Baton Rouge's "Cold" Winter - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Baton Rouge's "Cold" Winter

QUESTION:

When was the last time Baton Rouge experienced a high temperature for the day of 32 or lower? I think it might have been December 1989. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Interesting question about the last time BR had a "High Temp" of 32°F? The last time was just a few days ago (Feb 3, 2011), but obviously days like that are uncommon.
 
Using the archives of LSU's Southern Regional Climate Center, I found 28 dates since the January 1930 (see below) when the high temp for Baton Rouge was 32° or below -- 28 dates out of 81 winters (starting with the 1930-31 winter).
 
But what is also interesting is that there were 9 winters with more than one day with a high of 32° or below ... but only 7 winters (including the current winter) with ONLY one day with a high of 32° below ... almost suggesting that if it happens once in a winter, it's very likely to happen a second (or third) time.
 
Most (but not all) of the multi-occurrence winters came as back-to-back days, showing that when those bitterly-cold Arctic outbreaks arrive, they tend to have short-but-extreme "staying power."
 
Your guess for December 1989 was on target: although there have been days with highs of 32° for each of the last two winters, you then have to go all the way back to 1996 for the next date with a high of 32°, and back to December 1989 for a high under 32°F.
 
And this has been a very chilly winter ... undoubtedly playing havoc with heating bills.
 
For the period of Nov 1 through Feb 9, we're currently suffering through the 8th coldest winter since 1930-31 (81 winters), and the coldest winter in 10years (2000-01). And the first 10 days of February are likely to rank #2 in terms of the coldest first ten days of any February (since 1930), just behind Feb 1-10, 1985.
 
Bundle up ... and stay warm!
 
Jay Grymes
WAFB Storm Team

12/17/1932    29
12/18/1932    30
01/22/1935    26
01/19/1940    28
01/23/1940    32
01/26/1940    32
01/28/1948    32
01/30/1949    32
01/31/1949    31
02/01/1951    31
02/02/1951    27
01/28/1961    30
01/10/1962    23
01/11/1962    21
01/13/1963    32
12/23/1963    30
01/02/1979    32
01/11/1982    31
12/24/1983    29
12/25/1983    25
01/21/1985    32
02/02/1985    27
12/22/1989    27
12/23/1989    25
02/03/1996    32
02/04/1996    32
01/08/2010    32
02/03/2011    32

Total number of occurrences: 28

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