What has been Chicago’s coldest start for a new year at the stroke of midnight?

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Dear Tom,
This New Year’s Eve looks to be a cold one. What has been Chicago’s coldest start for a new year at the stroke of midnight?
— Betsey R., Round Lake
Dear Betsey,
The city logged its two coldest starts to the year on back-to-back New Year’s Eves in 1967 and 1968. Holiday revelers had to deal with subzero temperatures and strong gusty winds that produced brutally low wind chills. In 1967, the thermometer at midnight hovered at minus 9, and in 1968, the temperature was 7 below with light snow falling.
Over the years, the New Year’s period has produced some other challenging weather for Chicagoans. A 6-inch snowstorm disrupted festivities in 1978, and early on Jan. 1, 1948, the city’s worst ice storm began. Recently in 2013, Dec. 31 started cold with a low of 2, though readings rose to 12 by midnight as the city was hit by 3 inches of snow.

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