|30 Years Ago - Bengals Play the "Freezer Bowl"
On January 10, 1982, the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers
squared off in the AFC Championship Game, in arguably the most
brutal football weather in
NFL history. The high temperature on January 10, 1982 was officially
-4F, and the low -14F.
analysis of hourly observations from KCVG (Greater Cincinnati
International Airport across the Ohio River a few miles from Riverfront
Stadium), during the presumed game-time hours is below, making the
assumption that the game kicked off at 1 PM EST and terminated around 4
|Time||Air Temperature (F)||Wind (mph)||Wind Chill** (F)|
|1 PM||-8||23 Gust 31||-34|
2001, the NWS adopted a modified equation that is more scientific
and realistic, leading to warmer reported wind chill values. Using the
old NWS equation that was in effect in 1982, wind chills would have
been reported to be around -55F.
Based on air temperature, this day goes down as the 6th coldest day in Cincinnati history
considering the average temperature (average of high and low).
Below is a table of the top 6 coldest Cincinnati days based solely on
|Avg. Temperature (F)||Year|
more interesting is the fact there was only about an inch of snow on
the ground - typically such severe Arctic outbreaks and frigid
temperatures are enhanced by a deeper, more uniform snow cover than
this.The images below depict the weather pattern in place (at the
surface) that led to the frigid day. In the top image is surface
pressure (black contours) and surface pressure anomalies (differences
above/below climatology for a normal January 10 - shown in hues of
blue/orange/yellow). When meteorologists analyze these
"standardized anomalies", any value exceeding +/-3 are typically very
rare to historic events. This event is certainly no exception, as
the massive 1056 millibar Arctic high pressure (near 31.25" of mercury
on a home barometer) center over the northern High Plains is 3+
standard deviations above climatology, a very rare and strong pressure
anomaly even for January.
resulting pool of Arctic air is just as impressive, with 2-meter
surface temperature anomalies a staggering 3.5 to 4.0 standard
deviations below climatology. These values for temperature are
almost always indicative of a rare, record-breaking, or historic event.
a hardy 46,000 fans showed up for this game, though it remains unknown
how many had left by halftime, and how many gallons of hot chocolate
had been consumed.
The Bengals handily defeated their warm-climate
counterparts on this day, 27-7, but went on to lose the Super Bowl to
the San Francisco 49ers, 26-21.- Seth Binau, Science and Operations Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)