The eastern half of the United States is gripped by intense cold, and William & Mary’s campus is wrapped in snow and ice. Earlier today, the Keck Environmental Field Laboratory registered its lowest temperature ever as the thermometer bottomed out at -16.9˚ C (1.5˚ F). The Keck Lab’s weather station has been operating since 2003, but this is the lowest temperature I’ve experienced in my 19 years of working at the College.
Temperature and pressure data for February 19-20th, 2015 from William & Mary’s Keck Lab.
Yesterday’s high temperature topped out at ~6˚ C (~21˚ F) in the late afternoon, the skies were clear and a brawny high-pressure system was large and in charge (covering most of the east-central US). The overnight forecast for the Williamsburg area looked like it could reach as low as -15˚ C (~5˚ F); cold, but not record cold. By midnight the temperature had fallen to -12˚ C (11˚ F), I went to bed optimistic, but not convinced that a record low was in the offing. What a delightful morning surprise!
Although record setting for the Keck Lab’s weather station, Williamsburg has reached colder temperatures on six previous occasions during the past 63 years, with a record low in January 1985 of -21.7˚ C (-7 ˚ F). This spate of Arctic air looks to continue its hold on eastern North America, and in the process keep the College cooler than normal well into next week.