World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Winter 1985 Arctic outbreak

Article Id: WHEBN0025475932
Reproduction Date:

Title: Winter 1985 Arctic outbreak  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Orange County, Florida
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Winter 1985 Arctic outbreak

A map of the United States detailing the record low temperatures for various cities on January 21, 1985.

The Winter 1985 cold wave[1] was a meteorological event, the result of the shifting of the polar vortex further south than is normally seen.[1] Blocked from its normal movement, polar air from the north pushed into nearly every section of the eastern half of the United States and Canada, shattering record lows in a number of areas.[1] The event was preceded by unusually warm weather in the eastern U.S. in December 1984, suggesting that there was a build-up of cold air that was suddenly released from the Arctic, a meteorological event known as a Mobile Polar High, a weather process identified by Professor Marcel Leroux.[2]

Meteorological synopsis

From Sunday, January 20, to Tuesday, January 22, 1985, the polar vortex, coupled with a large ridge of high pressure, moved polar air into the United States as far south as Florida.[1] Unlike most cold air systems, a pattern of self-modification did not immediately occur, i.e. seasonable temperatures were absent for a number of days, a rarity in forecasting.[1]

The Arctic air mass started moving into the United States on the evening of January 19 and the morning of January 20. An early victim of the air mass was the city of Chicago, which recorded a record low of −27 °F (−33 °C), coupled with 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) winds to produce a wind chill of −77 °F (−61 °C), also never recorded before. The wind chill calculation was adjusted in 2001, which would make the value about −60 °F (−51 °C) on the new scale.[3] St. Louis saw a low of −18 °F (−28 °C). Pittsburgh woke up that morning to find a low of −18 °F (−28 °C), the coldest morning since 1899.[4] In Cincinnati, the morning temperature of −21 °F (−29 °C) tied for the fourth-lowest minimum temperature in the city's history, outdone by a cold mass the year before and a blizzard in 1977.[5] Cleveland fell to −18 °F (−28 °C), which was at the time a record.[6] Memphis recorded a low of −4 °F (−20 °C), setting a record low for that day. The coldest temperature in the contiguous states on Jan. 21 was −24 °F (−31 °C), in the unlikely location of Akron, Ohio.[7]

The mass moved east and south during the day on January 20, resulting in frigid air for most of the [1] 7 °F (−14 °C) in Jacksonville, Florida,[1] and 10 °F (−12 °C) in Gainesville, Florida[10] (coldest since 6 °F (−14 °C) in 1899). Atlanta saw a low of −8 °F (−22 °C), setting a record for the month of January and for the 20th century, missing by just one degree the all-time record (since 1879) set in February 1899.[11] Even Miami, whose average low in late January is 60 °F (16 °C), recorded a low of 34 °F (1 °C) on the 21st and 30 °F (−1 °C) on the 22nd, both record lows for the date, the latter being one of only 10 times the city has been that cold since 1895.[12][13]

Ferocious cold in February 1985 set two more state record lows in the Mountain West. Utah's −69 °F (−56 °C) was the second-coldest temperature ever recorded in the "lower 48" states, just above Montana's record of −70 °F (−57 °C) in 1954. Colorado's −61 °F (−52 °C) broke the old record of −60 °F (−51 °C), also on February 1.

Impact and aftermath

The cold wave brought human fatalities, deaths of wild and domesticated animals, crop losses, and infrastructure damage to homes, municipality and industrial sites. At least 126 deaths were blamed on the cold snap.[14] Some 90 percent of the citrus crop in Florida was destroyed in what the state called the "Freeze of the Century."[15] Florida's citrus industry suffered $1.2 billion in losses ($2.3 billion in 2009 dollars) as a result of the inclement weather, which killed nearly every citrus tree in central Florida, and forced the industry permanently into southern Florida.[16] The public inauguration of President Ronald Reagan for his second term was held in the Capitol Rotunda instead of outside due to the cold weather, canceling the inaugural parade in the process. (Because Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday, Reagan took a private oath on January 20 and the semi-public oath on January 21.)[17]

U.S. state record lows set in 1985

Source: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0113527.html

  • Colorado: −61 °F (−52 °C) Feb 1
  • North Carolina: −34 °F (−37 °C) Jan 21 atop Mount Mitchell
  • South Carolina: −19 °F (−28 °C) Jan 21
  • Utah: −69 °F (−56 °C) Feb 1
  • Virginia: −30 °F (−34 °C) Jan 22

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cold enough for snow, and more's on the way
  2. ^ A Lesson in Meteorology: Mobile Polar Highs
  3. ^ January Weather Trivia Statements
  4. ^ NWA Pittsburgh statistics
  5. ^ RECORDS FOR CINCINNATI
  6. ^ Cleveland Normals and Records for January
  7. ^ USA Today, January 22, 1985, p. 12A
  8. ^ CENTRAL PARK NEW YORK CITY RECORDS 1869-2008
  9. ^ DAILY NORMALS AND RECORDS FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY FOR WASHINGTON DC
  10. ^ All-Time Extremes (Gainesville)
  11. ^ Average Weather for Atlanta, GA
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ http://voices.yahoo.com/all-time-record-hottest-coldest-temperatures-ever-12098217.html
  14. ^ ARCTIC CHILL GRIPS SOUTH AS COLD EBBS IN NORTH
  15. ^ 'FREEZE OF THE CENTURY' DAMAGES 90% OF THE CITRUS CROP IN FLORIDA
  16. ^ Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters
  17. ^ Inauguration Weather: Record Cold for Reagan
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.