National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Arctic Blast Breaks Decades Old Records

For the first few days of 2014, arctic air was pooling over the Yukon and Northwest Territories provinces of Canada. Then on January 3, 2014 a 500 millibar (mb) short wave developed over Northwest Territories province and began moving south. In response to this, the arctic air that had been pooling began moving southward. By January 5 this short wave had strengthened and developed into a long wave 500 mb trough that extended from Ontario province in Canada to Texas. As this trough continued to strengthen and move south and east, a strong arctic front swept across the midwest and moved into the southeastern United States.


[500 mb January 3, 2014]
500 mb January 3, 2014
[500 mb January 5, 2014]
500 mb January 5, 2014

During the evening and nighttime hours of Sunday, January 5, a strong arctic front blew across north and central Georgia bringing strong gusty winds and plummetting temperatures. Northwest winds of 15 to 30 mph with higher gusts were common across the region Sunday night and Monday. As temperatures fell into the 20s during the day on Monday, January 6, the strong winds pushed wind chill indices below zero over north and parts of central Georgia. Some wind chill index values were as cold as 25 to 30 below zero across the northeast Georgia Mountains.

[Observed Wind Chills January 7, 2014]
Observed Wind Chill Values Jan 6, 2014

Winds had diminished considerably late Monday night, however temperatures plummetted to some of the coldest readings this area has seen since February 5, 1996. By Tuesday morning, January 7, temperatures ranged from the teens across central Georgia to 5 to 10 below zero across the northeast Georgia mountains. Low temperature records that had stood for over 40 years were broken Tuesday morning. In fact, the low temperature Tuesday morning in Macon broke a record that had stood for 90 years!

[Observed Wind Chills January 7, 2014]
Observed Low Temperatures Jan 7, 2014

Not only were records broke Tuesday morning, with temperatures on Tuesday not making it out of the 20s in most areas, records were set in Athens, Columbus and Macon for the coldest high temperature for that date.

Here are the records that were set....

Low Temperatures for Tuesday, January 7, 2014  (* = new record)
  Atlanta Athens Macon Columbus
Observed Low Temperatures 6* 7* 11* 11*
Previous Record and Year 10 in 1970 12 in 1970 14 in 1924 17 in 1970


High Temperatures Tuesday, January 7, 2014  (* = new record)
  Atlanta Athens Macon Columbus
Observed High Temperatures 26 29* 29* 29*
Previous Coldest High Temp Record and Year 25 in 1884 30 in1905 35 in 1988 34 in 1970