Jan. 27, 1989:
Clear, Calm and -78°.
At nine, three and six I fed the fire but ice came to both water buckets and pretty strong. I had to break it before I could pour water from the plastic bucket. After seeing it a -72° when I called it a day I just wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what it would be come morning. Certainly not 80 below but it was so close I couldn’t be sure if it was -79° or 80 so I made it a -78° due to liquid in the tube separating a bit at the very top of the red. I just couldn’t believe that it could get so cold at Twin Lakes. After chores I went out on the lake to experience real cold. It was colder, the air had a bite to it, and it had better be dead calm or it would burn like dry ice.
Well now! What is causing this very unusual cold and how long will it last? From the 12 Jan. to the 28th now and all readings except two below zero and nearly all of them pretty far down the scale. The morning reading average for the past five days has been a -55° and I thought a -44° was cold.
So now at 8:30 we are headed in to another night of preventing frost damage to my perishables.
— Dick Proenneke
In a letter to me, dated April 1, 1989, Dick wrote, “…the cold set in Jan. 12th and ended Feb. 1st. The last two weeks of Jan had a morning ave. temp of -48.8° and from Jan. 24 for seven days a -58° ave. Was fortunate to have a -90° reading thermometer for I saw it a -78°. Not official of course and I would like to see how it compares with a weather service thermometer. At -80° the red did start to separate at that temperature. I wish I could report that my cabin was cozy warm but you know it wasn’t. But no pipes frozen and no fruit or vegetable due to being elevated and as stove at night and me stoking the fire 3-4 times at night. Strong ice in the water bucket several mornings. Here at the table writing I had my sleeping bag warmer hot rocks laying on the table by my writing hand. Great sport and I am glad I was here to experience some Siberian cold.”
— Monroe Robinson