Although it has not been terribly cold yet this winter, it certainly does get terribly cold in our region at times. Historically, the coldest temperature on average over a winter season is -28 degrees in Fargo and -30 degrees in Grand Forks. Some winters, the coldest temps are in the -10s. Sometimes it gets into the -30s. Temps into the -40s are rare in the Red River Valley, where the flat terrain does not allow for cold air drainage.
In Fargo-Moorhead, the temperature reached into the -40s eight times between 1881 and 1888, but the coldest since has been -39 degrees in 1996. The decade of the 1880s was incredibly cold worldwide, in part because of the massive volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. The Grand Forks record begins in 1893 and so does not include the 1880s, but there have been eleven readings in the -40s. The most recent was on January 30, 2004, when it was -43 degrees. That night in Fargo, the temperature reached -36.