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-70 Rogers Pass Montana record

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#1
Scott

Posted 09 March 2017 - 08:49 PM

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Does anyone here know much about this record?  There doesn't seem to be much information about it either online or anywhere else I have seen, other than the date and having it listed.

 

The thing about Rogers Pass is that I can find no such weather station at the pass and the one that is fairly close to the pass and has the name Rogers Pass is actually quite mild, especially by Montana standards:

 

http://www.wrcc.dri....iMAIN.pl?mt7159

 

Although Rogers Pass supposedly recorded -70 on January 20, 1954, the next coldest reading I can find in the region is a much warmer -46.

 

 

Although places like West Yellowstone or Hebgen Dam do have extreme winter temperatures at times, the area around Rogers Pass seems much warmer in winter and is surprising that it would hold the Montana (and Lower 48) records.

 

Is there any other weather data available for Rogers Pass?

 

Is it possible that the -70 reading isn't valid?


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#2
Eujunga

Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:02 PM

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I think the forensic zeal of true weather weenies such as yourself probably considerably outruns the meticulousness of the record-keepers of the time.

 

You'd think that something as significant as the all-time record for the Lower 48 would rate a bit more care, but I suspect it's entirely possible that the -70º number came out of someone's a$$.

 

After all, the 136º Libya and 134º Death Valley all-time records stood as gospel for decades before being debunked.

 

Your instincts and reasoning seem sound to me.


Tujunga, CA (15 miles N of Downtown L.A.) - Elev. 1,860 ft.

 

Eugene, OR (5 miles SSW) - Elev. 850 ft.


#3
wx_statman

Posted 12 March 2017 - 05:11 PM

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Does anyone here know much about this record?  There doesn't seem to be much information about it either online or anywhere else I have seen, other than the date and having it listed.

 

The thing about Rogers Pass is that I can find no such weather station at the pass and the one that is fairly close to the pass and has the name Rogers Pass is actually quite mild, especially by Montana standards:

 

http://www.wrcc.dri....iMAIN.pl?mt7159

 

Although Rogers Pass supposedly recorded -70 on January 20, 1954, the next coldest reading I can find in the region is a much warmer -46.

 

 

Although places like West Yellowstone or Hebgen Dam do have extreme winter temperatures at times, the area around Rogers Pass seems much warmer in winter and is surprising that it would hold the Montana (and Lower 48) records.

 

Is there any other weather data available for Rogers Pass?

 

Is it possible that the -70 reading isn't valid?

 

That record always seemed a bit suspect to me as well. 

 

That airmass was pretty remarkable if not short lived, but -70 is a bit of a stretch IMO. Helena hit -36, which was within 6F of its all-time record low, and Summit hit -53. Those are very impressive numbers that suggest that a reading in the -60 to -70 range was possible in an ideally situated cold-sink location somewhere in Montana. However, the location itself raises questions. Just how well was that station that recorded -70 sited? Its pretty telling that Rogers Pass 9NNE has never been below -46, although in a period of record that only extends to 1964. Exactly what was the documentation of that -70 reading? The equipment? The siting? It seems as though that reading was the product of a short-lived station, which may not have even qualified for official status under modern standards, had it been subjected to a formal review of the sort that the SCEC does today. 



#4
snow_wizard

Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:10 PM

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That record always seemed a bit suspect to me as well. 
 
That airmass was pretty remarkable if not short lived, but -70 is a bit of a stretch IMO. Helena hit -36, which was within 6F of its all-time record low, and Summit hit -53. Those are very impressive numbers that suggest that a reading in the -60 to -70 range was possible in an ideally situated cold-sink location somewhere in Montana. However, the location itself raises questions. Just how well was that station that recorded -70 sited? Its pretty telling that Rogers Pass 9NNE has never been below -46, although in a period of record that only extends to 1964. Exactly what was the documentation of that -70 reading? The equipment? The siting? It seems as though that reading was the product of a short-lived station, which may not have even qualified for official status under modern standards, had it been subjected to a formal review of the sort that the SCEC does today.


9 miles in the West could have the same effect on cold potential as 90 miles in a flat area. You would have to think the thermometer was either located in a bowl (sink) or the reading is bogus.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2017-18 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 0.0

Coldest Low = 32

Lows 32 or below = 1

Highs 32 or below = 0

Lows Below 20 = 0

Highs Below 40 = 0

 

 


#5
Scott

Posted 12 March 2017 - 08:34 PM

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 It seems as though that reading was the product of a short-lived station

 

 

Other than the -70 reading, I haven't been able to find any record of a station existing there.

 

fixedw_large_4x.jpg

 

The sign at the pass itself says that the reading was taken at a nearby mining camp, but I haven't been able to find anything on the weather station there (if there was one).

 

Maps show three historic mines in the general area.  One of them is on Sunset Mountain and it wouldn't be -70 there.  One is in Chambers Gulch, which also seems like an unlikely candidate.   There is an old mind along the Blackfoot River at 5300 feet elevation.   If the -70 really is genuine, maybe this is the location?   A reading near the river might be possible, but I can't see it on a hill or at the pass.   Still, by Montana standards, the area around Rogers Pass seems to have mild winters in comparison to other areas.


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#6
wx_statman

Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:03 AM

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Other than the -70 reading, I haven't been able to find any record of a station existing there.

 

fixedw_large_4x.jpg

 

The sign at the pass itself says that the reading was taken at a nearby mining camp, but I haven't been able to find anything on the weather station there (if there was one).

 

Maps show three historic mines in the general area.  One of them is on Sunset Mountain and it wouldn't be -70 there.  One is in Chambers Gulch, which also seems like an unlikely candidate.   There is an old mind along the Blackfoot River at 5300 feet elevation.   If the -70 really is genuine, maybe this is the location?   A reading near the river might be possible, but I can't see it on a hill or at the pass.   Still, by Montana standards, the area around Rogers Pass seems to have mild winters in comparison to other areas.

 

That's good info. That reading would definitely not be considered official today. Its pretty amazing what used to pass for credible temp observations back in the old days.


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#7
Front Ranger

Posted 13 March 2017 - 04:44 PM

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If this reading was indeed bogus, then the -66 recorded at Yellowstone National Park on 2/9/33 (both in WY and MT) would be the coldest temp on record in the continental U.S.


Cool anomalies soothe the soul.


#8
Scott

Posted 13 March 2017 - 07:50 PM

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If this reading was indeed bogus, then the -66 recorded at Yellowstone National Park on 2/9/33 (both in WY and MT) would be the coldest temp on record in the continental U.S.

 

 

Assuming one discounts Peter Sinks of course.

 

Anyway of interest, the -66 was actually recorded in Montana at the Riverside Ranger Station, near West Yellowstone, but it was very close to the Wyoming line.  Because Yellowstone is mostly in Wyoming, the reading often gets credited to Wyoming, but it was actually just in Montana.

 

The coldest temperature in Wyoming is actually -63 at Moran on February 9 1933, the same time the Riverside Ranger Station hit -66.



#9
Front Ranger

Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:07 PM

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Assuming one discounts Peter Sinks of course.

 

Anyway of interest, the -66 was actually recorded in Montana at the Riverside Ranger Station, near West Yellowstone, but it was very close to the Wyoming line.  Because Yellowstone is mostly in Wyoming, the reading often gets credited to Wyoming, but it was actually just in Montana.

 

The coldest temperature in Wyoming is actually -63 at Moran on February 9 1933, the same time the Riverside Ranger Station hit -66.

 

Ah, true. Why isn't that considered official again?


Cool anomalies soothe the soul.


#10
Scott

Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:40 PM

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Ah, true. Why isn't that considered official again?

 

 

Most sources do consider the reading to be official, but it is sometimes controversial since it is in an unpopulated location.



#11
Scott

Posted 26 May 2017 - 06:12 AM

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Using the link in the hidden stations thread, here's some more about the Rogers Pass reading and station.

 

http://www.wrcc.dri....iMAIN.pl?mt7156

 

The station lasted just over three years between May 1 1953 and June 30 1956.

 

The station was located at 47* 4" and 112* 22".

 

After the -70 reading, the next coldest reading recorded at the station was -37, recorded the day before.   During the three year period, the record low in February was -35 and the record low in December was -29.  Other than the supposed -70, at least during the period of record, no temperatures dropped below the -30's.

 

Also interesting is to compare the lowest readings at Helena for the same winter months.

 

Lowest reading at Rogers Pass

 

December 1953:  +7

January 1954:  -70

February 1954:  +8

 

December 1954:  -4

January 1955:  -1

February 1955:  -18

 

December 1955:  -29

January 1956:  -17

February 1956:  -35

 

Lowest reading at Helena

 

December 1953:  +10

January 1954:  -36

February 1954:  +11

 

December 1954:  -8

January 1955:  -13

February 1955:  -11

 

December 1955:  -15

January 1956:  -25

February 1956:  -31

 

Other than the -70 reading supposedly recorded at Rogers Pass, the other low readings at Rogers Pass are fairly comparable to those of Helena.

 

Other than the -70 reading, Rogers Pass isn't that cold of a location, especially by Montana standards.   Here are the average lows for each month during the time period.

 

Average Low reading at Rogers Pass

 

December 1953:  17.8

January 1954:  0.7 (3.1 if the -70 is excluded)

February 1954:  23.7

 

December 1954:  17.1

January 1955:  12.6

February 1955:   5.4

 

December 1955: 6.2

January 1956:  9.5

February 1956:  8.8

 

Average Low reading at Helena

 

December 1953:  22.1

January 1954:  5.2

February 1954:  25.9

 

December 1954:  12.9

January 1955:  11.9

February 1955:  9.8

 

December 1955:  8.9

January 1956:  7.1

February 1956:  7.5



#12
wx_statman

Posted 26 May 2017 - 09:48 AM

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I just looked through the daily records for that Rogers Pass station. Yeah, that -70 really sticks out. All of their other readings seem to be in line with other stations in western MT for that three year period, except the -70. In fact, a lot of their other readings seem too warm considering that this was supposed to be a cold sink location near the continental divide (one that's capable of hitting -70!). For instance, why would they only drop to -27 on 3/25/1955 when even Helena hit -30 on that morning? Helena is certainly not a cold spot by western MT standards, and this was a record-breaking late season cold wave that dropped the nearby Summit station to -39. And we have to somehow reconcile this data with 1/20/1954...just doesn't add up. 


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#13
Scott

Posted 29 May 2017 - 10:31 PM

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I just looked through the daily records for that Rogers Pass station. Yeah, that -70 really sticks out. All of their other readings seem to be in line with other stations in western MT for that three year period, except the -70. In fact, a lot of their other readings seem too warm considering that this was supposed to be a cold sink location near the continental divide (one that's capable of hitting -70!). For instance, why would they only drop to -27 on 3/25/1955 when even Helena hit -30 on that morning? Helena is certainly not a cold spot by western MT standards, and this was a record-breaking late season cold wave that dropped the nearby Summit station to -39. And we have to somehow reconcile this data with 1/20/1954...just doesn't add up. 

 

The -70 doesn't seem plausible for all of the reasons above, but the -27 at Rogers Pass vs the -30 in Helena might be.  

In Colorado, there are cold air sinks near the Continental Divide here as well.   Usually they are colder than the other valleys, but if there is even a slight breeze near the Continental Divide, they will sometimes end up warmer.  

Occasionally the cold air masses are shallow and don't reach the upper elevations.  This is more common east of the Divide, but happens occasionally on the west side too.  This doesn't seem to be the case here though since Summit is at a similar elevation than Rogers Pass and hit -39.



#14
wx_statman

Posted 30 May 2017 - 12:14 AM

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The -70 doesn't seem plausible for all of the reasons above, but the -27 at Rogers Pass vs the -30 in Helena might be.  

In Colorado, there are cold air sinks near the Continental Divide here as well.   Usually they are colder than the other valleys, but if there is even a slight breeze near the Continental Divide, they will sometimes end up warmer.  

Occasionally the cold air masses are shallow and don't reach the upper elevations.  This is more common east of the Divide, but happens occasionally on the west side too.  This doesn't seem to be the case here though since Summit is at a similar elevation than Rogers Pass and hit -39.

 

I don't doubt it. Its just a little strange that this Rogers Pass station acted like a non-cold spot for a number of the cold waves during its three-year duration. They did, however, hit -34 in November 1955, -35 in mid-February 1956, and also 0 in May 1954. Those are certainly cold spot-type numbers. Maybe it does have to do with local wind conditions at night during any given cold wave?

 

I would have been curious to see what this station would have accomplished in 1959 had it still existed (-55 at Summit in January, -53 at Lincoln RS in November).


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#15
erik1974

Posted 26 September 2017 - 07:57 PM

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            I wonder if the 'Rogers Pass' and the 'Lincoln 14 NE'  could very well be the same station with a different name??  Rogers Pass ran for a few years (1953-56) and then Lincoln 14NE from about 1957-62 or so.  The Lincoln 14NE seems colder than the Lincoln RS to the west so maybe it could qualify as a cold spot.   Also, if a station could pull -53 in November, then -70 in January is definitely possible.  Now I am starting to question both readings, but the -53 in November definitely seems credible.  



#16
wx_statman

Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:41 PM

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            I wonder if the 'Rogers Pass' and the 'Lincoln 14 NE'  could very well be the same station with a different name??  Rogers Pass ran for a few years (1953-56) and then Lincoln 14NE from about 1957-62 or so.  The Lincoln 14NE seems colder than the Lincoln RS to the west so maybe it could qualify as a cold spot.   Also, if a station could pull -53 in November, then -70 in January is definitely possible.  Now I am starting to question both readings, but the -53 in November definitely seems credible.  

 

They're pretty close to each other, but they're different stations. Their locations are (were) a few miles apart on Highway 200.