Family Magazine

-50 is the Record

By Twotimesthefun @slcs48n1
A few days ago the wind chill hit -20. On any other day, I would have expected the schools to close. Given the long-term weather forecast, though, I wasn't surprised that the girls had school. Within a few days, -50 would seem warm.

The ominous weather forecasts started early. Local news stations lead every broadcast by saying that life-threatening cold was coming. As the date came closer, the numbers started to settle around -50 wind chill. 

In the Chicago area, we are used to cold weather. We don't flinch when the weather forecast says -10 wind chills. Even a -20 doesn't make us blink. When we heard -50, everyone was paying attention.

The schools shut down for two days. Most businesses shut down on January 30. It was so cold that museums closed, stores didn't open and the United States Postal Service didn't deliver the mail. 

We only let Holly out for three minutes at a time. People bundled from head to toe would develop frostbite after five minutes. Holly didn't have nearly that level of protection. She ran out, did what she needed to do and came back in immediately.

We hunkered down for two cold days. We didn't leave the house January 30. We barely left on January 31 when it was only -35. 

By February 1 the Polar Vortex broke. We still had negative wind chills, but not life-threatening wind chills. The 2019 Polar Vortex was going into the record books. Some day the girls's children would ask about it, just the way they ask us about other historical events. 

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