It was zero or below on 13 mornings during that unbelievably cold January. Water company workers, digging up a line on North Maple Street alongside the Commonwealth Journal building, found frozen ground 33 inches below the surface.
The warmest reading during that bitterly cold January was 43 degrees. The relatively mild temperature occurred at midmorning on a Friday late in the month with the annual banquet of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce set for that night. Suddenly, just before noon, wind whipped out of the Arctic and banquet-goers shivered in 9-degree temperature as they headed to the (former) Holiday Inn festivities that night.
January 1978 wasn’t quite as cold but snow piled 18 inches deep in places. A raging blizzard caused the governor to order everybody off the roads. Commonwealth Journal employees ignored the warning and published the newspaper on schedule. There was only one absentee in the entire newspaper plant on that day with drifting snow and nearly impossible travel.
Lake Cumberland froze solidly again in January 1978, the second and only times the entire surface has frozen during the reservoir’s 63-year history.