North Platte, Nebraska blasted through its old record by 5° with a high of 71°. The previous record was set 130 years ago, in 1880, and tied in 1916 and 1981. North Platte records date back to 1874.
Another long-period record was broken by a wide margin at Valentine, Nebraska, where the high of 71° exceeded the old record of 65° from 1951 by 6°. Records at Valentine began in 1885.
Temperatures in the mid 60s reached into South Dakota, where downtown Rapid City hit 66°, tying the record set in 1916. The airport reading of 67° exceeded the old record of 63° set in 1950 and tied in 1981. Records have been kept at Rapid City since 1888.
8 PM CST Update: Another record report from the National Weather Service:
THE MEDICINE LODGE AIRPORT [Kansas] ALSO SET A RECORD HIGH OF 77 DEGREES. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 75 DEGREES SET IN 1898 AND THEN TIED IN 1934. RECORDS DATE BACK TO 1893.6 PM CST Update: The preliminary record at Garden City is 81° at 4:48. This is 31° above normal for the date.
A surge of early spring heat is tumbling high temperature records across the southern Plains from Texas to Nebraska.
The 86° at Midland, Texas at 3:22 pm local time blasted away the old record for February 16 of 81° from 2006. Midland climate records began in 1930.
At 2:30 local time, Dodge City, Kansas reported a temperature of 76°, which exceeded by 2° the previous record originally set almost a century ago in 1916 and tied 50 years ago in 1961. By 4 pm, the temperature had reached 80°, beating the old record by 6°. Dodge City climate records began in 1874.
Garden City, Kansas also broke its 1961 record by 2° with its reading of 78°. The temperature there continued to rise to 80° by 3 pm. It's held at that level for the next 2 hours. Garden City climate records began in 1948.
Some other records reported by the National Weather Service (old record and date in parentheses):
Sidney NE 68 (66, 1950)Updates to be posted as they become available.
Scottsbluff NE 67 (tie, 1916)
Chadron NE 68 (64, 1982)
Russell KS 73 (71, 1961)
Goodland KS 75 (72, 1991)
Rolla MO 72 (tie, 2006)
Image (click to enlarge): U.S. temperature map as of 4 pm CST, February 16, 2011, shows 60° readings as far north as Wyoming and South Dakota, from Unisys