How Cold Is It? Record Breaking Times and Memories

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 8 Comments

How cold is it? Plenty cold where I am here in Kentucky. When I peeked at the thermometer this a.m. it showed minus 8. While that might not be so chilly for some of you northern folks, down here in the almost south, it’s cold. But worse, they say it’s not supposed to get over 5 degrees today. And that’s with the sun shining! Something is definitely not right about that!! We don’t even want to hear those wind chill numbers. Or feel them either. Then the night temps are something like minus 17. 

My dog, Oscar, wasn’t too happy about having to go outdoors to do those necessary things. Normally he doesn’t mind snow, but this stuff is a little too deep for him. He’s been a trooper and gone walking with me anyway, but the wind chill may make the walks short today. Walking through snow like this can give you a good workout for sure.

There’s naturally been a lot of talk about the cold and whether the temperatures will be record lows. The all time record low here in Kentucky is minus 21 in 1963. I remember that. I grew up in an old farmhouse that’s only insulation were the old logs on the two front rooms from when it was a log cabin and the plastic my dad nailed over the big old windows every winter. 

That didn’t happen to the upstairs window in the room where I slept. I won’t say snow drifted through it, but it felt like it might at times. For sure, when it was time to get up and leave your warm cocoon in the featherbed behind and your feet hit that unheated floor, you woke up quick. We had a woodstove in the living room and a little of the heat drifted up the stairs to the front room there. That was my sister’s room. 

We closed off every room except the living room and the kitchen. We called the closed off dining room the refrigerator room. But even with only two rooms to heat, the kitchen was still cold after they took the wood cookstove out. Mom got an electric range when the electric lines came out our road. I don’t remember that, but my sister does. For a while Mom left the wood cookstove in the kitchen but it was gone by 1963 when we had that record cold. She probably wished it back that year. She cooked and cleaned with an insulated jacket on. 

But cold or not, we always ate our meals at the table in the kitchen. Snacks might happen in the living room, but not meals. We did have some good snacks in the winter. Our homegrown popcorn. Mom could pop corn better than anybody. Sometimes we made chocolate fudge to go with it. Hard to beat popcorn and homemade candy. Hot cocoa was another treat. Mom sometimes made snow cream, but I was never a fan of it. Give me the fudge. 🙂 But we didn’t have to worry much about the calories. After all, we were packing in the wood, feeding the chickens and dogs and cats and other animals. Walking in the snow. Even then, I loved walking in the snow with my dogs. 

That kind of cold temperatures and one stove did make for family togetherness. Nobody ran off to their own room although occasionally I’d sit in the staircase and read or listen to the basketball games on my little radio. We fought over the chair closest to the stove and spent a lot of time standing by the stove warming our back sides and then turning to toast our fronts. 

It was cold, but we didn’t have to worry about paying the heating bill. That was paid in our own energy. Dad’s in cutting down the trees and sawing it into firewood and ours in packing it into the backporch and Mom’s or Dad’s in keeping the fire going. We had our own meat hanging in the smokehouse and or in the freezer. The cellar was stocked with all kinds of canned foods and a barrel of potatoes. We were okay. So many good memories of those years for me now. 

So how is the weather where you are? And how cold is the coldest time you can remember? Hope, like mine, they are good memories even if it was cold! 

Comments 8

  1. Mary Preston

    Here in QLD we have two tropical cyclones barrelling down on us. One in the top end – category 4 & one that has just crossed the coast – category 5 (they don't get any worse). It is VERY wet & windy as you can imagine.

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  2. Robbye

    Ann, my mom grew up in an old barn that had been converted to a two room house (actually more like a shack!). They had no electricity or running water for her entire life there, but boy did she have some great memories!
    She was very, very spoiled too as the only girl in the family!
    We've been in the teens and barely below teens here, but no snow.
    God's Blessings and stay warm!

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks, Robbye. It's toasty here in my office by my heater. My husband and I were just talking about how we grew up without conveniences and while we like the central heat and other things now, we did learn how to get by. Good memories for us too.

  3. Carissa Miller

    Almost the same as you, but I am in a different part of Kentucky. I believe we got almost a foot of snow in parts of the county I live. But as someone who remembers the snowstorm of 94 I not old enough to remember the major snowstorms in Kentucky before that. A foot of snow doesn't seem that bad.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      I'd like it better if it wasn't so cold, Carissa. But I can remember another time – those three winters in the Seventies when we had snow, snow and more snow. It drifted really deep one of those years.

  4. Nancy Vance

    Our temps are about like yours:-8 here this morning, as well. I remember the winter of 1978, when the thermometer hovered around 0 for a week and school was closed. The coldest we've seen since we lived in this house – since 1991 – was 35 below zero, and that was actual temperature, not including wind chill! We has frost on the inside wall of the unheated upstairs bedroom! So thankful for a warm home and no frozen pipes….yet!!

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Warm houses are a great reason to be thankful, Nancy. When I first moved into this brick house a few years after I married, it took me a while to get used to how I couldn't hear the outside noises. I did miss that, but I didn't miss the cold air blowing through the cracks and crannies of the old house we moved from. 35 below is very cold! One year we had 40 below windchills. That too was very cold!

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