Jan. 20, 1985, is generally considered the coldest day for wind chill in Ohio history, says Kent State University geography professor Thomas Schmidlin.
The temperature that day was 10 to 20 degrees below zero with steady winds of 20 mph, he said. There were gusts to 35 mph, he added.
That produced a wind chill of 70 to 80 degrees below zero, he said.
Meteorologists in 2001 began using a revised chart to determine wind chill. That revised formula made it warmer than it would have been under the old system, Schmidlin said.
Jan. 20, 1985, had a revised wind chill of 40 to 50 degrees below zero, he said.
The temperature in Akron hit 24 degrees below zero at 10:50 p.m. Jan. 20 and stayed there until 12:05 a.m. Jan. 21. That was Akron’s all-time low temperature at the time, breaking the previous record of 22 degrees below zero on Jan. 7, 1982.
1982 Freezer Bowl
Ohio was also host to the Freezer Bowl on Jan. 10, 1982, between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals in the National Football League playoffs.
The temperature was 9 degrees below zero with winds of 27 mph in Cincinnati. That produced a wind chill of 59 degrees below zero using the old formula, Schmidlin said.
The wind chill was 37 or 38 degrees below zero under the new formula. That made the infamous Green Bay-Dallas game of 1967 the coldest NFL game. The temperature was 13 degrees below zero and the wind chill was 49 degrees below zero in Green Bay.
25 below zero
Schmidlin, a co-author of Thunder in the Heartland, a look at Ohio’s weather history, said the extreme cold temperature benchmark in Ohio is Jan. 19, 1994.
The temperature in Akron dropped to 25 degrees below zero. The Cleveland temperature was 20 degrees below zero. It was 15 degrees below zero in Mansfield and 22 degrees below zero in Youngstown. In Millersburg in Holmes County, the temperature was 35 degrees below zero.
Greatest cold wave
Those Arctic temperatures did not break Ohio’s all-time low temperature from 1899, but many all-time records were set and this remains “the greatest cold wave in Ohio history,” Schmidlin said.
The National Weather Service has been keeping records for the Akron area since 1887.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.