Kentucky's all-time coldest temperature

Shelbyville holds the record.
Posted at 8:46 PM, Jan 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-18 20:48:10-05

Arctic air is blasting southward. Temperatures will plummet from the 50s to the 20s, and in the 20s we'll stay for highs over the next couple of days. If you think that's cold, check this out. Sunday is the anniversary of the all-time coldest temperature in Kentucky. Lexington was really cold that morning too, just not that cold.

Shelbyville holds the statewide record for the coldest temperature ever record. On the morning of January 19, 1994 the temperature dropped to 37 degrees below zero. A three-day cold outbreak came on the heels of a significant snow event. A powerful low dropped southward from the Northwest Territories. On the 17th Lexington received 10 inches of snow. Up to 20 inches fell in spots around central Kentucky. Very cold air soon followed the strong cold front. The combination of the frigid air mass plus a significant snow pack allowed overnight temperatures to drop well, well below zero. There were daily record lows in the -20s and -30s set in Frankfort, Lexington, and Louisville. (On the 19th Lexington recorded a low of -20°.) Highs weren't much better. Lexington made it to 4 whole degrees on the 18th and 19th. "Relief" came later in the week with "balmy" temperatures in the mid 20s.

The mid-January 1994 Arctic outbreak didn't produce Lexington's all-time coldest temperature. Although that anniversary is coming up later this week. On January 24, 1963 Lexington's temperature dropped to -21°. This record followed the greatest 24-hour (midnight to midnight) temperature drop. During the previous day the temperature dropped 64 degrees from 44° to -20°. This polar blast lasted nearly a week. The lowest temperature recorded in Kentucky during that stretch was -34° at Bonnieville in Hart County.