1924 topped weird temp changes

Seems like we've had a lot of big temperature swings lately, with really warm days followed by cold days or vice versa. That got me to wondering what the largest recorded temperature swing locally has been from one day to the next.

— Ron, Medford

There has been some odd weather recently, Ron, with some unusual temperatures. Seven of the first nine days of February had high temperatures in the 60s, topped by 67 degrees Feb. 2.

As for big temperature swings, the largest recent one we could find was Dec. 5-6, when the high temperature went from 45 degrees on the 5th to 63 degrees on the 6th, for an 18-degree difference.

But that difference is tiny compared to the record you inquired about. Thanks to Jay Stockton with the National Weather Service office in Medford and his compatriot Charles Smith (whom Stockton describes as "one of our coding whizzes"), we have an answer for you.

In querying the NWS database, Smith came up with two very interesting high-low differences.

Specific to your question, the greatest one-day change in maximum temperatures occurred in 1936, when the high temp fell from 79 degrees on March 20 to 46 degrees March 21, a drop of 33 degrees.

That's a lot, but even more amazing to us was the largest single-day temperature change. On Sept. 1, 1924, the morning low temperature was 38 degrees and the afternoon high was 97 degrees. That's a whopping 59-degree change in a matter of a few hours.

Considering the rather modest HVAC systems that existed then (think woodstoves and blocks of ice), the Medford residents of 1924 must have gone through at least a few wardrobe changes to keep up with those climbing temps.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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