“Cold wave” is a phrase that commonly is heard this time of year. As used by the National Weather Bureau, it means a rapidly falling temperature in the next twenty-four hours. These falling temperatures would require substantially increased protection for agricultural, industry, commerce and social activities. This means there are two factors that influence a cold wave: the rate the temperature falls, and the low to which it falls. The obviously varies from region to region and season to season. What constitutes a cold wave in Minnesota would be quite different than a cold wave in Florida. For the majority of people, it is simply a period of very cold weather – and each of us can decide what is COLD!
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library