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Record cold temperature for Lake Metigoshe invalidated

No record for Lake Metigoshe

Submitted Photo This was the display on automated recording equipment at Lake Metigoshe State Park one Saturday morning in February. After further review, the National Weather Service has determined the reading was unreliable.

The final answer is – no record for temperature futility for Lake Metigoshe State Park.

It was the morning of Saturday, Feb. 13, when Steve Schepp stepped into the ranger’s office at the park and saw a digital temperature reading of minus 59.6 degrees. The display was on automated equipment issued by the National Weather Service for the purpose of reporting official temperature readings. At the time the region was in the midst of a brutally cold Arctic blast with temperature readings plunging so low as to bottom out many thermometers.

But minus 59.6? Yikes! That rounds up to 60 below zero, which would have tied the all-time record low for the state set at Parshall on Feb. 15, 1936. But not so fast. The NWS wanted to make certain the reading was correct before declaring a tie and entering Lake Metigoshe State Park into the record book.

The decision was made to investigate the accuracy of the recording equipment. That evaluation has been completed and the -59.6 reading has been determined to be erroneous.

“After coordination with National Weather Service observation specialists and the North Dakota State Climatologist, the -59.6 Farenheit temperature recorded on Saturday, February 13th, at Lake Metigoshe, has been invalidated,” stated the NWS.

That it was cold, really cold, that Saturday morning in the Lake Metigoshe region is undisputed. Other thermometers at the State Park bottomed out at 40 below zero. Cooperative weather observers in Willow City and Bottineau had readings of -46 and -45. But -59.6? Who knows?

The equipment that recorded the -59.6 is known as a NIMBUS, which is used at cooperative weather locations throughout the state to record daily maximum and minimum temperatures. However, as the NWS investigation concluded, the aging NIMBUS at Lake Metigoshe State Park was found to have been in service a bit too long to deliver completely reliable data.

So, Lake Metigoshe State Park will be getting a brand new temperature sensor and will have the opportunity to try once again for a memorable, albeit somewhat ignominious place in state history.

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