On February 12 and 13, 1899 one of the strongest
cold waves in U.S. history hit the eastern half of the nation. This
great outbreak of Siberian origin produced daily, monthly, and all-time
low temperatures that lasted for decades. In fact, many of the records
still remain nearly 100 years later. For the Gulf Coast, the cold
wave was intense. Mobile recorded -1 on the morning of February 13.
To this day, this is the coldest temperature ever recorded in the
port city. The high temperature that day of 21 remains the coldest
high temperature ever recorded in the city. When these records were
set, the observing station was located in the downtown area of the
city, a short distance from the water front. The official records
for Mobile are now recorded at the National Weather Service office
at Mobile Regional Airport, some six miles west of the downtown area.
The current location usually produces low temperatures of five to
ten degrees colder than downtown. Since the 1899 reading, the closest
a low temperature has been to the record was 3 degrees in January
of 1985. The coldest high temperature since 1899 was 23 on Christmas
Day in 1983.
The official observers log for the
Mobile Weather Bureau office for 1899 is housed at the Coastal Weather
Research Center at the University of South Alabama. Every entry in
the book was made by hand with magnificent penmanship.
of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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