Well, maybe not a LIE LIE. The air you felt was certainly real, but new, improved data suggests that wasn't the actual reading. I'll explain why below.
With Illinois and the rest of the midwest about to be thrust into a deep arctic chill, one thing we are noticing is a lot of people brushing it off by saying "WEEELLL WE HAD -80 DEGREES BACK IN THE DAY SO THIS IS NOTHING, QUIT HYPING."
They are recalling when Chicago (and likely most of the surrounding areas) recorded its lowest wind chill ever of -82 degrees on December 24th, 1983. Well, I hate to burst the frozen bubble of macho manliness, but it wasn't actually -82. In 2001 the wind chill scale was revised, after more research was done and a greater understanding of the actual numbers was obtained. Using a NEW scale, the -82 days of old is actually somewhere around -55 today. Levels which are forecast this coming week. So YES, this is the same air, if not worse as some models actually suggest -60 is possible. Don't believe me? Take a look below
Above we see the old wind chill chart. The low on the night Chicago recorded the supposed -82 degree wind chill was -27. Since the charts only go in increments of 5, we'll have to guess the winds were somewhere between 20 and 25mph (exceptionally rare with that kind of cold, but thats a different article for a different time.)
So, lets take a look at the NEW wind chill chart being used since 2001.
Using the ACTUAL scale, we can see that in order to get the same value of -82, we need an air temp of around -35 with 55mph winds. That just doesn't happen in Illinois. Nothing is ever IMPOSSIBLE in weather, sure, but I'm a gambling man and I would bet a good chunk of change this never happens in our lifetime.
Also, taking the conditions from December 24th, 1983 you can see an approximate range of -55 to -64. I have to ask though. At that point DOES IT REALLY MATTER? I'm pretty sure by -30 your entire body goes numb so can you really feel the difference between -55 and -82? I'm not so sure I want to find out. No matter how you slice it though, these values are all exceptionally dangerous and can be life threatening if proper precautions are not taken.
So why is -82 still listed as the record for Chicago and the surrounding areas? Quite simply, it would be a major pain in the petunia to go back and change everything. Perhaps one day some intern will get suckered into updating all the climate logs. Until then, the historic, manly stories of -80s wind chills in years past will continue to represent a false record that will likely never be broken.
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