With an expected “heat wave” and a high of 60 degrees this week, I’m a little worried we’ll have a green Christmas in West Michigan. As we approach the official start of winter this month, let’s take a look back at the coldest recorded temperatures in the Kalamazoo area.

The bad news is: if you are warm-blooded then winter in the north, specifically Michigan, can be a brutal time of year. Just over the past weekend we saw everything from wind to rain to snow to hail, all within the span of a single day. The saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes” definitely rings true in Michigan.

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According to records that date back to the 1800s, the National Weather service claims the Kalamazoo area has seen temperatures -10 or colder at least 100 times. Here are some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded:

1. February 1918

Not including windchill, this is the coldest recorded air temperature in Kalamazoo history coming in at a frigid -22 degrees below zero.

2. January 2019

Kalamazoo broke its own centuries old record as the temperature in the early morning hours of January 31st clocked in at -16 degrees below zero.

3. January 1899

Narrowly missing a tie for 2nd place by one degree, the coldest air temperature recorded in 1899 was -15 degrees.

4. January 1994

On January 19th forecasters called for a high of -3 degrees for the day. By including the bitter wind-chill of -35 degrees, this is another record-setting cold.

5. January 1982

Kalamazoo saw another record-breaking wind-chill on January 9, 1982. The high for this day was recorded as -5 degrees in the afternoon, but the unfathomable wind-chill of 50 mph made it feel more like a -55 degree wind-chill.

Clearly, January appears to trend as the coldest month for West Michigan weather. Despite the climate crisis, do you think we’ll see any record breaking temperatures in 2022?

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