Now that's cold.
February 2, 2006 12:08 PM   Subscribe

The coldest place in North America. Snag, Yukon Territory, Canada. Wilfred "Wilf" Blezard remembers the coldest recorded day in North America's history. Now 82 years old, Blezard was one of four weathermen stationed at the Snag airport in Yukon, Canada, on February 3, 1947. On that day, the temperature dropped to 81 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-60C).
posted by three blind mice (24 comments total)
Bah, in Edmonton we'ld hit -40C (-40F) all the time. I'll be impressed when helium starts pooling.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:23 PM on February 2, 2006

If you prefer, here's the Google satelite image.
posted by bonehead at 12:24 PM on February 2, 2006

I remember once when I had to walk to school barefoot, backwards so it'd be uphill, in a tutu. It was -143 and the air molecules froze so we had to dodge frozen oyxgen and hydrogen and we couldn't even see because we had to walk backwards then when we got to school the only thing they had to keep us warm was pictures of Ann Coulter in a tank top. Plus we had to eat cilantro ice cream.

THAT was a cold day-now I think I'll go read the links and see if any of this is relevant to the discussion.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 12:27 PM on February 2, 2006

Man, I miss winter.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:28 PM on February 2, 2006

I've had to walk to work eight blocks in a -20ish F wind the time it warmed up to the mid-twenties by the weekend, I was boppin' around in jeans and a sweatshirt.
posted by alumshubby at 12:36 PM on February 2, 2006

That's interesting DeepFriedTwinkies . . . I would have thought Ann Coulter's lady business was the coldest place in North America.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:40 PM on February 2, 2006

-81F? That's a real weenie shrinker.
posted by Gamblor at 12:40 PM on February 2, 2006

My dad used to be a Chem prof at the University of Alberta (in Edmonton). They used to do vacuum-line synthesis on the roof in winter time because they saved so much money on liquid nitrogen (which apparently cost a lot more then).

I have many not-so fond memories of driving around town with wheels that had frozen flat overnight. Ka-thunk, ka-thunk. It was like going over speedbumps for the halfhour it took for the rubber tires to thaw.
posted by bonehead at 12:41 PM on February 2, 2006

So is the thought of Ann Coulter, now that you mention it.
posted by Gamblor at 12:41 PM on February 2, 2006

That'd be the naturally coldest place in North America; the artificially coldest place in the world is in Florida.
posted by kimota at 12:45 PM on February 2, 2006

Bah! I had to bring a pickaxe to school to carve a path through the solidiified atmosphere. The pick had to be superchilled to avoid an explosive reaction between the metal and the absolute zero temperature of the air. The bullies at school would shove your ass out the window and then crack it with a hammer to shatter it.
I would toss water in the air and it would dissolve because the molecules couldn’t maintain cohesion.
We used to have Bose-Einstein condensate-ball fights. We couldn’t use lead pencils in our school because lower than 7.2 K they became superconductive and the resulting lightning would zap the pencils right out of our hands.
Cold? Bah. Kids today.

“the magnification of local sounds created by the severe temperature inversion” is funky tho.
I like the picture of his beard.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:53 PM on February 2, 2006

I thought the coldest place in North America was the summit of Mount Washington? Oops, sorry, it was just a state record but they do hold the dubious title of World's Worst Weather (highest wind speed: 231 mph just think about that windchill!).
posted by fenriq at 1:08 PM on February 2, 2006

When I was going through the area up there in 1999 we actually tried to drive to Snag. It's about 10 miles off the Alaskan Highway and is supposedly long-abandoned. The best I could figure from my aeronautical charts I happened to have was that a dirt road led from a little roadside park northeastward. We gave it a try and went about a quarter mile through a spruce forest before the dirt road become curved and rutted. Since I was driving a Honda sedan I figured that was a really, really bad place to break down and we turned around.
posted by rolypolyman at 1:29 PM on February 2, 2006

When I lived in Maine, we had a few nights where you could spit and it would hit the ground solid, around -40 as I recall. However, pee didn't do that, much to our disappointment.

I can't really imagine -81. That might as well be space cold as far as I'm concerned. Even -40 is effing goshdarned cold, people. Especially when you don't have indoor plumbing.

No, don't ask.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:30 PM on February 2, 2006

My mom tells me a story of being woken up for school by my grandma when she was a little girl, with the words "The fellow on the radio said that with the wind chill, the -40(C) feels just like it would at -100".

I don't know if that's even possible but to this day I have a strong aversion to flat, wind ravaged provinces (or territories).
posted by dobie at 2:04 PM on February 2, 2006

What? No Hillary jokes?
posted by HTuttle at 2:39 PM on February 2, 2006

Yeah here on Svalbard I have experienced ambient -40F/C with wind bringing the effective (wind chill) down to over -100F. Don't know what that is in Celcius (I'm American). Man I miss Fairbanks sometimes, even without indoor plumbing.

Mt. Washington claims to be the _windiest_ place on Earth. Never been there.
posted by septentrion at 3:17 PM on February 2, 2006

Here in Fairbanks we had a week between -40&degF and -50°F just a week ago, but thankfully we rarely ever have any windchill; coldest I've experienced is -56°F.

Best temperatures for a dip in the hot springs, though.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:30 PM on February 2, 2006

Blezard? That's one eponysterical weatherman.
posted by dhartung at 3:45 PM on February 2, 2006

Heh heh....cold and windy....Hillary....heh heh.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:19 PM on February 2, 2006

Bonehead: Any idea what the black out rectangle to the south of your google map reference is?
posted by smcniven at 7:16 PM on February 2, 2006

No idea. I wondered that too. It's pretty big, 35km long, 6 or seven wide. Plenty of space for an airport. Maybe Snag wasn't abandonned in '76 after all.
posted by bonehead at 9:34 AM on February 3, 2006

Whoah - that monolith is pretty freaky. Artifact?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:55 AM on February 3, 2006

ah, rhapsodie... greenhorn! My first year in Fairbanks (actually, Ft. Wainright that year), it hit -71. Of the 17 winters I spent there, there were at least 8 that went to 60 below.

Hard on cars. We had a Volkswagon bus that was aircooled. You couldn't use a plug heater on it, my dad had to put a pan of charcoal below the oilpan to try and re-liquefy it.
posted by Dunwitty at 5:38 AM on February 4, 2006

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