Lone Rock man recalls record-breaking cold day from 63 years ago

By: Max Hess - Email
By: Max Hess - Email

Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2014 --- 10:20 p.m.

It's cold outside, there's no doubt about it.

Nevertheless, Jim Greeneck says it has definitely been colder -- and he has 87 years on earth to back it up.

"I'm getting up to being about one of the oldest in the town," he said.

Jim has lived in Lone Rock almost all his life, and he clearly remembers the morning hours of January 30, 1951.

That is the day a thermometer at the nearby Tri-County airport broke, simply because temperatures were too cold to measure. The true temperature was afterwards calculated at 53 degrees below zero.

It was the coldest temperature measured in the United States that day.

"There was no wind that morning, it was really quiet," Jim said. He says it is something he'll never forget.

Jim, a 50-plus year veteran of the Lone Rock fire department, says even 53 below wasn't cold enough to keep him inside. "You get used to it, just like animals and anything else."

Jim kept numerous newspaper articles that documented the cold day in Lone Rock.

Today, the village of Couderay holds the record for the coldest temperature measured in Wisconsin. On February 2 and 4, 1996, thermometers measured 55 degrees below zero.

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