Arctic stretch of Michigan weather far from all-time record lows

The cold weather has been brutal and is here to stay for at least a few weeks. This is that bone chilling, teeth chattering, throw another log on the fire or crank up the furnace a few degrees "COLD."  

But is it record-setting? For a city that's more than 300 years old, we didn't think so - and, as it turns out, it's not even that close.

Cadillac founded Detroit in 1701. Thirteen years later, in 1714, Daniel Fahrenheit invented his thermometer. So those 13 years get tossed because we can't really be sure just how cold it got on some of those mid-winter nights. 

There's also the fact the National Weather Service didn't start keeping accurate temperature records for the city until the year 1874. However, there are reliable reports that just several years before that, we might be on the right track.  

It was December 1872 and Ulysses Grant, the victorious general from the Civil War has just been elected president. People are reading the inaugural edition of the magazine, "Popular Science." And a ship known as the Mary Celeste has just been found deserted and floating adrift in the Bermuda Triangle.  

In the early morning hours of December 22, 1872, thousands of Detroiters are no doubt huddled in their beds, fires raging as they try to keep warm. Outside, thermometers are reading a mind-numbing -24 degrees. Because it was before NWS started keeping track, that -24 degrees is unofficially the coldest Detroit has ever been, in known history.

That's without the wind chill! Who knows how cold it actually felt?!  

As for the OFFICIAL measurement, we don't have to go far to find that. January 21, 1984, Detroit hit -21 but hey, at least we had the World Series Championship to look forward to!

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