Reuters

The polar vortex brought the temperature in Embarrass, Minnesota, down to minus 35.

Embarrass, Minnesota, doesn't even know the coldest temperatures it has ever recorded. The day it might have set a record, in February 1996, the official thermometer broke when the temperature dipped below minus 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

This morning's reading of minus 35, the coldest temperature in the country on Tuesday, is warm by comparison. As we discussed Monday, at that temperature, standard antifreeze will freeze, and you can make vodka ice cubes.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, the superlative of coldest town in the state evokes something of a rivalry among communities that some might consider near-arctic wastelands.

"When Monday's cold spell struck the Upper Midwest, Embarrass residents not only took it in stride, they reveled in it," MPR reports. "Living in a place that is often the coldest spot in the state, they're used to the notoriety and take a certain amount of pride in its harsh conditions."

A community website proudly proclaims Embarrass to be "The Cold Spot," boasting that "it is not unusual to see temperatures around -30°F to -45°F many mornings before the sun comes up during the winter months." Even in the summer, cold snaps occur. Would-be Embarrass horticulturalists beware: "Many killing frosts have occurred during the middle of the summer making it challenging for gardeners to reap their rewards of a profitable harvest." Despite all this, the website insists the locale is "beautiful."
 
"The thermometer won't break this year," Rowland Fowler, the town's temperature recorder for the National Weather Service, reassured a local newspaper recently. "It goes to 100 below." He goes on to explain that he has three backup thermometers, in case another record breaks one of them. On that icy day in 1996, a nearby town—whose thermometer didn't break—took the state record at minus 60 degrees. Embarrass surely won't feel that kind of shame again.
 
This post originally appeared on National Journal, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    The Three Personalities of America, Mapped

    People in different regions of the U.S. have measurably different psychological profiles.

  2. photo: A stylish new funeral parlor called Exit Here in London.
    Design

    Death Be Not Dull

    U.K. restaurateur Oliver Peyton’s newest project, a style-forward funeral home called Exit Here, aims to shake up a very traditional industry.

  3. MapLab

    MapLab: Killer Apps

    A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

  4. Life

    Talent May Be Shifting Away From Superstar Cities

    According to a new analysis, places away from the coasts in the Sunbelt and West are pulling ahead when it comes to attracting talented workers.

  5. photo: A Starship Technologies commercial delivery robot navigates a sidewalk.
    POV

    My Fight With a Sidewalk Robot

    A life-threatening encounter with AI technology convinced me that the needs of people with disabilities need to be engineered into our autonomous future.

×