The Famous Cold Outbreak of 1899

Bill's Blog

The pic. above is a snowball fight on the steps of the Florida State Capitol Building in Tallahassee. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the state of Florida occurred at Tallahassee on the morning of Feb. 13, 1899 when they dipped to 2 below zero – the only time a below zero temperature has ever been recorded in Florida. State record low temperature were set at Minden, Louisiana with an incredible 16 below zero and Mulligan, Ohio at 39 below zero. All 3 of those records still stand today.

A gigantic Arctic high pressure center formed in Canada. The central pressure reached 31.42″ at Swift Current, Manitoba. The high plunged south into the U.S. Practically all areas east of the Rockies felt the extreme cold.

Wind Chill Readings during the cold outbreak of Feb. 1899

It was said that there was scattered frost in Cuba. New Orleans woke up to 4″ of snow on the ground, a stiff north wind and a temperature of 2 above zero. Ice actually flowed out of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico.

A blizzard moved from the Gulf of Mexico up the East Coast, dropping 20.5″ of snow on Washington D.C. and 34″ on Cape May, New Jersey.

In Grand Rapids the temperature dipped to -23 on 2/12 and -24 on both the 13th and 14th. Grand Rapids did not get above zero for four days! The high temperatures from the 9th to the 13th were -3, -6, 0, 0, and +2. The -6 still stands as the coldest high temperature ever in G.R.

Other low temperatures during that cold snap: Baldwin -49, Hard -41, Manistee -38, Big Rapids -36, Hart -35, Hastings -31, Muskegon -30, Ionia -25, Lansing -24, South Haven -22 and Three Rivers -20. Later that spring, Grand Rapids reached 90 degrees on April 30th, the only time that G.R. has reached 90 in April.

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