After two weeks, C-U pokes its head up just a bit above freezing

After two weeks, C-U pokes its head up just a bit above freezing

CHAMPAIGN — Yes, you just lived through 14 complete calendar days of subfreezing temperatures in Champaign-Urbana.

But that's not the half of it.

The record for longest streak of complete days with subfreezing temperatures in Champaign-Urbana is 36, stretching from Dec. 29, 1976, to Feb. 2, 1977.

During that period, there were 16 days with low temperatures below zero, including a -20 reading on Jan. 17, 1977. The average temperature during the 36-day event was about 10.5 degrees.

January 1977 was the coldest January in the 130-year history of Champaign-Urbana weather records.

The recent cold-weather outbreak, from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6, included eight days with low temperatures below zero, including a -15 reading on Jan. 1. The average temperature during the 14-day period was 5.5 degrees.

According to the official readings taken by the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign, the temperature was below freezing from sometime on Dec. 23 until 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7, when the thermometer nudged up to 33 degrees.

Chicago's coldest weather streak happened during the same winter of 1976-77 — except it ran about a week longer.

The temperature at Midway Airport (Chicago's official weather-observation point at that time) dropped below 32 degrees at 1 p.m. Dec. 27 and remained below freezing for 1,053 consecutive hours before reaching 32 degrees at 10 a.m. Feb. 9, 1977, according to WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling.

That streak amounted to 43 days and 21 hours of subfreezing temperatures.

By the numbers

What C-U's two-week-long foray into — and out of — subfreezing territory looked like in degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by the Illinois State Water Survey:

Date High Low Mean
Dec. 23 37 24 30.5
Dec. 24 24 17 20.5
Dec. 25 19 8 13.5
Dec. 26 11 1 6.0
Dec. 27 6 -4 1.0
Dec. 28 17 1 9.0
Dec. 29 17 13 15.0
Dec. 30 17 -1 8.0
Dec. 31 3 -5 -1.0
Jan. 1 -3 -15 -9.0
Jan. 2 8 -14 -3.0
Jan. 3 19 0 9.5
Jan. 4 8 -4 2.0
Jan. 5 8 -4 2.0
Jan. 6 12 -6 3.0
Jan. 7 33 4 18.5

 

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