February 13, 2011

Historic Weather Then and Now

The winter of 2011 will go down in history as the coldest on record--one not likely to be broken for some time. Early February 2011 saw the coldest temperatures ever documented across New Mexico: 34 below zero near Edgewood; 28 below at Taos; and 10 below at Hillsboro.

Cecil Boyd tows a car after a 1918 storm. Tom Ying's restaurant is in the background, the present-day Black Range Museum. Photo Black Range Musuem

According to Reverend Russ Bowen, the official National Weather Service record-keeper for Hillsboro, he documented 10 below on February 3, the lowest temperature since record-keeping started in Hillsboro. Bowen who pastors at the Union Church and has a college degree in meteorology, says that weather records for Hillsboro date to the 1890s, but they were taken sporadically. The record-keeping improved in the 1920s, particularly related to precipitation.  But in 1954, Hillsboro resident, the late Roy Schoenradt, kept a full complement of records in earnest: precipation, highs and lows, dew point, wind and so forth. Schoenradt kept the official National Weather Service records until his death in the 1990s, when his son John took over for a short spell.  Bowen has been the record-keeper since.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." --Herodotus
Photo Black Range Museum

The freeze of 1971 had been the coldest of cold spells for Hillsboro. Bowen says that the low for that event was +1 degree for a low -- 11 degrees warmer than this latest historic event.

Bad weather has visited upon Hillsboro many times, and it was usually floods making headlines. But snow and cold have laid a pallor over town a time or two.  -- Craig Springer

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