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Coldest Air Since 1996 For Much of America (flurries as far south as Florida Panhandle?)

6 Jan 2014, 8:22 am

-67F. coldest wind chill ever observed in the Twin Cities: January 22, 1936 (new formula). This would have been a wind chill of -87F using the wind chill formula in use before 2001. Details below.

Trouble on the Tundra

Can you feel colder than numb? Not sure, but a wind chill this low cools your skin and body core temperature down much faster, increasing the risk of frostbite & hypothermia exponentially.
Check in on older friends and neighbors today to make sure they’re staying warm.

Limit or even eliminate time spent outside today. So often media reports of crime, traffic tangles or severe storms exaggerate and hype the risk.

Not today. It’s truly dangerous out there.

Arctic scientists talk of a 30-30-30 Rule. A temperature of -30F with 30 mph winds can freeze your skin in 30 seconds. It won’t be quite that extreme out there today – but close; frostbite certainly possible on exposed skin within a couple of minutes this morning.

The all-time MSP wind chill record is -67F, set January 22, 1936. That’s using the new, warmer wind chill formula. Old, pre-2001 formula? -87.

It won’t get THAT cold, but an air temperature of -25F coupled with 25 mph winds will make it feel like -50 to -55F early this morning.

Call in sick (of winter). I’ll write you a note.

One small silver lining: the mercury has to reach -40F or colder to kill off beetle pests in Minnesota’s North Woods.

RIP bugs.


Ridiculously Cold For Much Of America. On average temperatures bottom out the third week of January, so this rude blast of Siberian air is coming 1-2 weeks earlier than usual. I still believe this will be the coldest of winter, possibly the coldest in nearly 2 decades from the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes, subzero readings as far south as the mountains of northern Georgia, as far east as Baltimore and Worcester.

Record Territory. We'll come close to setting the all-time record low this morning, January 6 - a better chance of setting a record for the coldest maximum temperature tomorrow (previous record is -14F set in 1909). Data: NOAA.

Historic Wind Chill Temperatures In Minnesota. Details from the Minnesota Climatology Working Group: "What is the coldest windchill ever seen in the Twin Cities or Minnesota? The answer can be a little tricky because on November 2001 the formula on how to calculate the windchill was changed. Perhaps the coldest windchill the Twin Cities has ever seen was -67 degrees F with the new formula (-87 degrees F with the old formula) back on January 22nd 1936. The temperature was -34 degrees F with a wind speed of 20mph. All traffic in the Twin Cities was severely hampered and a number of fatalities were caused by the cold. Without a lengthy state-wide wind record, it is difficult to say when was the coldest statewide windchill. There are some candidate dates though besides January 22, 1936. On January 9th and 10th, 1982 temperatures of -30 degrees F and winds of around 40mph were reported in Northern Minnesota. This would translate to -71 degrees F by the new formula (-100 degrees F by the old formula.)..."* more details on how the wind chill is derived from NOAA here.

Extended Period Of Zero Or Below In The Twin Cities: 1873-2014. Here's an excerpt of an interesting post from the Twin Cities National Weather Service: "The mercury has stayed at or below zero for at least four consecutive days on 27 occasions in the Twin Cities from 1873 to 2014. The longest streak is seven days from January 1-7, 1912. For the number of consecutive hours that the temperature has stayed at or below zero, the 1912 stretch is the longest at 186 hours. The last time there was a stretch that lasted longer than 4 days was 142 hours in 1994. More recent stretches include 86 hours from 11pm January 12, 2009 to 1pm January 16, 2009 and 93 hours from 5pm January 31, 1996 to 1pm February 4, 1996. How long would a stretch of zero or below weather be to make the top ten list? The mercury would have to stay at or below zero for at least FOUR full calendar days to have a chance of making the list..."

Flurries For The Florida Panhandle? I vividly remember enough flurries in Miami Beach, Florida to build a small snow man back during the winter of 1976. Locals were stunned, shocked, horrified. This time around enough cold air may pour south for a few flurries as far south as Pensacola and Mobile. Heavier snow, enough to shovel and plow, is expected from near Indianapolis to Detroit as this rush of record-breaking cold arrives. Map: NOAA's NAM guidance, courtesy of Ham Weather.
Coldest Days In Chicago. The Windy City will come very close to setting a record for one of the 3 coldest days every observed in modern-day records, according to NOAA records. Graphic: WeatherNation TV.

Subzero Streaks In Chicago. This may wind up being a Top 10 Subzero Event for Chicago, possibly the longest streak below zero since 1996. Source: NOAA.

Windchill, Temperature, And The Coldest Games In NFL History. Here's a timely recap of some of the coldest NFL games every played, courtesy of the Green Bay office of the National Weather Service: "Let's briefly take a look at some of the coldest games in NFL History with respect to temperature and wind chill values. The chart (above) shows the top 15 coldest NFL games based on the actual air temperature (degrees F) around game time.  As you can see, based on the actual air temperature, the top two coldest games were the 1967 Ice Bowl (Cowboys vs Packers) and the 1982 Freezer Bowl(Chargers vs Bengals). Although the 1967 Ice Bowl was colder based on the actual temperature, some have argued that the 1982 Freezer Bowl was actually the colder of the two games because the winds were stronger during the game, thereby creating lower windchill values.  Let's take a closer look at these two nasty weather playoff games with respect to temperature and wind chill...

* photo courtesy of Steve Burns.



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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

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