Historic low temp recorded in Orange on Sunday

Staff Writer
Published: 7/14/2022 11:27:50 AM
Modified: 7/14/2022 11:27:35 AM

ORANGE — Anyone who fell asleep with their windows open last Saturday night might have thought they slept through the rest of summer and flipped the calendar straight to October as potential record-low temperatures crept into Orange.

Sunday morning’s temperature captured by the Automated Surface Observing Station (ASOS) at the Orange Municipal Airport was a chilly 47 degrees, the lowest temperature on July 10 in the station’s 26 years of data. While it is the lowest temperature recorded in the area for that time period, National Weather Service Boston meteorologist Kristie Smith said there is no way to know if that’s the coldest temp ever noted there because regionally, the National Weather Service only has long-term historical records for Boston and Worcester, as well as Providence, Rhode Island; and Hartford, Connecticut.

“It certainly was anomalously cold and we all felt it waking up yesterday morning,” Smith said Monday, although she noted it is somewhat of a “weak record” because 26 years of data is a miniscule period of time when it comes to weather.

The average monthly low for July detected by the Orange Municipal Airport’s ASOS is 59.4 degrees. July 2020 and 2021 had average monthly lows of 64.4 and 60.4 degrees, respectively, according to the National Weather Service’s database.

For comparison, the coldest temperature recorded on the same date at the Worcester station was 46 degrees in 1942. And 20 years before that, Smith said the average low temperature for July in the 1920s was in the 40s.

The cold burst of weather, according to amateur meteorologist Dave Hayes the Weather Nut, was a result of cold air rolling off the hot air mass that is currently scorching the Midwest.

“It was simply a shot of cool Canadian air that dove southeast along the northeast flank of a large upper ridge (area of higher-than-average pressures aloft) that has been producing hot temps in the middle of the country,” Hayes wrote in an email.

In simpler terms, Smith explained, high-pressure systems over the Midwest shifted cool air toward the Northeast, which brought unseasonably cold temperatures around the region, including an all-time record low of 36 degrees at Saranac Lake in New York.

Smith said record temperatures — highs and lows — are interesting for the public to look at and can tell you how hot or cold an individual day is, but they aren’t often useful for predicting weather trends. Trends, she added, are compiled into a 30-year dataset that creates the U.S. Climate Normals, which is used “both as a ruler to compare today’s weather and tomorrow’s forecast, and as a predictor of conditions in the near future.”

“In any given year, you will probably have some record highs or record lows,” Smith noted. “Individual records are more of just a point of interest. Even our longstanding records in Boston are only there for 140 years.”

Sunday’s cold relief only lasted a few hours, though, after which temperatures shot right back up into the 80s, where they have remained for the rest of the week, according to the forecast.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.

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