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Alamosa is the coldest place in US

Posted: Friday, Jan 4th, 2013

Monte Vista fifth graders Eli Sparrowhawk, left, 11, and Jonah Schofield, 10, finish up a cold afternoon sledding at the new skate park in Monte Vista on Thursday. The two frequent the skate park with their skateboards in warmer weather. Courier photo by Ruth Heide

ALAMOSA — Local winter temperatures are starting the New Year off bitterly cold, following a year some termed exceptionally warm.

On Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) deemed Alamosa the coldest location in the union with a low of minus 33 degrees F. Some reports consider Jan. 3 the Valley’s coldest day with an average low of minus 1 degree F and high of 32 degrees F.

On Jan. 2, Alamosa also held the lowest temperatures in the country at minus 23 degrees F at 7 a.m., minus 27 degrees F at 1 p.m. and minus 30 degrees F at 7 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Today, the NWS is calling for a high of 16 and a low of minus 18 degrees F in Alamosa.

Over the past week, Boulder, Wyo., Park Rapids, Minn. and Embarrass, Minn. have rallied the Valley with temperatures hovering around minus 25 degrees F, according to NWS data. The nation’s highest temperatures are found in Florida topping 80 degrees F.

In Alamosa, the lowest recorded temperature was minus 50 degrees F in 1948, according to The Weather Channel. The highest recorded temperature was 96 degrees F in 1989.

In January 2012, the lowest temperature in Alamosa was minus 10 degrees F and the highest was 52 degrees F, according to data reports. The temperature hasn’t dropped below minus 30 degrees F in January since 2008 when it reached minus 32 degrees F, which came 20 years after the last time it dropped to minus 31 degrees F in 1988.

Although it is cold today in southern Colorado, December 2012 weather data shows higher than average temperatures common throughout the nation.

According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), new daily record high temperatures outnumbered record lows 92 to one for the first 10 days of December. For the 48 contiguous states, the ratio was an incredible 132 to one since three out of the 10 low records were in Alaska and Hawaii. During the entire week of December 2-8, not a single low temperature record was tied or broken in any of the 50 states. With three weeks remaining in 2012, the cumulative ratio of heat records to cold records for 2012 had reached six to one, more than double the ratio in 2011.

The globally-averaged temperature for November 2012 marked the fifth warmest November since record keeping began in 1880, according to NWS data. November 2012 also marked the 36th consecutive November and 333rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

Most areas of the world experienced higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including far eastern Russia, Australia, the central and western United States, northern Africa, and most of Europe and western Asia, according to NWS data. Meanwhile, central Asia, Alaska, much of western and central Canada, and the eastern United States were most notably cooler than average.

Alamosa’s warm season lasts from May 27 to Sept. 16 with an average daily high temperature above 72 degrees F, according to reports. The average maximum temperature in Alamosa in May 2012 was 73.3 degrees F; 86.5 degrees F in June; 83.7 degrees F in July and 83.1 degrees F in August. Data was not available for the remaining months.

The hottest day of the year in Alamosa is July 11, with an average high of 82°F and low of 48°F, according to reports. In 2012, the high on July 11 was 82 degrees F and the low was 46 degrees F.

The cold season lasts from Nov. 23 to Feb. 22 with an average daily high temperature 42 degrees F or lower, according to reports. The average maximum temperature in Alamosa in Feb. 2012 was 41.5 degrees F and the minimum 7.1 degrees. Data was not available for comparison.

Stay warm

Help protect the body from excessive heat loss:

• Wear several layers of lightweight clothing rather than one or two layers of heavy garments because the air between layers of clothing acts as insulation.

• Cover the head. As much as 50 percent of body heat is lost through the head.

• Wear mittens rather than gloves because the contact of fingers keeps hands warmer.

• Keep dry; wet clothing is 20 times less warm than dry clothing.

• Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes that offer maximum traction.

• Cover the ears, nose, chin and forehead because they are most susceptible to frostbite. Cover the mouth with a scarf to protect the lungs from directly inhaling extremely cold air.

• Use sunglasses to protect eyes from winter glare.

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