Last week’s ice storm got me curious as to what is the lowest recorded temperature in Monroe. Since the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1911, the lowest recorded temperature in Monroe occurred on the morning of February 2, 1951. It got down to -2 degrees. According to an article in the News-Star on that date, it had gotten down to -5 in 1899 (no date was given)! No thank you!
How about this description in the Times-Democrat (New Orleans) on February 13, 1899:
Burning Fences to Keep Warm.
Special to the Times-Democrat
Monroe, La., Feb. 12. – This is the coldest spell of weather this section has experienced since 1853. The weather for the past ten days has been such as the people are not accustomed to, and has caused much suffering, as the town is out of fuel and to-day a large number of Monroe’s inhabitants are without coal or wood, and in some instances are burning fences from around their premises. A norther has been blowing for the past twenty-four hours; the snow is about 6 inches in depth and is the heaviest snowfall in years. The thermometer up to 8 o’clock this morning registered 3 degrees below zero. The weather continues extremely cold.
A Times-Picayune article the same day stated that Monroe was experiencing two famines and in addition to no fuel, they had no water. Calhoun had reported a -3 low too. The famine may have also been caused by cattle dying. Earlier issues stated all the cotton seed had been sold for cash, so the cattle had been turned out to forage for food in the woods and fields. Sleet came and then the snow. Cattle starved and froze to death.
The Farmerville Gazette stated on Sunday the 12th, a “government standard” thermometer there registered a whopping -15! The previous night it had gotten down to -7. They stated, “The thermometer was in a house with cracks big enough for the icy Artic breezes to circulate freely; and hence the record given might be considered the real temperature.” They also reported that chickens and hogs froze to death and men could walk across the D’Arbonne on the ice!
Want to read about the “Great Blizzard of 1899”? Go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Blizzard_of_1899#Louisiana
Addendum: I received a reply to a post I did on the subject to Facebook, from a gentleman who had access to the temperature records of the Calhoun Experimental Station. He stated that Calhoun recorded a low of -13 during that cold snap in 1899!