass many very snowy winters.
Fargo's urban heat island certainly has an effect. But the overriding fact is that we are just not getting those extremely cold masses of air as frequently as in times past, and when it does get cold, it usually is not quite as cold.