It was 75 years ago this week that Spearfish, South Dakota made the record books. January 22, 1943 the temperature there jumped from -4 degrees to +45 degrees in just two minutes - a record which still stands today.

But there's more to the story. By 9:00 AM that morning the temperature in Spearfish had risen to +54 degrees - only to fall back down to -4 degrees in only 27 minutes.

According to reports in the Rapid City Journal newspaper the following day, the abrupt weather change cracked plate glass windows and instantly frosted over car windows, forcing drivers to pull over to the side of the road.

The reason for the abrupt temperature swing was the combination of cold air from the north and east running into warm air from the west. The warmer air pushed the cold air away, but when the winds let up it allowed the colder air to move back in.

Newspapers from all across the country picked up on the story, including Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The temperature swing would eventually make its way into the Guinness Book of World Records - an entry which still stands to this day.

By the way, January 22, 1943 was not the first time Spearfish experienced an extreme weather phenomenon. On January 19, 1921 the temperature in Spearfish soared to +79 degrees - the hottest January temp in South Dakota history.

Source: National Weather Service


See Also: