Temperature reaches 50s by weekend

A low temperature of -14 degrees Wednesday morning set a new record in Hannibal, according to the water filter plant in Riverview Park.

The -14 temperature, which was recorded at 8 a.m., shattered the previous record of -11 set in 1965.

Another new record was not expected for Thursday. The previous Hannibal record was -13, which occurred on Jan. 31, 54 years ago. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) the low was "only" forecast to drop to -5.

"This is a very unusually cold air mass," said Ben Herzog of the NWS. "The fact we are setting records is not surprising at all."

Quincy tied its record of -13, set in 1965. Elsewhere in the area, Steffenville was -15, Shelbina, -13, Bowling Green, -12, Clarence Cannon Dam, -12, Pittsfield, -10, Saverton, -9, Clarksville, -8, and Vandalia, -8.

The frigid conditions, which prompted schools to be closed and mail delivery to be curtailed in some communities, had not been seen in Northeast Missouri since January 2014.

"It may have actually been a bit colder in many locations than what we are seeing right now," Herzog said.

The frigid air won't likely stick around. By the weekend, the temperature across the area is forecast to be in the 50s. Herzog said such temperature swings are not unusual in the amplified flow weather pattern in which Northeast Missouri currently finds itself.

"We will get very strong northerly winds that help push in this really cold air," he said. "When the northerly winds go away they get replaced by strong southerly winds which pushes us very warm, so we see a lot of this back and forth between cold and warm. What's uncommon is to see it get this cold followed by it getting that warm that soon afterwards."

The temperature seesaw will likely continue in February.

"It looks like it is going to stay pretty warm through early next week," Herzog said. "If you start looking out a week or two weeks, it does look like we might see some more below normal temperatures coming into the area. That is just sort of the pattern that we are in, where it goes cold to warm. It looks like the cold is going to maybe kick back in here in the middle of February or so."

danny.henley@courierpost.com