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Cold, yes, but it’s been colder

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It’s bitterly cold this morning — just not century-old, record-breaking cold.

Columbus is unlikely to break the record low temperature for today’s date. The National Weather Service’s predicted low of 8 is 24 degrees warmer than the record, minus 16 degrees set in 1912.

The city didn’t break any records at the beginning of the temperature free-fall Monday either, with a low of minus 8 degrees. The record low for Monday’s date was minus 14 degrees, set in 1884. Wind chills fluctuated into the minus 30 degree range throughout much of the day Monday, with Columbus joining the rest of the state under a wind chill warning.

Columbus remains under a National Weather Service wind-chill warning through 7 p.m. as 25 to 35 mph winds could produce wind chills of up to 30 degrees below zero.

When such warnings are issued, it’s because frostbite can occur within minutes.

Weather statistics for Sunday and Monday were provided by the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which recorded the lowest temperature in January overall at minus 42 degrees Jan. 1, 1864. The city’s next lowest temperature for the month was minus 27 degrees on Jan. 13, 1912.

Longtime resident Wilma (Clouse) Huntsman remembers a much colder January day when she was 20 years old back in 1950.

Living on County Road 700N near Hope, Huntsman recalled the temperature plummeting to 37 degrees below zero, so cold that the kitchen linoleum literally rolled up off the floor in her home on the family farm.

Sunday night’s bitter cold was accompanied by just about an inch of snow late in the day and into Monday morning, according to measurements at the wastewater treatment plant.

Prior to that, Columbus received 1½ inches of rain Sunday afternoon, Columbus Utilities Director Keith Reeves said.

Some of the state’s biggest snowfalls from Sunday were 16 inches near LaPorte, North Webster and Columbia City, all in northern Indiana, and 15 inches at Tipton on the northern tip of central Indiana.

The forecast

Today: Not as cold. Mostly sunny until midday then becoming partly cloudy. Highs around 9. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Lowest wind-chill readings 19 below to 27 below zero until midday.

Tonight: Not as cold. Cloudy. Nearly steady temperatures around 8. Southwest winds around 10 mph.

Wednesday: Not as cold. Cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs in the upper 20s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Wednesday night and Thursday: Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. Lows in the mid 20s. Highs in the lower 30s.

Thursday night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Nearly steady temperatures in the upper 20s.

Source: National Weather Service, Indianapolis

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