The 1936 North American cold wave
was the only cold wave
of the 1930s. The states of the Midwest United States
were hit the hardest. February 1936 was one of the coldest months recorded in the Midwest
. The states of North Dakota
, South Dakota
, and Minnesota
saw the their coldest month on record. What was so significant about this cold wave
was that the 1930s had some of the mildest winters in the USA history. 1936 was also one of the coldest years in the 1930s.
This significant cold wave started in December in the Eastern half of the USA, when most places in the east were much below average. The Plains states, however, were near average. The state of Florida saw their coldest December on record, with a temperature of 51.9 °F.
Most places across the Midwest
saw a colder than average January. The plains states started to get a taste of what it would be like until March. The state of North Dakota saw an average temperature of -7.0 °F. Most states in the Midwest were very cold in January 1936. The severe winds made windchills in some locations go down to -85 °F. Heavy snow and cold created dangerous conditions to be outside. Many people suffered from frostbite
February was by far the coldest month in the severe cold wave. The states of South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Dakota saw their coldest month on record, and average temperatures were below 0 °F. More heavy snow and severe windchills created very dangerous conditions. Windchills in some locations were near -100 °F. People had to wear up to 7 layers of clothing before going outside. And 2 states in this February saw their coldest temperatures on record, -58 °F in McIntosh, South Dakota, and -60 °F in Parshall, North Dakota.
Early Spring, March 1936, brought severe flooding when temperatures went above freezing. Above average to near average temperatures were recorded through the USA
, except for the Pacific Northwest
, but they weren't hit hard by the cold wave
. Melting snow and ice were a major problem and caused rivers to burst their banks. It ended as the coldest winter of the 1930s. 4 states saw their coldest winter on record, North Dakota
, South Dakota
, and Iowa
. In one town in Iowa
, the average winter temperature was -31 °F below average.