Its Been Cold - But Nothing Compared To The Past.

Click On The Charts To Enlarge Them.

Historical Climate Records For SE NM.
(Top=  All-Time Lowest High Temps.)
(Bottom= All-Time Lowest Temp.)


*Note: The all-time lowest temperature ever recorded in Artesia, NM is -35F which occurred on February 8, 1933. The high that day was only 7F thus making it the coldest high temp on record. 
“The official temperature registered at the government station here was thirty-five below zero, which reading checked with other thermometers in Artesia regarded as accurate.

A reading of thirty below was registered by the thermometer at the Continental Refinery (Navajo Refinery today) about 4:00 o’clock Wednesday morning. And the fact that the Continental thermometer was housed in a building probably explains the differences in the readings.
Other thermometers over town registered from 30 to 43 degrees below zero. The thermometer registered six and one half degrees above zero Tuesday morning at the beginning of the storm, the temperature dropped to zero during the day.”

Whenever our weather turns unusually hot or cold I always get a lot of questions and comments asking if this current "hot or cold spell" is a new record for us. My answer is usually no because its hard to break our long standing records, especially when it comes to the cold. New daily record high, and low temps occur just about every year somewhere in the local area, and there really is nothing all that unusual about this when it does occur. Long term all-time records are a different matter...and we did set some new long term all-time low temp records with the February 2011 bitter cold outbreak.

Its been cold lately, but this little cold snap pales in comparison to our long standing all-time record cold temps listed above. Many of us will not forget the bitter cold outbreak of February 2011 for a long time coming and for good reason. But even that event fell short of more historic outbreaks of cold here locally in the past 120 years.

How many of you remember the winter of 1987 when it got down to -13F in Artesia, or the winter of 1983?  Go back a little further to 1979, 1978, 1976, and 1972 and you will find some -10F below zero temps also. Over fifty years ago in 1966,1963, and 1962 we had three brutal winters with -15F to -24F temps recorded in the Pecos Valley.

 It got down to -11F in Artesia in 1953, and -15F in Roswell in 1949, and -10F in Tatum in 1948. Then there was 1933...80 years ago, not many of us today were alive then so we have very few "life stories for our locals" to remember this event by. As noted above our local farmers reported temps as low as -43F outside of Artesia, -32F in Tatum, and -34F in Hagerman. Can you image the damages that such an event as this one would cause us here locally should a repeat of these types of temps occur? 

Low temps dropped down to -10F in Artesia in 1918. Then there was February 13,1905 when Roswell set its all-time lowest temperature of -29F, and that was downtown at NMMI. No doubt even colder temps likely occurred in the surrounding open countryside . Roswell fell to -14F in 1895, and was the only climate co-op station in the valley at the time so its hard to know how cold the rest of the area got.

The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!

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  1. I missed this post - a good one! I always surprise people here when I tell them of SE NM's cold events compared to ours', regarding plant hardiness zones. Many here assume Abq is like Wyoming, while Roswell is like Phoenix. Not so...glad we haven't gotten that kind of cold!

  2. Thanks David and I know the feeling. We have a lot of people living in SE NM now that have never experienced some of these epic cold outbreaks in the past.

    I was only 4 and 5 years old during the 1962 and 1963 cold outbreaks, so I don't remember these either. But my parents and grandparents do and the stories they tell are really interesting.

    The main reason Albuquerque hasn't been blasted by these historic cold weather outbreaks in the past is the mountains, its really hard for these shallow arctic airmasses to push west of the Central mountain chain...and when they do they get modified somewhat.

    Having said that though the February 2011 outbreak reminded everybody in New Mexico that we are not immune for mother natures wrath.

    Albuquerque's coldest daytime high temp was 6F that occurred on 1-6-1971, and your all-time low temp is -17F which occurred on 1-7-1971. So you guys are not totally immune up just don't get these events as often as we do.


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