North-central Montana the nation's weekend cold spot
Havre officials report few problems from frigid blast of arctic air
December 9, 2013
The frigid arctic air blowing over north-central Montana set some new records - it held the coldest spots in the lower 48 states at times - but Havre officials say it was mostly a quiet weekend.
"You know, I think the cold pretty much kept everybody inside," Interim Havre Police Chief Gabe Matosich said this morning, though Havre Fire Chief Dave Sheppard said his department had to respond to some problems caused by the cold weather, but no fires or people suffering from exposure.
It did cause the Havre High School speech and debate team canceling its tournament set for Saturday - Havre school officials agreed they didn't want schools' students traveling at near-40 below temperatures.
However, the Havre invitational wrestling tournament, which started Friday and had several schools already staying in town overnight, continued. Results of that tournament are in the sports section of today's Havre Daily News.
And records were set. National Weather Service reports Havre set record lows for Friday and Saturday, at minus 38 and minus 39, respectively, and other locations were even colder.
Great Falls National Weather Service meteorologist Gina Loss said a report from southeast of Chester showed a temperature of minus 46 and lows in northern Hill and Liberty counties were at minus 44. Wind chills were below minus 60.
Chinook also set the record Saturday for its coldest high temperature for the day, at minus 14. That beat its previous record of minus 13, set in 1972.
Chinook was the coldest spot in the lower 48 states Sunday with a low of minus 42, and tied for that dubious distinction Saturday with Jordan and Mizpah, in Custer County, with a low of minus 42.
The Weather Service forecast for the rest of the week in this region calls for highs in the teens and 20s - and near the freezing mark Thursday - with lows mostly in the teens, although a below-zero low is forecast Tuesday night. A chance of snowshowers also is in the forecast for the next few days.
Sheppard said the cold-related calls his department responded to over the weekend included a couple of alarms for sprinkler systems caused by frozen or broken pipes and some false alarms for carbon monoxide detection and natural gas odors.
"This cold weather, I think, affects everything," he said.
But Havre Public Works reported not having cold-related calls over the weekend, and Matosich said things were relatively quiet for the police.
The Salvation Army emergency services director, Trina Crawford, said she was not aware of people needing extra help due to the cold, adding that the Havre Police have the Salvation Army vouchers to help people in need over weekends.
She said most people probably have help or places they can go when the temperatures drop.
"I believe we live in a community that cares enough about each other" that people help people in times of need, Crawford said.