Cold Weather

North Dakotans are always aware of the weather.  When the Associated Press announced that January 10, 1982 was the coldest day the nation as a whole had experienced in the twentieth century, they shivered and agreed that thermometer readings in the vicinity of -30 degrees were cold, and that wind chills of -100 degrees were chilly, but in North Dakota, the readings that day were not even close to the lows posted in 1936, a banner year for cold weather in this state.

In that year, a reading of -47 degrees was posted February 15, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Cooperstown.  That winter also stands out for the duration of the cold wave and the number of extremely cold days.

Records kept by Postmaster T.A. Marquardt in that year show that in the two months of January and February, the readings stayed at or above zero all day only five times.  Low readings of minus thirty or greater were recorded fifteen times, the coldest being -47 February 15.  The temperature did not rise to zero from January 15 through February 19.  The prolonged cold spell was broken by a storm which brought temperatures up to -2 February 18 and finally to zero a couple days later.

The February 18 blizzard, the third major storm of the year, brought road traffic to a standstill and halted the branch line train.

Earlier, it was reported in the Sentinel - Courier edition of February 6 that 42 carloads of coal had been shipped to Cooperstown in January and 11 to date in February, as compared to 30 and 4 the year previous.

On the twentieth of February, the paper reported "To insure having sufficient coal to heat the Central School building, heat was turned down in the gymnasium on Friday of last week.  There will be no activities in the gymnasium during the present week or until a supply of coal arrives, school authorities announced.

"About a two-week supply of fuel was on hand at the high school building at the beginning of this week, while at Central School enough lignite was secured last Saturday to assure heating the grade building the present week."

No sooner had the community partially shoveled out from the February 18 storm than another blizzard struck February 26 with the heaviest snowfall of the winter.

The branch line train was blocked by drifts and abandoned.  When the track was plowed some rails were broken by the plow and the train was saved from derailment by the fast action of a couple of McHenry boys who flagged down the train after seeing the broken rails.

During that winter the state highway plow, which was supposed to serve this area, was out of commission much of the time.  The county snowplow was commandeered by the state highway department and had just completed opening the road from Cooperstown to the junction of highways 1 and 9 north of Rogers, where it broke down in the January 26 storm and was abandoned until the storm subsided.  It was reported that North Dakota roads at that time were more thoroughly blockaded with snow than at any other time since removal of snow from state highways became part of the state highway program.

Eventually the county highway plow was repaired and some roads opened.  By the end of the first week in March much progress had been made, but Highway I between Cooperstown and Hannaford was still blocked, as well as Highways 45 and 65 between Binford, Jessie and Cooperstown.  The March 12 paper said the county plow was still busy trying to get the surplus snow off the roads before the spring thaw.  No further mention was made of snow removal after that date.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 263

 

JANUARY 1936

Date High Low
1 2 8
2 5  
3 20 0
4 22 0
5 0 -24
6 0 -18
7 -2 -27
8 20 -9
9 17 -2
10 20 -8
11 22 -9
12 2 -7
13 3 -20
14 3 -13
15 -3 -27
16 -12 -22
17 -8 -22
18 -5 -35
19 -18 -33
20 -7 -25
21 -6 -24
22 -26 -38
23 -16 -33
24 -7 -40
25 -16 -24
26 -8 -26
27 -10 -30
28 -17 -25
29 -22 -32
30 -12 -29
31 -10 -29

 

 

FEBRUARY 1936

 

Date High Low
1 2 8
2 5  
3 20 0
4 22 0
5 0 -24
6 0 -18
7 -2 -27
8 20 -9
9 17 -2
10 20 -8
11 22 -9
12 2 -7
13 3 -20
14 3 -13
15 -3 -27
16 -12 -22
17 -8 -22
18 -5 -35
19 -18 -33
20 -7 -25
21 -6 -24
22 -26 -38
23 -16 -33
24 -7 -40
25 -16 -24
26 -8 -26
27 -10 -30
28 -17 -25
29 -22 -32
30 -12 -29
31 -10 -29

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 263

News & Events