Ever since I became aware of this story, I can't help but think of it when the Minnesota weather turns dangerously cold. The outcome for this women was nothing short of a miracle.

Here in Minnesota, we are very aware of how dangerously cold it can get in the winter months. It's sometimes a cold that can literally kill a person and that's what just about and by all accounts should have happened to this woman from Lengby, Minnesota.

AM 1240 WJON logo
Get our free mobile app

According to FOX 9 News, forty-two years ago on a very cold night reported to be about 22 below zero and with wind chill much colder, Jean Hilliard went out to meet some friends near her hometown.

On her way home she decided to take a shortcut on an gravel road that turned out to be very icy. As a result, Hilliard's car slid into the ditch. Thinking that she was only a half mile from a friend's house, she decided to leave her car and walk to his house.

Not only did she misjudge how cold it was outside but she also miscalculated how far away she was from her friend's house. After walking for an hour in frigid temps, she spotted her friend's house through the trees and remembers nothing after that.

"It was like somebody turned out the lights – I just fell asleep," she said.

At 7 AM the next morning, 6 hours later, her friend came outside and found her in the snow about 15 feet from his doorstep. She was frozen solid with her eyes frozen open.  Her friend actually thought she was dead. After putting her in a car, they headed to the Fosston hospital.

"They carried me in. Someone had my feet, someone had my shoulders – they didn't need a gurney to carry me in, they carried me in like that because I was so solid," Hilliard said.

Hilliard was frozen so solid that the nurses kept breaking needles when attempting to get the IV into her arms. Doctors could barely detect a heartbeat.

"They didn't think I was alive even at the hospital. They thought I was a hometown girl, they knew me, and they weren't going to give up on me right away. But it didn't look good at all," Hilliard said.

After a few hours, Hilliard actually woke up and started talking. "When they got my jeans off and once my tissues started to warm up, I was black from the waist down. When your tissue turns black like that, there's usually no coming back. So they told my parents and my family they didn't think I'd make it, but if I did I would lose both my legs for sure," Hilliard said.

After spending 7 weeks in the hospital, Hilliard made a complete recovery. "The first week was tough because I remember being in pain. I felt like I had run a marathon without training," Hilliard said. "I was kind of stiff and sore, but after that I was fine."

National news picked up Hilliard's extraordinary story and she appeared on the Today Show and Unsolved Mysteries even did a show about her miraculous survival.

Hilliard says that since her survival, she leads a pretty normal like. She got married, had 3 kids and now lives in Cambridge.

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

LOOK: 23 astronomical events to look out for in 2023

Stacker compiled a list of 23 astronomical events to observe in 2023 using a variety of news and scientific sources. 

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...


See Inside an Abandoned Church for Sale in Long Prairie

More From AM 1240 WJON