The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Richard L
For the Sentinel 

Think it's cold now?


If you raise livestock, it doesn’t matter what the outside temperature is critters need daily care. After completing our morning routine of delivering hay to hungry cows and checking on frozen water troughs a small group of us get together over hot coffee and lots of bacon. On this morning our discussion turned to describing our worst winters. Dale Cameron, a Centerville farmer who has spent a lifetime around livestock shared a story of conditions far more challenging than we have faced so far this winter. He described feeding cattle 60 years ago, January 26, 1957 when the temperature dropped to a record breaking 49 below zero. A week later the temperature had warmed to a comfortable 26 below zero. If you are familiar cattle you know they require a lot more feed and water in freezing temperatures to maintain their body heat. After listening to Dale I spend the rest of the day thinking of cold fingers and frost bit ears. As if dealing with sub- zero temperatures wasn’t enough for the Cameron family three weeks earlier on New Year’s Day they lost their home in devastating winter fire. Three weeks after the record breaking cold spill the Cameron’s were facing the start of another calving season and its unique challenges. From the collection of Sentinels on file at the Presby Museum I share the rest of the story: January 31, 1957 – Goldendale Sentinel: 49 Below Zero Report at Centerville Proves Accurate when investigated The story that Centerville was one of the coldest spots in the United States last Saturday morning is on the level, according to Vernon Hinshaw. He took a reading of 49 below zero a 7a.m. Saturday, and checked his thermometer against the official government thermometer in Goldendale and found it accurate. Hinshaw reported that a reading of 48 below was taken at the John Tobin ranch near Centerville the same morning, and several people had readings of 45 below or colder. Hinshaw’s figure, recorded on a new 10inch thermometer, was the lowest recorded. His thermometer was placed atop a well, about ten feet from the house, located three-quarters of a mile south of Centerville. Tobin’s reading was at his front porch. Sunday at 1 a.m. it was 40 below at Hinshaw’s and Monday at 7:30 a.m. his thermometer read 34 below. Temperature Hits 26 Below Saturday in Goldendale Area Last Saturday was the coldest day of the season in Goldendale, with the official government thermometer showing a low of 26 degrees below zero. The extreme cold continued through Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with minimum temperatures of minus 22, minus 20 and minus 16 recorded on the three days. Daytime temperatures ran considerably higher, under the influence of bright sunshine. There was very little air movement. A little show fell here Tuesday the first since last Thursday.


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