News: Clark County - Weather (1957)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

----Sources: Clark County Press, (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) January 31, 1957.

Puny –32 is Like Balmy Spring; It was -48 Here Six Years Ago!

But Kurt Listeman Remembers When it was –51 in City and –55 at Hatfield

Perhaps people are getting soft. And maybe we like it that way. Wednesday, when we shivered through the coldest weather of the year to date—snapping, screeching –32 below zero - we thought coldly of "that time" when it was 50 degrees below (and wondered how we stood it).

Well, to settle a lot of minds which have been trying to fix the date of that bone-chilling event, and to set the record straight for those others who have remarked; "Naw! It never got that cold here!" we looked it up.

And yup. It did.

January 30, 1951, was the eventful day. Just six years ago yesterday.

The official at Hatfield recorded 50 degrees below zero. The official at Neillsville was a minus 48, just two degrees less.

It Was SO Cold. . .

That day it was so doggone cold that:

Tom Flynn, then living on Clay Street had to go outside with a blowtorch and heat the fuel oil line from the barrel to his house. It was so cold that the oil congealed like gelatin. Result: no heat in the house.

And it was the first time in 22 years that the weatherman did what school kids oft wished someone might do: he closed their schools because it was so cold.

That was the morning; too that Dr. M. C. Rosekrans had to dig four feet down into the ground under his thermometer glass to find the mercury—all huddled in a little ball and covered with a ‘coonskin coat.

And that was the morning when most people walked to work—if to work they went at all—blowing their breaths out in little clouds of moisture. Those little clods crystallized and hung over the sidewalks all morning. People had to be careful in retracing their steps homeward that noon less their heads kept hitting the clods and giving them headaches.

That was, indeed, a real cold morning. But it was no record, even so.

Even Colder in ‘99

Right after that January 30, 1951 experience, Kurt Listeman wrote in the Clark County Press his memories of an even colder time here—and one, which stayed with the country for three solid days. That was on February 7, 8, and 9 of 1899. The temperature here sunk to 51 below zero, and hit bottom at Hatfield with a –55.

Yes, it was cold last week. But we’ve had it a lot colder than the puny –32 this year. Many of them wee lower than –32, and that happens almost every year. But none in the last six years, at least, has equaled the –48 in Neillsville, or the –50 at Hatfield in 1951—and none has approached the –51 and –55, which Mr. Listeman has recorded.



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