A Life in Weather (or Today Was Actually the Coldest Day of My Life)

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

The weather is insane right now in the Midwest, and I was hearing people say the same things you always hear when it gets really cold or hot: “this is the hottest/coldest day in my life!” Well, today I decided to find out.


I have a Dark Sky developer account for my iOS app, and they have a “time machine” feature that lets you get hyper-local weather data in the past. I used this to get the high, low, feels like high, and feels like low for each day of my entire life. I'm 33, so feel free to find that number high or low, but it's my lifetime, so it's what I ran.

I did this all with Shortcuts for iOS, and didn't involve a Mac at all. Let me know if you're curious about the shortcut, but it's not that interesting. It just runs 12,000+ times!

Oh, and I've lived in norther Illinois my whole life, so I ran it for where I live now.

The Results

Yup, today was the coldest it's ever been in my lifetime!

With a low temperature of -25°F and and low wind chill of -50°F are both the lowest values ever for this part of the world in my lifetime. Here's a chart:

That's over 12,000 days worth of data and there is one day that sticks out from the rest: the very last dot.

And here's the actual temperatures:

Yeah, also today.

The Wrinkle

So while today hit the lowest temperature and the lowest wind chill ever, I don't think it was the worst cold day ever. No, that belongs to January 18, 1994. The wind chill got down to -40, but the high was just -36. Whoa! At least today it was 1 degree for an hour or so this morning.

Also, 4 of the 8 coldest days of my life were between January 14 and 18 in 1994. The wind chill never got above -17 that week, which is bananas.