The last time Rochester had seen sub-zero temperatures for five consecutive days, a website called eBay had just been launched and the average price of a new car was $16,300.
Twenty-five years later, the average price for a car is $40,000, eBay has 182 million users and one of the coldest stretches in Rochester history has broken its five-day sub-zero grip. This stretch of Arctic weather tied as Rochester's second-longest streak, a mark set in 1996.
“It’s rare to get them that long of a period,” National Weather Service La Crosse Meteorologist Jeff Byone said. “Pretty rare when you have to say ‘second-longest stretch of sub-zero.’”
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Between Feb. 11 and Feb. 15, the consecutive bitterly cold days were two days shy of tying the record that was set in January 1912, a time where most Americans didn’t even have a car they worried wouldn’t start in the morning.
Byone said this recent cold stretch is comparable to living in Anchorage, Alaska, at this time of the year.
“Usually you would see something like this up in Alaska or northern Canada,” Byone said.
Four of the five days were record-setters themselves, starting on Feb. 12 with a new cold high record of minus 6 degrees when the previous was minus 3 in 1917.
The next two days also set new records with Feb. 13 and 14 having high temperatures of minus 3 and minus 8 degrees. The previous records were minus 2 degrees in 2020 and 1 degree in 1943.
A record low was reached on Feb. 15 with the temperature sinking to minus 23 degrees in the early morning; the previous record was minus 19 degrees.
There’s still another record within reach for Rochester -- the number of consecutive days with the temperature registering at less than 10 degrees. The city is now at 12 days; the record is 15 days set in January 1912. Those 12 days put us in second place, pushing past the previous stretch of 11 days set in December 1886 and January 1887.
The record-breaking run appears to be over. Warmer weather is coming for the upcoming week with temperatures expected to be above 10 degrees for the rest of the week. And dare we say it? The temp may go above the freezing point on Monday.