Frostbite in Minutes: Record Low -75 Wind Chills and -20 Real Temps Expected


The words for the day are "stay inside". Record-breaking low temperatures are on the way.

Accuweather comments 75 below zero? Polar vortex brings life-threatening chill, staggeringly low AccuWeather RealFeel Temperatures.

Long-standing records are poised to fall as the polar vortex sends extremely cold air into the north-central, midwestern and northeastern United States.

States of emergency have been issued in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan due to the extreme cold with many schools and businesses closing until the frigid air loosens its grip on the region later this week.

Minneapolis could break low temperature records originally set back in the 1800s, and Chicago could challenge it's all-time record low of minus 27 F, set on Jan. 20, 1985.


I recall that record low. I drove to Bayfield, Wisconsin to photograph ice formations on Lake Superior. The actual temperature was -40. I do not know what the wind chill was.

I kept my car running all night, locked, out of fear it would not start.

I got up the next morning, well before sunrise, and drove to Madeline Island.

They call it a "seasonal road". In reality it's Lake Superior.

But a few months of the year the ice is solid enough to drive on. Gas taxes support the "road".

Big Bay State park is on the far side of the island. No one in their right mind was anywhere near where I was that morning, but there I was and here is the image.

Big Bay State Park Winter Sunrise

Falling Through the Ice

Shortly after taking that image I fell through the ice, but not completely. One knee slammed into the ice holding me up, while the other leg went completely through.

The knee that hit the ice, my left knee, immediately swelled up and I could barely move it. I had a mile to go on cross county skis to get to my car. My car at the time had a clutch. I drove back to Chicago in two gears, second and fourth to eliminate painful shifting.

It was 6 months before the pain in my left knee was completely gone.

Lessons Learned

A worker friend asked me if I learned anything from the experience. I immediately replied, "Yes, you have to take some chances if you want to get good pictures".

He commented. "Well, at least you learned something".

If you are interested in photography, please check out my photography website Mish Moments.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Comments (34)
No. 1-12

this story detracts from your reputation. you do excellent work on economic topics but why you 're pushing the global warming is non-sense theme is beyond me and you won't even come out and say this is the agenda. everyone else is.

how about some research on ocean temperatures on a decade by decade time series or the size of polar ice caps and glaciers around the world all of which are retreating

There is the climate and there is the weather. They are not one and the same


Keep an eye out for Tesla failures and stranding. The dangers of recharging the batteries in low temperature has largely gone by unnoticed.


Mish BTW there is a video on how to climb out of water after falling through ice. Its something everyone should be aware of just in case. You'll have to google it.


Mish, that was a wise choice to leave your car running. I was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado years ago, and woke up to find -45 degrees. My car definitely would not start, as the 10W-40 oil that I had in it was far, far too thick. Fortunately it was sunny, so I pushed the car into the sun, and opened the hood, and after the sun warmed the dark engine for an hour, it did start.


One of the things we enjoy about winter, is watching it on TV and the Internet,,,,from Arizona. ;-)

ps. My photographer wife is now hooked on Mishmoments. We traveled the country some years back, and she took some nice pics of the fall colors around Bayfield, as well as the Michigan Upper Peninsula.

Nice to take a breather from all the econo-psych from time to time.