What is the coldest wind-chill temperature ever recorded in Madison?

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What is the coldest wind-chill temperature ever recorded in Madison?
Close up of man wearing fleece hat and face warmer that are covered in ice, only his eyes show

The face of a frigid windchill.

The wind-chill temperature describes the increased loss of heat by the movement of the air. The wind-chill is relevant to humans and other animals that need to maintain a constant body temperature.

The cooling power of the wind cannot be measured with a thermometer; it must be computed. The wind-chill temperature translates your body’s heat losses under the current temperature and wind conditions into the heat loses your body would feel if exposed to the existing air temperature with a 3-knot (or about 3.5 mph) wind.

This is a difficult conversion, and the National Weather Service updated its wind-chill temperature calculation in 2001. According to the new formula, the lowest wind-chill temperature was -54.3° F at 4:00 and 5:00 am on January 20, 1985. On that day, Super Bowl XIX was played in Palo Alto, Cal. The game-time temperature was 53° F.

Steven A. Ackerman and Jonathan Martin are professors in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW-Madison, are guests on the Larry Meiller‘s WHA-AM radio show the last Monday of each month at 11:45 a.m.