Friday, December 08, 2006

Coldest you've ever been?

Well, THAT was a nippy little jaunt to get the paper out of the front yard at 6 this morning. It got down to 18 in Charlotte and 16 in a couple other towns in the area.

I'm a Southern boy -- we played softball Christmas Day one year -- so I don't have that much experience with really cold days. But I do remember one.

Ten years ago I was headed to Chicago for a story and I stopped somewhere in Indiana farm country to get gas. The next day, in Chicago, the wind chill would be 18 below. This night was something like that.

But I thought: I'm just gonna be out of the car for five minutes. No need for a hat or gloves or anything.

Why yes, I am a moron.

In that five minutes my eyeballs almost iced over and my ears almost fell off and my hand just about stuck to the gas nozzle.

It took a while for me to get warm again. Like, April.

So: What's the coldest you've ever been? Add your deep-freeze stories below. I fully expect to hear from the Minnesotans in the house. Try not to start every post with "That was nothing..."

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coldest I've ever been was January 19,1997. My sister and I were in DC for the Clinton inauguration. My cousin happens to be a videographer and we were on top of some building that night filming the fireworks. It was very windy and sooooo cold. Great time though!

Aeryn said...

I went to school at Univ. of Mass- Amherst in Western Massachusetts. In January, with the windchill factor, the tempature could be equivalent to 50 below 0.

People had been cautioned to remain indoors because there were reported cases of hands sticking to car door handles.

I went to the classes I had scheduled dressed in long johns, cords, hat, gloves, scarf and a wool coat. When the wind blew, it cut through my clothes like a knife through butter.

When I got home, I couldn't find my key, my roommates were not home. I walked to the rental office and discovered that the security officer had gone on rounds. I wandered around, in my stupidity, trying to find him in the cold-on foot.

I went home again and one of my roommates had come back. She had to rub my hands and feet so I could get in the tub to warm up.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Colorado Springs where it got as low as 30 below one night. My ears almost fell off just walking from a movie theatrer to my mom's car.

Anonymous said...

Until your nose hairs are frozen...you aren't cold!

Anonymous said...

Until your nose hairs are frozen...you aren't cold!

rebecca said...

Hey just to make you feel bad our furnace is broken, can't be fixed, and we can't afford a new one - you could see your breath in the KITCHEN this morning. The cat asked to be let in as always, then felt the air inside and rushed back outside! Yes, I think it was warmer outside!

Anonymous said...

I was in Boulder CO one December and I walked from the hotel to the shops across the street. Problem is, those shops had doors on both sides of the store and sometimes on three or four sides. I wandered through several shops not paying a great deal of attention to what door I was using until I ended up completely turned around. I headed off in what I though was the direction of the hotel. By the time I came across a little coffee shop I thought I would never be warm again. I walked up to the counter and the girl on the other side of the counter looked at me and said "wow your cold". I agreed and she said "No, you don't understand, I can FEEL the cold coming off of you."

I haven't ever been colder that I can remember.

Anonymous said...

Grew up on a farm in northwest Ohio. Lived back a long lane in 1963 while going to High School. Remember it was -23 or so one morning and I had to go out and milk the cow by hand. Milk froze to the bucket almost instantly. We had no heat in the upstairs bedrooms and used throw rugs for blankets.

Anonymous said...

Well HERE in Alaska
The coldest I ever eperience was -86 below -o
with no wind chill facktor.

butch evans
anch,ak

Anonymous said...

The coldest I have ever been was back in January 1975 going to work in New York City at Merrill Lynch which was across the street from the World Trade Center. As I turned the corner to enter the building the wind started blowing so hard I actually had to hold tight to the flag pole to keep from being blown down the street. My hands were freezing but I knew I could not let go!! Finally, the wind eased up and I ran into the building....Eyes running, hands stinging, and ears burning.

Mark Seeley said...

I had a job interview at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1994 or 1995 during the coldest day in history. The temperature was minus 20 something degrees. The Governor asked businesses to close at 3 pm to conserve energy. I was totally unprepared for the onslaught. No winter coat, no gloves, no hat.

Anonymous said...

Being from Michigan, this isn't cold. Nippy, sure. But not Cold.

Cold is minus 20 with wind chills in the -50 category.

Add two feet of snow on top of that, and you'll see why I moved here.

Anonymous said...

The worse I ever had was the one winter that I spent in Minneapolis. It was so cold that my car froze up on the highway driving home. It wouldn't have been too bad except for the mile that I had to walk to get home. When I was there I was beet red underneath my clothing. It must have been at least 50 below with the wind chill. And I was walking into the wind of course.

Anonymous said...

Coldest I've been in a very long time was when we were moving from our home in upstate NY in early January a few years ago, and it was 22 BELOW zero! That was lots of fun carrying furniture and boxes out the door!

Gerald Witt said...

Boone, N.C., Dec. 2000 during a semseter break.
Single digit temps that night. Hawksnest, the ski mountain where I worked, closed a litte early that night. I stopped at the Wachovia at 321-421 to get some cash and left my car running while I went to the ATM.
It was snowing too.
Sideways.
The wind blew in gusts up to 40 m.p.h.
I kept my coat on, thank goodness, but locked my car door. Doh!
It was a long, difficult walk to the nearby McDonalds to call police. And freaking cold to wait 10 minutes for them to get there. Now I always keep a spare key in my coat pocket.

Anonymous said...

Retired and moved here from Illinois. Coldest I ever saw was a 6-8 week period when temps never got above 0. Probably the coldest was wind chills in the -50 to -60 range. Haven't been cold since I moved here.

M Diddy said...

The coldest I have ever been was in the late 1980's. I was at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ for a game between the NY Giants and the Oakland Raiders (my favorite team). I think I was 13 or 14. Anyway, Bo Jackson was still playing, so that should give the sportsfans a timing perspective.

It was one of the the last games of the regular season, so it was probably the week inbetween Christmas and New Years. The wind was whipping through the stadium, as Giants Stadium is known for. But the temperature was right around 20, and the wind chill knocked that down several more degrees. As my dad remembers, it was closer to 0.

The thing was the wind. For those who are from a northern or basic colder climate, there is a wind that comes through that cuts right through all the layers upon layers of clothes that you are wearing. It, literally, chills you to the bone. There isn't anything you can do about it, except of course go inside. Well, that was the wind this day. We were under one of the overhangs, so we were in the shade to boot. No relief from what little sun there was. That was a brutal day. I have never been that cold since, hopefully never will be again either.

Then to make it worse, the Raiders lost.

Anonymous said...

It was the NFC Championship game in 1997 between Green Bay and Carolina. Game time was 3 degrees with a wind chill factor of -25 and it was bright and sunny. I got a real kick out of trying to eat a deli sandwich before it turned frozen hard and seeing frozen beer foam in guys' faces.

Anonymous said...

i was born and raised in charlotte (yes, one of the few that can claim this) but moved to chicago about a year and half ago to pursue the life of a young professional in a big city. with that comes adjusting to winters in the midwest.

this morning it was 7 degrees with a wind chill of -5. i work on michigan avenue and it's like a wind tunnel during the winter. when i come home to charlotte during the winter it's like a respite... i forget what it's like to have a car, with heat, that pulls right up to the grocery store. how convenient.

it snowed a few inches last week (over a foot in the suburbs) and everyone went about their business.. i was momentarily sad that i had to come into work, but had to remind myself that it comes with the territory.

enjoy the cold weather while it lasts! it makes the holiday season REALLY shine.

peace, love and bojangles...

-S

Anonymous said...

I went to school in Cleveland, OH. One winter we had a storm so bad that the newscaster said if you were outside longer than eight seconds your face would freeze...and classes still weren't cancelled. Luckily, none of the professors showed up.

KenW said...

I believe it was January 1994, Dayton, OH. Actual temperature:
25 below 0
I delivered Sunday newspapers over 4 hours in January 1985 in Lexington, KY and it was 18 below zero.

Gina said...

I moved here from Cedar Rapids, IA in February of 1997. We had a nasty blizzard that winter and five feet of snow piled up outside my door; throw in a windchill of 30 to 40 below and you have my reason for moving to more temperate regions. It gets nasty up there in the midwest!

Anonymous said...

In Dec. of 1989 I traveled from Texas to Chicago to perform a special Symphonic Band concert. It was 16 below zero the morning we traveled from the hotel to the auditorium in a very cold bus. If any of you have ever played a brass instrument, you know how cold that metal can get, not to mention frozen face muscles from the blowing snow. It was the most miserablly cold that I have ever been. But the concert went very well -- even if it took us Texans quite a long time to warm up.

Anonymous said...

I WAS UPSTATE NY.WE WERE SNOWMOBILING,WE TIED 3 SLEDS TO THE BACK OF IT.IT SORT OF LOOKED LIKE A TRAIN.MY UNCLE WAS ON THE LAST SLED HOLDING MY COUSIN WHO WAS ABOUT 5 YRS OLD.WELL HE GOT THE COLD AIR AND ALL THE SNOW THAT WAS THROWN UP IN THE AIR FROM THE OTHER SLEDS.WHEN WE GOT BACK TO THE HOUSE HE HAD SNOW AND ICE FROZEN TO HIS HAIR ,BEARD,EYEBROWS AND EYELASHES.LOOKED LIKE THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN..AIR TEMP WAS 10 BELOW ZERO.......

Anonymous said...

January 1999, 2 below in downtown Philly. I couldn't feel my toes.
I have never been so cold.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a great little farm house in Tennessee. We didn't have "central heat and air," but oil heat downstairs only, and as such, the upstairs was not effected by the woodstove, nor the oil burning heat. All throughout our childhood Brother and I awoke to frozen windows . . . we had little electric heaters to warm the room, but only after you scurried over to turn it on! You're always coldest when the windows are frozen, you're snuggly in bed, knowing you must get up, turn on that heater and get ready for school. Good memories :)

Anonymous said...

In January of 2003 my central heat was broken and it began snowing. The replacement system the HVAC guy ordered ended up being shipped to somewhere in Texas. Nightly I spent the better part of three weeks wrapped in all of the coats and blankets I own along with my 5 Chinese Pugs. I would line the bed with a couple of blankets and then put the kids on the bed huddled together and then I would get in the middle of them, then cover them with more blankets. Each of them still sleep huddled against me to this day...

Feg Winstins said...

Cold as bremin. Light as sleg.

Back in Albuquerque, the cold felt like a bad nickel in your shoe.

Dab sure good to be Southe of the broder.

Anonymous said...

My coldest day was the 1993 AFC Championship Game in Buffalo. In January. Next to Lake Erie. It was easily no more than 5 degrees with that infamous Western NY wind blowing off the lake, snowing sideways, freezing to the bone. We had seats on the top of Rich Stadium. Third to last row.

So... we're about five/six stories up, wind blown snow everywhere, and absolutely freezing. My friend poured hot chocolate down his pants just for some warmth.

The worst part: the Bills won. I hate the Bills.

Anonymous said...

I was in Minneapolis. It was my 2nd winter there. I was walking into work in the morning across this huge open parking lot. When I finally reached the door EVERY BONE IN MY BODY HURT! After being inside for 15-20 minutes I realized it was because I was literally freezing to death! The temp that day -56 . I told my boss if I was still there in the fall to fire me so I'm forced to go someplace else. That summer I moved to Charlotte. :-)

tarhoosier said...

Wind chill is temperature with a press agent. Only effect is on exposed skin. Who exposes skin at zero and below?
As kenw said above, I was a morning paper boy at age 14 in Indianapolis. 18 below zero, pitch dark, and crunchy snow. Numb feet, and I had to stick my gloved hands into my pants to keep the pain under control. That was when I knew why they had boys to deliver the paper. No one else would even consider such a thing for such pay!

Anonymous said...

I am from AZ but I think this still stands as legitimately COLD! In Chicago a few days after Christmas in 1997. Parked at Soldier Field walked to Shedd Aquarium and had to stand in line outside with the wind blowing right off the Lake. I had many layers on, a hat, gloves, scarves, etc. but the wind cut right through it.

Derek said...

Wednesday, January 19, 1994. It was 21 below, and I was out at 6:30 in the morning scraping the ice off my car so I could drive to work. It's the all-time record low temperature for Rochester, Michigan. I also remember it because the Saturday before, I was watching "Hockey Night in Canada" when they showed a bank temperature display from Winnipeg showing -22. I remember thinking, "Boy, I'm glad I'm not there", forgetting the system was likely to head east, which it did.

Anonymous said...

This may seem a bit unusual, but the coldest I've been was in the middle of May. It was about 50 degrees.

???

I was with a group that was whitewater rafting in WV and the water temp wasn't much higher than the air, if at all (supposedly the outfitters won't take you if the combined temps are under 100). By the end of a full day on the river, the whole group was soaked and shivering. Some were turning blue (I remember yawning a lot even though I wasn't at all sleepy - still haven't figured that one out). While frostbite wasn't a threat, hypothermia certainly was.

I've been in 30-below weather but stayed dry. It was rough, but manageable. Fifty degrees and wet is positively miserable.

Anonymous said...

All of these comments make me realize how fortunate we all are to be here.

I've had enough of winter. If this is what we can expect this year, great.

If I want to take my son sledding or skiing, I'll drive to the mountains!

John Presson said...

Tommy

You and your mostly liberal views helped me to FINALLY decide enough is enough .... to cancel my Charlotte Disturber subscription after (21) years.

2007 is going to be a great year without the Charlotte Disturber! and tommy comments....
John Presson
Mint Hill

Anonymous said...

Grew up in Colorado, live in KC now. I lived in Memphis 3 years before I moved here and I used to laugh my head off at the fools who lined up at the grocery store when the slightest hint of a snow storm came in.

Coldest temps I've ever been in was a -50 degree wind chill with real temps at -20 and a 40 to 50 mph gusting wind. I don't know what the steady wind mph was. We had animals to feed and staying inside was not an option. It took us two hours to get it all done. You ain't cold till your nose freezes shut and whatever you have covering your face freezes to your face from condensation. THAT sucks. I had thermals from head to toe, three layers of socks, Sorel boots rated to -25 degrees, several layers of clothes, Carhart coveralls, you wouldn't believe how close to the Pilsbury doughboy we all looked like. It still took several hours to get feeling back in our limbs. Ranch life sure is fun in the mountains of Colorado in wintertime...

Anonymous said...

That was nothing...

I lived in Vermont from 2000 to 2003. I discovered my clothes dryer wouldn't work when it was minus 25 degrees or colder outside. This happened more often than I want to remember.

Anonymous said...

I went to Chicago back in the sixties during Christmas break. I didn't take a heavy coat (my mother told me I would freeze my _ _ _ off, but I was a teen and you couldn't tell me anything)! My father and I got up one morning and decided to walk from the hotel downtown to eat and see a movie. The wind was blowing, snowing, and must have been way below zero. We had to stop in stores every block to get unfrozen. Haven't been that cold since! It warmed up the next day, though. I remember Chicago as a fascinating town: lots to do and see. Would love to go back.

Anonymous said...

Having grown up in the heart of the snow belt, along the Great Lakes in Western NY state, and being a snow skier, being frozen to the bone was commonplace. But ironically, the coldest I ever remember being was in November of 1991, during my long awaited move from New England to Charlotte. We were pulling a utility trailer and the winds eventually loosened some of the tarps. We stopped at a gas station off I-81, north of Roanoake, to make adjustments. Wind was howling, and temps were in low 20's and it felt more like the North Pole than southern VA. That 10 minutes spent fixing the tarps, in that awful wind up in the mountains, was the most miserably cold I ever remember being. Took us all the way to Charlotte to fully thaw out!

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend (wife now) and I drove to Mt. Washington from Cape Cod about 30 years ago in the middle of summer. 75 degrees F at the base of the mountain and -15 at the top. All we had were raincoats and short sleeves. The raincoats got so brittle they cracked and broke.
We spent most of our time in the observation center at the top of the mountain enjoying the view. Shortly before we left, we used the pay phone outside to call our respective parents (pre-pre-pre cell phone days). We then ran to the truck and very carefully skated down the mountain on the snow and ice with the heat blasting even when we got to the base of the mountain.

Aimee said...

I'm from Wisconsin, and the coldest I remember it being in recent years was 4 years ago in January. With wind chill, it was 26 below zero that particular day. Wind gusts were in the mid 40 mph range. Up here, I LIVE for July.

Other than that, this winter has been very pleasant. The coldest it has been since October was 35 degrees. Most of the state still has no snow on the ground and this Christmas was the first one I experienced that we had absolutely NO snow.

Lynn said...

Skiing. Vermont. Coldest day ever. No toes. No fingers. No brain. Very near to hypothermia, but no trip to the hospital. Never ever again.

But that was nothing . . .

joe said...

Coldest I've ever been was in Baltimore in July. Yep, July.

I was out of town on a business project and we had to be outside one night when a cold spell hit. All I had were short sleeves a no jacket. It wasn't -20 pain cold but the fact I was unprepared and knew it made it worse.

The Warehouse said...

Mid January, 1986. Took a weeklong cruise and left Miami where it was mid 70's and very nice. Arrived home in Chicago to a brutal -25 air temp. with at least a -65 windchill. Those first few breaths were very dificult, and of course, we all got sick!!