Thursday, January 9, 2014

Yep, It’s Freezing or Revenge of the Polar Vortex

            This Monday, in Milwaukee, the temperature ranged between -4 and -14 Fahrenheit. Never even made it to zero. ... A local weatherman hung a wet T-shirt outside and it froze in a matter of minutes. Newscasters advised viewers to wear layers, cover all exposed skin and limit the time they spend outdoors.

            Schools and businesses were closed. The Smithsonian’s blog announced that the chill was actually colder than some of the daily temperatures on Mars. So I stayed inside and researched the cold.

            I’m eager to share what I’ve discovered.

            Apparently, a polar vortex is causing this cold snap. A polar vortex is a system of swirling winds that usually sits over the Arctic and holds the chill there. Sometimes the vortex distorts and the winds travel a good distance beyond. Currently they’ve come south and it’s bitterly cold, but… how do our brutal temperatures compare to other chills?

            Here’s a list of 13 of the world’s coldest recorded temperatures.

  1. Vostok Station, Antarctica  -128.6 °F,  on 7-21-1983. [This is not the "chill factor"; it's the actual temperature.]
  2. Amundsen-Scott, South Pole Station, -117.0 °F, on 8-20-2010
  3. Dome A, Antarctica -116.5 °F, in 2005         
  4. Verkhoyansk, in Sakha Republic, Russia, -90°F, on 2-6-1933
  5. North Ice, Greenland, -87°F, on 9-1-1954
  6. Snag, Yukon, -81 °F, on 3-2-1947
  7. Prospect Creek, Alaska, United States, -80 °F, on 1-23-1971
  8. Mohe County, China, -62.1°F, on 2-13, 1969           
  9. Kittila, Lapland, Finland, -60.7°F, on 1-28-1999
  10. Van, Turkey, -51.5°F, on 1-9-1990
  11. Jõgeva, Jõgeva County, Esonia -46 °F, on 1-17-1940
  12. Litvinovice, Czech Republic, -44°F,  on 11-02-1929
  13. Slavnom, Vitsebsk Voblast, -44°F, on 1-17-1940

            Although I’m tempted to add Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the -2°F temperature reading as I write the list, I know it doesn’t rate very cold in comparison. Still, it’s brisk and I’m in the mood to talk about the weather.

            Here's no great surprise:  Five of b-r-r-r-r list occurred in January.

            What’s it like where you live?  Please share.




  1. Dang, that's cold. It reached 0 here, which for southwest Virginia is very cold. The wind chill made it about -20. I think we hadn't had weather that cold in about 20 years.

    1. Yeah, That is cold. I hope it warms soon. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Wow, that's really interesting! And brrrr, those sound like really cold temps. I'm in Central Florida, so the coldest it's gotten is about 33*F. Still, for us that's really cold! Even beyond that, the temps are swinging wildly, going from 70 to 33 to 78(this coming Saturday) in the space of a week, which is really a bit of temp-whiplash for my body. Here's to hoping things get a little warmer for y'all up in the north though! And a little more make-up-your-freaking-mind down here. ;)

    1. Dena,
      I can see how weather in the thirties is cold, cold for Florida. I hope it gets warmer for you, too.

  3. It's 38 degrees and feels balmy after recent below zero temps in the mountains of Southwest VA (about 2 below but with wind), not too far from Country Dew. I remember it being about this cold once in the 80's and I grew up with in near Boston.

  4. Yeah, isn't it strange we remember the unusual and the extremes in weather? I'm glad temperature's are rising in VA.

  5. Okay, those are a lot colder than it's been here, but still. Madison temps on Monday ranged from -9 to -18, with windchills of -30 to -50. No surprise that all schools in our area were closed both Monday and Tuesday. Can't wait 'til we get above freezing this weekend. And how sad is it when we consider 35F "warm", LOL?

  6. You took my breath away with #1. You'd need special equipment - like a space suit - to be comfortable in that.

    We're cold. Not quite bitter right now, but I've got a personal heater running at my feet right now. If your list had gone a bit further, I bet Montana could have ended up on your list. The coldest I can remember was a high of -40 with the wind chill.

    1. Alice,
      I don't know what kind of cold weather gear they wear, but I'm guessing it's like a space suit. I'm glad we're here and not there.:)

  7. Good grief that is C-O-L-D! I live in the south so I doubt I could make it in such frigid temperatures. Now hot and humid weather - that's something we're very used to where I live. Happy Thursday!

  8. Stephanie,
    Yeah, I wonder if any of us could handle such cold. Thanks for stopping by.


    I've experienced Russian cold winds (something that SE Asia is familiar with in the winter months) and that wind just B-I-T-E-S through to your skin and bones.

    The coldest recorded temperature where I live (Kelowna) is −36.1 °C/−33.0 °F that was recorded on December 30, 1968

  10. Really, wow. Thanks amazing. Thanks for letting me know.

  11. Thanks for stopping by!

    I live in central Ontario, Canada and on Tuesday it was -39°C!!

    I am not a winter kinda gal, and seriously want this winter to end already! LOL

  12. Wow! That is cold. We live in a sub tropical area and our temperature never goes below 0, a fact I'm very happy about!

    1. Shelley,
      I'm packing my bags. Can I come stay with you?

  13. Cold is cold. I can't even imagine those 3 digit below temp temps! I didn't know the world could get that cold.