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any old timers remember the winters of the 60s or before?

Posted by davidrt28 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 11:44

Trying to get a feel for the pattern of cold winters in the eastern US for the past 100 or so years.
Certainly three periods stand out: the legendary winter of 1899 still holds the crown as the single worse regional cold spell in modern history: downtown DC's all time record low of -15F, Baltimore's of -7F, and Florida's only subzero record at -2F. In terms of overall periods, the two leaders are the early 1930s, and 1977-1985, ending with the locally famous Reagan inauguration freeze, one of the last times central DC went below 0F. In 1932, College Park, Maryland hit an astonishing -26F! Much closer to DC than Dulles airport's -18F all time record low in 1984. Baltimore hit -7F again in 1934.
Other periods I can find: the winter of 1961 has records for several areas and dates. 1994 and to some degree 1996. 1918, 1905, and 1957 were cold, too. Generally speaking, you hardly see any cold records for the 20s, 40s, and 60s other than 61.

However here in the upper Bay region of Maryland, an elderly neighbor who moved here in 1960, tells me winters used to much colder. That people used to skate on a local pond that I haven't seen anywhere close to fully & safely frozen at all in the past 8 years. Also her recollection doesn't exactly jibe with what I know about the history of camellias at the National Arboretum. Many plants planted in the 50s and 60s died in the winters of the late 70s. So were winters before the 1990s colder on average, but, other than the big freezes of the late 70s and mid 80s, less prone to severe sub 0F freezing?

Once you click on a location, the "Daily Summary Stats" are particularly useful, in additional to the general temperature summary page.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: any old timers remember the winters of the 60s or before?

Since this forum is kinda slow, I reposted to an existing thread on the trees forum called "Zone confusion".

RE: any old timers remember the winters of the 60s or before?

I cannot remember the exact years, but I remember much colder winters with more snow than we currently have been having. However I also remember a Christmas Eve going outside in just a sweater in 1954 or so. In the 40's It seems I was always sledding and now my grandchildren hardly ever get the chance! So is this global warming or just the natural change that has always been?

RE: any old timers remember the winters of the 60s or before?

This posting seems prescient, given the winter we've had. This is the coldest winter I've experienced in my 15 years in MD; It got to -2 here last month.

RE: any old timers remember the winters of the 60s or before?

I lived in Salisbury on the Eastern Shore back in the 80's and we ice skated on ponds many winters.

RE: any old timers remember the winters of the 60s or before?

Yep, Annebert...I had a sinking suspicion we were overdue for a bad winter. I wish I hadn't been correct.
Alhough 1994's cold spell was terms of the overall winter, over all of the CONUS, some NOAA scientists are saying this was the coldest winter for 35 years.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Mon, Mar 31, 14 at 20:14

RE: any old timers remember the winters of the 60s or before?

As someone who was born in Washington DC I certainly remember walking down Wisconsin Avenue during the blizzard of 66. The Reagan inauguration freeze was also quite memorable. But I don't consider myself old.... yet.

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