It’s no surprise that the Ozarks is accustomed to extreme temperature swings. The most extreme temperature change on record happened on November 11, 1911. The event is what is referred to as the Great Blue Norther of 1911.
Picture this: a beautiful 80° day. You are outside, picking up the kids from school in a t-shirt and shorts at 3 p.m. By 3:45, the winds have shifted and the temperature has dropped 40° in less than an hour. It sounds crazy, but it happened.
Saturday, November 11, 1911, marks the only day in Springfield climate records where a record high and a record low temperature exist on the same day. Talk about extremes.
By 2 p.m., a record temperature of 80° was reached. At the 3 p.m. reading, it was still 80°. By 3:45 pm, the winds had shifted in from the northwest, and by 4 p.m. the temperature had dropped to 40°. Temperatures continued to plummet, making it to 20° by 7 p.m. Finally, at midnight, a record low of 13° was recorded.
The temperature continued to fall, and by the next morning, it was in the single digits, making it to a low of 9°.
With a weather swing like the Great Blue Norther, it would be expected to have severe weather along with it. While no tornadoes were recorded in the Ozarks, strong winds were reported.
According to the National Weather Service notes taken by John S. Hazen, the weatherman-in-charge, “…Considerable damage done to buildings, wires and trees. Many windows were blown in and several people were injured.”
All of the Midwest was affected by the storm. Oklahoma City hit a record high of 83° and a record low of 17°. Many areas saw temperatures plummet 50° in one hour.