ARCHIVES: Headlines from 1951, the last time Madison experienced temperatures this cold

MADISON, Wis. - The last time Madison experienced life-threatening temperatures like we are seeing Wednesday and Thursday was in 1951.

Madison broke a record, hitting minus 37 degrees that year.

Below are some excerpts from of local newspapers courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 30, 1951

The Wisconsin State Journal headlined its paper with record-breaking numbers on Jan. 30, 1951. 

“Madison’s mercury early today set a new all-time record for the city – 30 degrees below zero,” the article said. “And the weatherman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the mercury dipped even lower early today before moderating somewhat.”

The Capital Times, Jan. 30, 1951

The Capital Times wrote a story about the frigid weather and schools closing.

“An all-time low Madison temperature of 37 degrees below zero was set at the Truax field weather station early today, and the North Hall bureau’s mark of 26 below came within 3 degrees of equaling that stations’ record,” the article said.

“Although it is not expected to be ‘quite so cold’ tonight, and although ‘warmer’ weather is forecast Wednesday, the North Hall’s five-day forecast calls for colder temperatures again Thursday and Friday.”

Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 31, 1951

The Wisconsin State Journal wrote a story featuring 1,000 farmers and their families who braved the cold to attend the opening day of the four-day Farm and Home Week session.

“Today’s programs will continue with a general session at the Wisconsin Union Theater starting at 10 a.m.,” the article said.


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