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You think it's been cold this year?

As I write a weather story for the website every morning, I get deeply involved in the minutiae of the details.

I can tell you what the forecast is almost to the hour, as well as what yesterday was like, and whether it measured up to what was predicted.

But more than just yesterday, I can tell you how today measures up to the normal for this time of year, and compares to the record-setting temperatures and snowfalls of the past.

It all gets pretty mundane.

But not Tuesday! Tuesday, I noticed, was the anniversary of the very coldest day ever recorded in Brandon (well, sort of).

There's been a weather station at the Brandon airport since 1941. In all that time, the coldest temperature ever marked was -45.6ºC, around dawn of Jan. 7, 1966.

Tuesday was 48 years since that low-weather mark.

And that's temperature, not wind chill. If you're interested (even though wind chill is bogus), even the barest breath of a breeze that morning, of 8 km/h, was enough to push the wind chill of -56.

(One of the reasons I agree that wind chill is bogus comes from extreme conditions like this. You'd barely be able to tell there was a breeze at all, at 8 km/h — you'd get the same "wind chill" from a perfectly calm day if you happened to go for a walk instead of standing still.)

Although that was the coldest temperature ever recorded at the airport, it wasn't the worst wind chill. That record was -57.4, set the morning of Jan. 19, 1996, when the temperature was about -43ºC and the wind nearly 20 km/h.

But temperature records in Brandon actually go back further than 1941. A separate weather station has records that go back to 1890. That station recorded the same -45.6ºC on Jan. 7, 1966, but those records say it's been colder than that.

On Jan. 12, 1916, that station recorded a temperature of -46.1ºC.

And the all-time coldest recorded anywhere in or around Brandon was Feb. 1, 1893, when the temperature dropped to a rock-bottom -46.7ºC. That was in the midst of an extreme deep freeze where it didn't get above -20ºC for a full two weeks, including a nine-day stretch where the warmest temperature was -27.8ºC.

(They didn't record wind chill back in those days.)

It certainly puts our current cold snap into some perspective. To wit: We haven't had more than four days in a row without it getting at least into the minus teens — that's a long way from the 14 they endured. And we haven't had any days that failed to pull above -30ºC. Back in 1893, they suffered two in a row, including four in a six-day stretch.

Also, they didn't have cars with command start.

Still, I am quite looking forward to some milder weather later this week.

For the record, the warmest it's ever been on any January day in Brandon was Jan. 21, 2001, when it reached 8.6ºC.

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