Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Nip in the Air

Minnesotans take on record low temperatures, bitter wind chills

It was so cold, a record Dec. 27 low temperature of minus-36 was recorded in International Falls – “The Icebox of the Nation.” The city’s previous record of minus-32 was set in 1924.

It was so cold, car seats felt like sandbags if the poor cars were kept outside, and bright neon signs whimpered and went pale.

So cold, the temperature really didn’t matter anymore.

High daytime temps were around minus 15, with nighttime temps from 25 to 35 below.

Veteran southeast Minnesotans scoff at such cold: “It’s just a bit chilly.”

“We’re just used to it, I guess,” Kasson Public Works director Charlie Bradford said. “Do what you’ve got to do.”

Minnesota’s all-time low temperature of 60 below was set on Feb. 3, 1996 in Tower, in the far northeast corner of the state. 

This latest cold-weather spate was nowhere near that, but you could almost see it from here on the wind chill scale. 

“We’re close to record territory when you factor in the wind,” Michael Hollan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis., said Friday, adding that it was the coldest snap the agency has seen in a few years. “It’s going to be very cold.”

Air temperatures were expected to reach about minus 15 on Dec. 29, with wind chills from 25 to 35 below zero, joined by up to three inches of snow.

The high on Dec. 30 was expected to be around minus-5 to minus-10, with a daytime wind chill of about minus-25.

Sunday the 31st? High temps below zero.

Monday, New Year’s Day? Ditto.

It was still minus 3 on Tuesday morning. Hollan said the wind might weaken a bit, “but it doesn’t take much wind to produce 25 to 35-below wind chills.”

He said you could suffer frostbite in 10 minutes with exposed skin in that weather. Avoid being outdoors as much as possible, take a survival kit if traveling, and make sure children are bundled up.

“But that doesn’t mean that adults shouldn’t as well,” Hollan said.

A virtual heat wave was expected to move in this week, with above-zero high temps of 9 or 10 on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, 7 on Friday, 12 on Saturday – and 21 on Sunday (see for more National Weather Service information).

Even better: mostly mild temperatures are expected through January, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The average high will be 21 above – eight degrees above average – with precipitation 0.5 inches below average, according to the venerable publication, which has offered a wide variety of advice since 1792 (see


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Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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