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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Winter Finally Arrives

According to NOAA, winter officially begins today at 12:35pm, Wisconsin time. Of course, most of us have known it was winter for a few weeks now, and quite a winter it's started out to be this year. One exception to our nostalgia for the "good old days" is our memories of terrible winter weather. For example, the Wisconsin State Journal claimed in 1923 that "Winters of 50 years ago were more severe than present, say old settlers." Many people who read that article would have remembered the so-called "winter of the big snow" in 1880-1881. To determine which winters were the coldest, it helps to look at the evidence, as this 1936 writer did. The conclusion: the winter of 1874-1875 had the most days with the temperature below freezing and the most days when the temperature never rose above zero, as well as the lowest average temperature for December through February. These photographs taken by Andreas Dahl in March of 1875 show snowbanks 30 feet high! May we be spared the worst of winter this time around, and only have enough snow to enjoy it.

:: Posted in Curiosities on December 20, 2005

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