The frigid January 1979 in Wilmot, Wisconsin

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Dear Tom,
Our son went camping in the Wilmot Ski area in southern Wisconsin on a frigid Saturday night in the late 1970s. It was so cold that they could not boil water on their Coleman stoves and we had to rescue them. Can you provide details on this night?
— Ted Garrison, Northbrook
Dear Ted,
From the information you provided, it is likely this camping trip took place the weekend of Jan. 14-15, 1979, in the wake of the infamous Blizzard of ’79. The Chicago area had just been buried by more than 20 inches of snow and subzero weather was moving in. Saturday morning temperatures were in freefall, heading well below zero by evening and eventually dropping to 14 below by midnight. By Sunday morning the mercury had plummeted to minus 20 in the Wilmot area. It was fortunate that no one in the group suffered serious frostbite.


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