Remembering Michigan’s ‘Deep Freeze of 2019′ that Shattered Longstanding Weather Records
We had a stretch of weather at the end of January 2019 that was absolutely historic. What is generally called the Deep Freeze of 2019 or the Polar Vortex of 2019, began in late January in some regions and lasted a few days into February that year.
Heavy snow and areas of Lake effect snow were followed by some insanely cold temperatures and extreme wind chills that we hadn't seen in decades. In fact, temperatures barely made it above 0 for almost 48 hours straight and at nearly -20 degrees, several areas broke longstanding record lows. Some businesses in Michigan were closed for an entire week, and many schools also canceled classes for an entire week. Numerous car pile-ups led to the closure of many highways, and interstates.
On January 28, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency due to the record low windchill temperatures. There were three fatalities related to the cold. One was in Detroit, another in Ecorse, and a third in the Lansing area.
You may remember a weird EAS Alert that came through from Governor Whitmer and Consumers Energy asked residents to turn down their thermostats to 65 degrees during the record cold. It was due to a fire reported at a compressor station in Macomb County due to extra gas usage.
Here are some temperature records that were broken in West Michigan:
January 30, 2019 (Battle Creek)
- Old Record: -13 (1951)
- New Record: -18 (2019)
January 31, 2019 (Battle Creek)
- Old Record: -10 (1899)
- New Record: -20 (2019)
January 31, 2019 (Kalamazoo)
- Old Record: -15 (1899)
- New Record -18 (2019)
Several other cities around the state broke similar longstanding records during this stretch. Detroit spent 36 consecutive hours below 0. Battle Creek was just four degrees shy from tying, and five degrees shy from breaking, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the city.
Here are a few facts about the Deep Freeze of 2019:
- The Governor of Michigan declared a state of emergency
- Michigan State University closed for two days. Prior to that, MSU had only closed six times in its history
- The U.S. Postal Service canceled mail delivery for two days
- Hundreds of Michigan schools were closed for an entire week along with dozens of government offices
- Dozens of rescues were made throughout the state
- During the coldest stretch, temps were below 0 for at least 36 hours straight
- Record lows were shattered reaching near -20 degrees, wind chills reached -40
- It has its own Wikipedia page
- An EAS Alert was sent out for people to reduce heat because Consumer's Energy faced a potential natural gas shortage
Vintage Michigan Winters