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      The Arctic Attack of 1899

      On February 13, 1899 the temperature sank to 40 degrees below zero at Iron Mountain. The reporter there called it a "record breaker." At the same time, just down the road in Norway, many fire hydrants were frozen. Half the town was borrowing water from the hydrants of the other half.

      In Chocolay Township, just south of Marquette, farmers reported the loss of a number of horses due to the protracted cold. In Negaunee, old-timers said they had never seen the Carp River so thickly covered with ice. By mid-February the river was frozen to a depth of two feet.

      The Arctic Attack of 1899 brought misery and inconvenience to a vast portion of the nation. Blizzards raged with bitter cold over the Rockies. The storm was declared â??one of the severest in the history of Idaho.â?? The peak of the cold wave began in Montana on February 11; a thermometer in one town registered a brutal 61 degrees below zero. By the 12th, record cold reached the southern U.S.; Fort Worth, Texas reached 8 below, while at the same time nearly four inches of snow fell in Charleston, South Carolina. The next day, Tallahassee, Florida plunged to 2 below zero; the coldest temperature ever recorded in the sunshine state.

      A memorable cold snowstorm roared up the East Coast on the 14th, burying Washington under 20 inches of snow. After the storm, the snow cover reached an incredible 34 inches on the level. As New Orleans shivered through its coldest temperature ever, a numbing 7 degrees above zero, ice floes appeared at the mouth of the Mississippi; a phenomenon observed only once before in 1784.

      A storm is roaring up the East Coast now. However, itâ??s not as severely cold as it was during the â??99 storm. Here, our snow will slowly taper off tonight into Friday. Overall, it looks cold through the weekend, so the record of consecutive days at or below 32 will be set on Sunday.