Temps in Omaha on Wednesday will approach daily record low of minus 16

January 29, 2019

No matter how you parse the numbers, this is a stupid cold week.

Near-record cold: Temperatures Wednesday morning are forecast to drop to about minus 14 degrees, flirting with that date’s record, minus 16, set on Jan. 30, 1965. Wind chills are forecast at lower than minus 30 for that morning.

There’s no escaping it: “The confidence level is pretty high” that wind chills will drop below minus 30 on Wednesday, said Scott Dergan, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Brutal winds: The week has already started out raw. Winds gusted in excess of 50 mph Monday morning across eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa, Dergan said. Omaha’s peak wind speed was 54 mph, Offutt Air Force Base’s was 62 mph and Lincoln’s reached 67 mph, Dergan said.

It’s been this bad — and worse: Omaha experienced similar wind chills a year ago, said John Pollack, a retired weather service meteorologist. On Jan. 1, the wind chill dropped to minus 34 degrees when temperatures reached 16 below zero and winds peaked at 8 mph. Omaha’s worst wind chills of the modern era occurred Dec. 22, 1989, Pollack calculated. The temperature at Eppley Airfield dropped to minus 22 degrees, and winds blew at 13 mph. That would have produced a wind chill of minus 46, he said.

It’s getting better: This week’s arctic blast is fast-moving. It will be on its way out by Thursday. Look ahead to Saturday, and highs are forecast to be in the mid-40s.

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