National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Arctic Outbreaks to Affect

Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi

(1886 - Present)

Arctic Outbreaks are very cold air masses that typically originate in the Siberian Region of Asia, cross over the north pole into Canada and push south and east into the lower United States. While such air masses occur annually, most do not reach the Gulf South due to steering currents that shunt the coldest air eastward. The strongest outbreaks do reach the Gulf States about every four to five years on average.

Impacts from these strong frigid air masses can be quite large, including unprotected pipes bursting, large fish kills in shallow estuaries, major agricultural losses to citrus trees, tropical foliage and seasonal strawberry crops, increased risk of structural fires due to faulty application of heating devices, and increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from inadequate ventilation of fuel-based heating devices. Economic impacts from Arctic Outbreaks along the Gulf Coast region can be comparable to a Category One hurricane impact. Below are a few of the more notable Arctic Outbreaks during local recorded weather history.

NEW=City of New Orleans, MSY=New Orleans Airport, BTR=Baton Rouge, GPT=Gulfport/Biloxi Area


Noteworthy facts
Jan 9, 1886

NEW 19F on 8th, 15F on 9th; 5 days below freezing from 8th through 13th; briefly 34F on 10th.

Feb 8, 1895

NEW low 16F, High 30F and a trace of snow; BTR low 11F.

Feb 12-15, 1899

The coldest Arctic Outbreak on record! BTR all time low 2F; NEW 7F on 12th, 6F on 13th; Woodville, MS -3F

Feb 13-14, 1905

NEW 23F on 13th, 18F on 14th; BTR low 15F, high 26F on 14th, 16F on morning of 15th.

Jan 12, 1918

BTR measured 1" snow and a low 11F on 12th and 13th; NEW below freezing all day - low 17F, high 32F with a trace of snow.

Dec 20-25, 1929

NEW 5 days below 40F, low 26F on 20th; BTR morning lows 22-25F each day

Jan 18-19, 1930

After an abnormally warm first half of January with temperatures in the mid 70s at NEW, low of 25F on the 18th and 22F on the 19th; BTR low 17F on 19th.

Jan 18-20, 1940

Jan 22-27, 1940

NEW - after overnight high of 66F on 18th, temperatures fell during the day to 28F, which was the high all day on the 19th, morning low 20F on 19th, 22 on 20th. 2nd shot of Arctic air on 22nd with 6 consecutive days of temperatures below 38F at NEW, a low of 22F on 25th. BTR recorded 17 consecutive days with lows 32F or less, 15F on 19th, 17F on 20th, 18F on 21st, 19F on 26th, 16F on 27th; BTR 3.5 inches of snow on the 23rd.

Jan 24, 1948

Though most of impacts were in N LA/N MS, NEW low 21F, high 36F; BTR received 1" snow on the 23rd which remained on the ground through the morning of the 25th. BTR low 15F on 24th.

Jan 31-Feb 1, 1949

NEW temps remain in 30s all day on 30th & 31st; BTR fell below freezing late on the 29th and remained below freezing through Feb 1st, low 20F on 1st.

Feb 1-3, 1951

NEW below freezing all day on 2nd, low 20F on 2nd and 3rd; BTR low 18F on 1st, 13F on 2nd and 3rd.

Jan 9-13, 1962

MSY 5 consecutive days mostly below freezing, 16F/28F on 10th, 14F/26F on 11th, 17F/34F on 12th, low 15F on 13th; BTR 4 consecutive days below freezing with low 10F on 11th, 11F on 12th; GPT low 10F on 11th.

Dec 12-13, 1962

MSY 20F/32F on 12th, 17F/33F on 13th, low 22F on 14th; BTR low 15F on 12th, 11 on 13th; GPT 10F/32F on 13th.

Jan 24-25, 1963

MSY temperatures fell to 21F by midnight of 23rd to a low of 14F on 24th, high 30F, 18F/47F on 25th; BTR late night low of 19F on 23rd, 12F on 24th and 17F on 25th; GPT 9F/30F on 24th.

Dec 23-24, 1963

MSY 25F/30F on 23rd, 23F/44F on 24th; BTR below freezing all day on 23rd - 23F/30F, low 19F on 24th; GPT morning low 20F on 24th.

Jan 9-13, 1982

Area was below freezing all day on 11th with 8 consecutive hard freeze nights. MSY 15F/30F on 11th; BTR 10F/31F on 11th; GPT morning low 8F on 11th.

Dec 24-25, 1983

A long duration freeze event in the area with numerous pipes bursting. BTR had more than 60 consecutive hours below freezing. NEW was below freezing for 3 days. MSY 17F/32F on 24th, 14F/27F on 25th, morning low 18F on 26th; BTR 11F/25F on 25th; GPT 11F/28F on 25th.

Dec 29-31, 1983

MSY temperatures fell to 24F by night of 29th, 20F/34F on 30th, 23F/40F on 31st; BTR 15F/35F on 30th, 14F/45F on 31st; GPT 16F/31F on 30th, 16F/44F on 31st.

Jan 19-22, 1985

MSY - after a high of 53F on the 20th, temperatures fell to 15F by midnight, 14F/31F on 21st, 22F/45F on 22nd, low 26F on 23rd; BTR 11F night of 20th, low 9F on 21st and below freezing all day; GPT 4F/29F on 21st.

Dec 22-25, 1989

Temperatures fell below 32F the night of the 21st and remained below freezing until the afternoon of the 24th. 1" of snow fell at MSY on the 23rd. Four consecutive hard freeze nights in the area. Lake ice formed near shore on area lakes with large fish kills. Morning lows 11F on 23rd, 15F on 24th; BTR 8F on 23rd, 10F on 24th; GPT 9F on 23rd and 24th.

Feb 1-5, 1996

BTR remained below freezing all day on 3rd and 4th, 18F/32F on 3rd, 15F, 32F on 4th, morning low 15F on 5th; MSY 21F/33F on 4th, morning low 16F on 5th; GPT morning lows 15F on 4th and 5th.

Jan 4-5, 1999

GPT coldest morning was 22F on 5th; BTR 24F on 4th and 20F on 5th; MSY 28F on 4th and 5th.

Jan 1-4, 2001

BTR had 4 hard freeze mornings with the coldest morning 21F on the 3rd; MSY had 5 consecutive freeze mornings with 25F on the 3rd and 4th; GPT 22F on the 2nd.

Jan 3-4, 2002

BTR 22F on tthe 3rd, 18F on 4th; MSY 26F on 4th; GPT 23F on 4th

Jan 8-11, 2010

4 hard freeze mornings across area. MSY 24F on 9th and 10th, 21F on 11th; BTR 18F on 11th; GPT 18F-20F each night.

Jan 28-30, 2014

Arctic air intrusion on the 28th was followed by an upper level disturbance on the 29th to produce widespread sleet and freezing rain across the region. Interstates, bridges and schools were closed for two days due to temperatures in the teens to mid 20s, freezing many roadways. BTR had a morning low of 17F on the 30th, GPT 20F on the 30th, MCB 12F and ASD 16F on the 30th.  

Updated 2/4/2014 RJR