Get your chill on

Dec 4, 2003
Vostok, Antarctica is reporting -97°F at this hour, with a -105°F dewpoint. Not a record by any means but still pretty darn cold. They're in austral winter darkness and only get a faint brightening on the northern horizon for about an hour each day (the sun remaining about 5-10 deg below the horizon).

What's the coldest temperature you ever experienced... and can positively attest to from a real observation, and without wind chill readings? For me it was -6°F in Illinois in February 1993. I remember driving my Nissan to meteorology classes around dawn, and the car was incredibly stiff. It felt like driving a board.

I can't positively confirm the exact number, but in January of 1996 I'm pretty sure the temp was around -10 degrees, in southen Oklahoma near Healdton. I was on my way home to Norman from my parents' house around 3am, when my driveshaft fell out. Fortunately, I had only gotten about 7-8 miles north of town. I began walking, strapping my winter coat down tight, gritting my teeth, and putting one foot in front of the other. I deal with cold weather better than most people, but this was bone-chilling.

I'd probably gone 2-3 miles when I was passed by a tank truck, headed north. About an hour later, the same truck passed me again headed south, except this time the guy stopped and didn't offer but TOLD me to get in and take a ride. (He'd been on a run the first time he passed on a deadline). He drove me to the mini-refinery/station where he was headed, and I drank coffee while he completed his paperwork, then he took me the rest of the way to my folks' place (another 5-6 miles into town).

Not sure about the exact temp, but I'm almost positive it was between -10 and -15.
-18 sometime in late 90s. It was actually in March too. Sort of odd how it works cause every few years we get a couple week stretch here where it's -5 to -10 at night and up to 0 to 5 during the day. Not untypical to have highs below zero for a few days. It's so enjoyable having a job outside in that crap. At least being in a cold region means summers aren't bad......errrrrr, not. Liking this 'summer' so far however.
Coldest temperature I've experienced was right here in Norman. I observed an air temperature of +8 degrees F on two occasions - once in March 2002 and again in January 2004. I had spent all my life in CA up until 1999 - the coldest temperature I ever experienced there was 14F in December 1990.
My coldest to date was -5 degrees in 1992 in northern Colorado while I was on my way to Washington state and not a motel in sight. There was blowing snow and about two inches of ice on the roadway. It was a very slow and interesting trip to say the least.
My coldest so far (and coldest ever in Knoxville) was -24F on Jan 21, 1985. Was working in ER at the time and was snowed in at the hospital. Think that time I stayed at work for something like 5 days pulling 16 hour shifts to cover for everybody who couldn't get in...I was exhausted, but the overtime rocked!!

Visualize Hot Chocolate

What's the coldest temperature you ever experienced...

For me it was the top of a Tahoe ski area called Incline in the Sierra Nevada. At the top of the lift the temp measured -30 degrees F. Snow was blowing off the cornices and it was so cold that even my Neoprene face mask had actually frozen. It was the first time I ever had that happen. That was the most wicked cold I have ever experienced but once you're up, you're committed to make that damn run anyway even when conditions change suddenly for the worse. That's when you learn to practice visualization!

The topic of cold though feels so nice about now. It is 108 degrees in PHX today and tonight I'm running up the Mogollon Rim (alpine terrain about 1 hr from home) to photograph a wildfire. The thing is generating a pyroCu so large it can be seen all the way from PHX. Think ice.
The coldest I can recall without windchill was this past winter, early January. We hit ambient temp of -25C (-13F). The following day windchills were pushing -40C. And wouldn't you know it, we had one of our wireless access points fail! I had to climb 160' and repair it...ugh...

Be well, TR
Coldest I was ever in was -39 C (and yes I did go outside to play just to say I had).....the only reason I remember the actual temp is because the schools would not close until it hit -40 C (or F for that matter :shock: ). This was when I was in elementary school up in Edmonton Alberta. Although I miss Canada and skiing I am not sure I can say I miss those frigid temps. The coldest I ever skied in was -32 C. It was so cold that you would take one or two runs and then hit the chalet to warm up. The ONLY good thing about those temps is that the lines are sure short :lol:

Graham Butler
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Around Christmas 1983 or1984 it got down to -24F with -60 degree wind chill due to strong winds here in Ohio. Winters here seem to be moderating the last 20 years or so and we only occasionally get down to sub zero readings anymore-knock on wood !

Jon Miller
The coldest temperature I have expereinced was -27F in Chicago. Also in January 1994, in Pittsburgh, the low dropped to -22F. This was just part of a record cold outbreak in western PA. It was so cold, that the Governor of PA closed all the schools in the state to save on energy!! The coldest wind chill I have experienced was also in Chicago duing the winter of 1982 where it was -85F!!!
I remember one of the Christmas's in the mid-1990s when the temperature at my house (near St. Paul, MN), read with an accurate thermometer, got to -30F. With temps this cold, I just HAD to try the 'water freezing instantly' experiment ... Sure enough, if you throw a glass of water into the air, it does freeze before it hits the ground! Had to do that several times, since the sound of nearly instantly-frozen water hitting the ground was pretty neat.

I also remember the night that the MN state cold record was broken -- Tower, way up in the ne part of the state, got to -60F. Well, some of the official thermometers given to the folks up there by the NWS actually froze -- as was the case for the coop observer in Embarrass, MN. Since the thermometer froze, she used another thermometer of similar type and recorded a temperature of -61F. However, since it wasn't taken with the official thermometer, it was not counted, and thus the -60F Tower measurement was the new state record...
I've been through some cold weather, but the most recent one I remember was last Jan when it was -14 on campus. :(
Bloomington, Indiana reached -27F one very early morning last winter. I was not outside or even awake. Coldest wind chill I've ever felt was prolly around -30F in Tomah, Wisconsin, where I spent a few years growing up, and later in the Twin Cities in January of 1997, where my new job (based in S Florida!) sent me on an assignment. Nice of them, eh?