Top 10 coldest winters for Rowan County

An Arctic air mass settled in over the region, bringing temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below normal. It feels even colder when the wind picks up.

The National Weather Service recorded a low of 7 degrees in Rowan County overnight, close to the record low of 4 degrees that was set in 1963, according to the State Climate Office of North Carolina.

Temperatures are forecast to be in the 40s during the day over the weekend, with nightly lows in the 20s and 30s.

Another cold front is forecast to hit again next week with highs around freezing and nightly lows dropping into the low teens.

But cold is a relative thing. While temperatures are well below average this week, Jeff Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., area, says there have been much colder winters, statistically. Winters have generally been warmer than usual for about the last 20 years, making it surprising for many when winter weather thatís closer to average rolls in.

Also, December was warmer than usual, while January is running 2.7 degrees below average.

Taylor has been reviewing longterm records for the region this week, and they show that while itís cold, there have been colder periods in the past. The charts below ó one for Salisbury and the other for Charlotte ó show the coldest average temperatures for Dec. 1 to Feb. 28:

Salisbury (1954-2013)

1: 35.7 (2010)

2: 36.1 (1977)

3: 36.5 (2011)

4: 37.2 (1964)

5: 37.3 (1988)

6: 37.4 (1963)

7: 37.5 (1987)

8: 37.6 (1984)

9: 37.9 (1958)

10: 38.1 (1970)

Charlotte (1878-2013)

1: 36.9 (1977)

2: 37.6 (1905 & 1963)

4: 37.8 (1936)

5: 38.3 (1904 & 1970)

7: 38.4 (1902)

8: 38.6 (2010)

9: 38.7 (1969)

10: 38.8 (1978)

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