Iowa’s All-Time Coldest Wind Chill
The wind chill temperature is a “feels like” temperature. It is how cold people and animals feel when outside.
According to the National Weather Service: As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, driving down skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it FEEL much colder.
A Wind Chill Warning is issued when wind chill values are expected to fall to -30°F or lower. At this level of cold, you can get frostbite in 10-15 min on unprotected skin.
On January 30, 2019 a bitter cold polar vortex swept through the Midwest, bringing record lows to the state. The below chart shows the lowest wind chill that occurred in Iowa that morning:
According to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, the all-time record in Iowa for Coldest Wind Chill occurred on Christmas Eve in Waterloo in 1983 when it was -64*. The day set a record for the coldest HIGH temperature in Waterloo of -15*. The low temperature was -18*.
There are only a handful of times in U.S. records that the wind chill reached -100* or colder. One such occasion happened on January 16, 2004, at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington. The observatory recorded a temperature of -41.8* with wind speeds of 87.4 mph, leading to a wind chill of -102.6*. For a 71-hour period at the site, the wind chill never rose above -50*. Yikes.
Since 2009, the NWS Des Moines has issued a total of 21 Wind Chill Warnings for their coverage area.
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