National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Two decades ago from January 30th to February 4th, 1996, record breaking cold temperatures hit the Northland. Numerous cold records fell, including the all time state record lows for Minnesota and Wisconsin. The temperature at the town of Tower, MN plummeted to -60 °F on the morning of February 2nd. This broke the previous Minnesota record low of -59 °F set on February 9th, 1899 at Leech Lake Dam. On February 4th the town of Couderay, WI saw the temperature plunge to -55 °F. This broke previously existing all time Wisconsin record low of -54 °F set on January 24th, 1922 at Danbury.

It was a a frigid stretch of days across the entire Northland as an arctic high pressure system pulled extremely cold air into the region. However, less than a week later temperatures warmed into the mid to upper 40s above zero, a temperature change of over 80 degrees in some locations.