Temperatures through November and early December 1901 had been persistently below normal. 24 days in November had been below normal, and but for a few days very early in December, this pattern continued. However, beginning on December 11th, temperatures began to rise ahead of an approaching weather system. By the 13th, temperatures reached record highs in Columbus when they spiked at 65 degrees. The following day started equally warm with a record high of 65. However, a change was coming. A powerful cold front would move through late on the 14th, and temperatures began to plummet. By midnight, the temperature had dropped all the way down to just 14 degrees, a single day drop of 51 degrees! 1.50″ of precipitation accompanied the frontal passage, with over 4″ wind-driven snow.
On the 15th, the temperature continued to fall, albeit more slowly, and by midnight the reading was -4. This mega-cold front had produced a 69 degree total drop in Columbus, which made it one of the strongest cold fronts ever to move through the Ohio region.
The front would bring a major pattern change. Every day from the 15th-21st featured highs in the teens, which set many daily low maximum records, some of which still stand more than 100 years later.
The winter of 1901-02 was generally cold and snowy in the Ohio Valley, but no future front that winter would come close to December 14-15th of 1901.