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Cold snap normal N.D. winter weather

The recent cold weather was not unique or even rare in North Dakota weather, according to Daryl Ritchison, interim director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.

"No long-term records set in the state," he said. "It was all perception, the reality was it was just a short cold snap."

The lowest temperatures recorded this week by the National Weather Service at Jamestown were 33 below zero at 8 and 9 a.m. Wednesday. The lowest wind chill was 51 below zero reported at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Ritchison acknowledges it takes a lot to make the record book for cold in North Dakota. The record low for the state is 60 below zero set at Parshall, N.D., on Feb. 15, 1936. The all-time record low for Jamestown was set the same day at 42 below zero.

The record low temperatures in Jamestown for Jan. 30 and Jan. 31 were 40 below zero set in 1918.

"Almost every year, some area of the state gets very cold," he said. "That's just North Dakota winter."

Ritchison said the polar vortex that brought the cold weather exists all year. It is an area of low pressure in the middle atmosphere in the polar region. In the summer, a day or two with highs in the 60-degree range could be attributed to the polar vortex bringing cooler air into the area, he said.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the return of colder than normal weather next week with highs below zero for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The average temperature range this time of year in Jamestown is a high of 21 degrees and a low of 1.