To be honest the ‘global’ in the title might be a slight exaggeration but it was a freaky weather event nonetheless in fact the freakiest weather event.
Imagine bundling up to get the newspaper on an early morning at 7:30 a.m. with the temperature at a frigid -4 degrees.(−20°C).
Just two minutes later as you are letting your dog out to stretch his paws on the lawn, you notice that the frigid air you walked out the door into is not so frigid anymore. You look at your thermometer and the temperature has shot up to 45 degrees.
Spearfish holds the world record for the fastest recorded temperature change. On January 22, 1943 at about 7:30 a.m. MST, the temperature in Spearfish was −4°F(−20°C).
Which an investigator concluded was “the result of the wavering motion of a pronounced quasi-stationary front separating Continental Arctic air from Maritime Polar air”, possibly contributed to by a chinook wind. After peaking at 54 °F at 9:00 am, the temperature was back at 4 below zero by 9:27. At Rapid City, temperatures rose from 5° to 54° in twenty minutes (9:20am – 9:40am), so rapidly that buildings were experiencing winter on one side and spring around the corner.
The Chinook wind picked up speed rapidly, and two minutes later (7:32 a.m.) the temperature was +45 °F (+7 °C) above zero. The 49 °F or 27 °C rise in two minutes set a world record that still holds. By 9:00 a.m., the temperature had risen to 54 °F (12 °C). Suddenly, the Chinook died down and the temperature tumbled back to −4 °F or −20 °C. The 58 °F or 32.2 °C drop took only 27 minutes.
The sudden change in temperatures caused glass windows to crack and windshields to instantly frost over.
Extreme winter maxima in the district are remarkably warm for its latitude and on January 19, 1921 Spearfish reached a remarkable 79 °F or 26.1 °C, not only the hottest January temperature in South Dakota on record,but almost certainly the hottest temperature recorded in or near mid-winter anywhere so far from the equator.
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