The winter of 2013-2014 has reminded "seasoned" Twin Cities residents of winters of yore. Wind chill temperatures, the "feels like" temperature accounting for the combined influence of air temperature and wind speed, have dropped to dangerous levels many times this winter.
The National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Advisory when conditions are anticipated to be potentially hazardous with the chill reaching -25°. A Wind Chill Warning is issued when wind chill temperatures are projected to be life threatening with the chill reaching -35° and colder.
Historical Twin Cities hourly temperature and wind speed data were assessed to determine the frequency at which the Advisory and Warning thresholds are reached. The data were also utilized to ascertain winter-by-winter low wind chill values in order to provide each generation of Twin Citians with "bragging rights". The lowest wind chill value found over the 1905-2014 period was -63 degrees F, occurring on January 22, 1936.
Winter 2013-2014 summaries found in the graphics below include data through January 31, 2014 so most of these numbers will be low because we have continued our wicked cold into the first half of February. But you will see a common theme with the numbers, that this is the coldest year since 1996.
Looks like the coldest wind chill this year will go down as about -48° which is still as cold or warmer than about 25 other winters since 1906, or about 25% of our winters. This once again shows that this winter isn't all that unusual, it's just been 18 years since we have seen anything like it.