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It's been 10 days of below normal cold in the Quad-Cities

It's been 10 days of below normal cold in the Quad-Cities

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Yes, it's been cold; every day since Friday, Feb. 5 — or the past 10 days — has been roughly 20 to 30 degrees below normal for the high temperature, according to Alex Gibbs, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Davenport.

The coldest recording was 13 degrees below zero on Feb. 9, which may prompt some to wonder: When was the last time the Quad-Cities got that cold?

And that's the funny thing about weather, Ray Wolf, meteorologist with the weather service, said. People tend to forget.

The last time the Quad-Cities was that cold was just two years ago — Jan. 31, 2019, when an all-time record low of 33 degrees below zero was recorded at the Quad-City International Airport, Moline, Gibbs said.

Here are other stats and stories for perspective:

• February generally is the Quad-Cities' coldest month. 

• Local temperature extremes — either very cold or very hot — are a variability of weather and not a reflection of long-term trends in climate, Wolf said.

The long-term trend is toward warming. The year 2020 virtually tied the year 2016 as the hottest years on record, with an average global temperature 1.84 degrees warmer than the 1951-80 mean, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, a division of NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The past seven years have been the seven warmest on record, according to the institute.

• While the central United States is experiencing below normal temperatures, eastern Canada and part of Greenland are very much above normal, Wolf said.

• As for snow cover, the Quad-Cities is currently No. 12 on the list for the longest duration of consecutive days with one or more inches of snow on the ground — 47 days, as of Monday.

The longest? That was in 1978-79 when the Quad-Cities had 78 consecutive days with more than an inch of snow on the ground.

• Snow is good for plants, though. Because the snow cover came early, it is insulating the ground and the frost depth is just a couple of inches, Wolf said. That is good for herbaceous (as opposed to woody) perennials.

The bitter cold will come to an end this week. A warming trend begins Wednesday, with highs in the teens, warming to the 20s and possibly the low 30s by the end of the weekend, Gibbs said.

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