November 30, 2004

Cold Minn. Town Without Weather Observer

TOWER, Minn. - You betcha it gets cold up here, but how will we know how cold this year?

This small northeastern Minnesota town that recorded the state's record low in 1996 - a pretty nippy 60 degrees below zero - is without an official weather observer.

The woman who previously held the post left in mid-October; she'd reported Tower's daily temperature and precipitation since 1972.

In the meantime, highs and lows are being recorded at a building in town that stands at a higher elevation than the official weather station. Colder air typically drains into the valley.

Tower, about 35 miles south of the Canadian border, and nearby Embarrass usually vie for Minnesota's daily low, forecasters say. Both towns are generally apart by a degree or two.

Mike Stewart, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Duluth, said the agency is searching for a replacement to fill the spot in the valley.

"It's not going to go by the wayside. It's very important to keep that going there," Stewart said Monday.

Embarrass still has an official observer, Stewart said. The low there was 8 below zero Monday.