Bitter cold on this date 30 years ago

DAYTON, Ohio – The mercury climbed close to 50 today but it was a different story thirty years ago.  A bitter cold air mass kept temperatures below zero for the entire day.

On Sunday January 20, 1985 the high temperature was recorded shortly after midnight at 11 below zero.  Temperatures continued to fall through the day.  At 9 a.m. readings dropped to 23 degrees below zero.  Winds were out of the west at 21 miles per hour making the wind chill or feels like temperature at a dangerous 53 below zero.

“I can’t find a lower wind chill on any observation in Dayton’s hourly observation database from National Climatic Data Center,” says Seth Binau, Science and Operations Officer from the National Weather Service, Wilmington.

According to the National Weather Service in Wilmington January 20, 1985 was the coldest day for Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus.

By noon the air temperature slowly warmed to 19 below zero.  “Even more amazing, during the daylight hours the temperature never got above 16 degrees below zero,” Binau explains.

This coldest high beats the second coldest of six below by a good five degrees. On January 10, 2982 the high was six below zero.

The average temperature for the entire day was 17.5 below which is the coldest ever recorded and really beats the second coldest average of 14.5 below zero on January 18th 1994.

This bitter cold air was only around for one day.  The month started out with a high of 60. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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