It is not every day that we get to experience record-setting temperatures, but this past Sunday and Monday we did just that.
According to the Mesonet Climatological Survey, our Tahlequah weather station recorded lows of 2 degrees on Sunday, Feb. 14, and -11 degrees on Monday, Feb. 15. Before this winter storm, the recorded lows for these days were 6 degrees and 15 degrees, respectively. Both previous recorded low temperatures were set in February 1936.
After all that 2020 was, none of us wanted to predict or experience this wonderful 2021 winter weather, but a little perspective can give us some appreciation.
In February 1936, the United States was battling one of its coldest winters on record and many states experienced record-setting low temperatures and amounts of snowfall that have remained unsurpassed until now. It was also the final years of the Great Depression. Almost every state in the continental United States was impacted that winter; some were worse than others, of course. In some locations, temperatures never got above freezing for two months until finally in late February, the thaw came, and temperatures finally began to climb, and snow began to melt away.
Fortunately, we have only endured these extremes for less than two weeks. Imagine if it had only been 6 degrees each day for the past month. Temperatures coming this week are expected to be around 50 degrees, which will make quick work of the snow and ice.
As we move forward, we can say that we have experienced the coldest days on record in Cherokee County, and while we may be dealing with an ongoing pandemic, we have many luxuries that they did not have during the winter of 1936. And for that we should be thankful.
Garrett Ford is an agriculture educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County.