Another record for cold shatters in Lewistown

By: 
DEB HILL
News-Argus Managing Editor
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
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Icicles on a house on Janeaux Street nearly touch the ground after weeks of ultra cold temperatures.

Photo by Miriam Campan

Lewistown recorded the coldest March 3 temperature ever on Sunday, with the official low temperature of -34 degrees, according to the National Weather Service office in Great Falls.

“The old record for March 3 was -28 degrees, set the year recording started, which was 1896,” said Meteorologist Jane Fogleman. “Sunday’s low of -34 at the Lewistown airport is the all time official lowest March 3 temperature.”

That’s the ambient temperature; wind chill for that morning knocked the “feels like” temperature down to -57 degrees.

Lewistown wasn’t the only community feeling the frigid bite of an arctic air mass Sunday. According to the NWS, Great Falls, with -32 degrees, tied its all time low for that date, and Mosby was the coldest spot in the continental U.S., at -44 degrees. Butte broke a record Monday with -28 degrees. Pretty much all across Montana temperatures were about 50 degrees below normal.

After making it through the second coldest February ever, many in Central Montana were looking forward to March for a warming trend. Don’t give up – Fogleman said that warming might be on its way.

“The forecast high for Thursday of this week is 32 degrees,” she said. “It drops a little over the weekend but the high temperatures stay well above zero.”

The likelihood is temperatures will continue to warm up throughout the month of March, Fogleman said, due to days getting longer and the angle of the sun improving.

In the meantime, the National Weather Service warns the low temperatures combined with wind can produce frostbite in minutes. 

According to information on the NWS website, www.weather.gov, “frostbite happens when the body’s survival mechanisms kick in during extremely cold weather. To protect the vital inner organs, the body cuts circulation to your extremities: feet, hands, nose, etc., which eventually freeze. To avoid frostbite, stay inside during severe cold, especially when the windchill is -50°F or below. If you must go out, try to cover every part of your body: ears, nose, toes and fingers, etc. Mittens are better than gloves. Keep your skin dry. Stay out of the wind when possible.”

Drinking plenty of fluids helps prevent frostbite,” the website says, unless the beverages are caffeinated.

“If you suspect frostbite, immediately move inside to a heated location and begin warming the affected areas using warm water or body heat. Do not use hot water or radiant heat such as a fireplace since affected areas can be easily burned. Seek medical attention for severe frostbite.”

Hopefully March, having come in like a frozen lion, will go out like a warm and gentle lamb, putting an end to dangerous low temperatures in Lewistown and around Central Montana.

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