On this Day in Weather History: The Polar Vortex of 2019


Who can believe it has been a year already since the polar vortex reigned down on the central United States. It wasn’t until we woke up on this day last year that we felt the fullest extent of that extremely and dangerously cold air mass. In fact, the observer at the Rockford International Airport recorded a low temperature of -31°. This was the lowest temperature ever recorded in Rockford, shattering the old all-time record low of -27° set back on January 10th, 1982. Wind chills at the time of the observation were around -57°. This is cold enough that you can get frostbite within 5-10 minutes.

We not only saw Rockford’s all-time record low fall, but also the all-time record low for the state of Illinois! The new record is now held here in the Stateline area. On that same morning, a temperature sensor in Mount Morris recorded a low temperature of -38°. It took a while for them to actually confirm this observation because they wanted to make sure the sensor was working properly at the time of the recording. When they couldn’t find any issues with the sensor, it was confirmed. This beat the old record of -36° set back in Congerville on January 5, 1999. An even that I’d never thought to experience, especially with this being my first winter living in the Stateline! 

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