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Another round of arctic air on its way

An inflatable snowman decoration in Aitkin reflects the thoughts of Central Minnesota residents Wednesday during a subzero cold snap. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The temperature early Wednesday morning in Brainerd bottomed out at a near-record 29 degrees below zero, but an approaching low pressure system is expected to bring a relative warm up Thursday.

The all-time record low temperature for Dec. 27 in Brainerd was 30 degrees below zero, set in 1933, according to National Weather Service records. However, at 5 degrees below zero, Brainerd did set a record for lowest recorded high temperature for the date.

The National Weather Service in Duluth reported 1-3 inches of snow possible across northeastern Minnesota on Thursday with a high temperature of 8 degrees.

However, temperatures Friday in the Brainerd lakes area will again fall well below zero as another round of arctic air will bring dangerously cold wind chills. The weather service said people should expect wind chill values as low as 20 degrees to 40 degrees below zero Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Signs of frostbite

Cold wind chill values can result in frostbite times between 10 and 30 minutes for any exposed skin, the National Weather Service reported.

In this prolonged cold, it is important to remember to care for pets and animals. It's a good idea to check on elderly neighbors and be aware of frostbite signs and symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic noted the first signs of frostbite include cold skin and a prickling feeling. Frostbite is actually freezing the skin and the underlying tissues from exposure to bitterly cold temperatures. Symptoms include numbness along with red, white, bluish-white or grayish-yellow skin or skin that looks hard or appears waxy. Signs of frostbite include clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness and in severe cases—blistering after rewarming.

Frostnip, a mild form of frostbite, causes skin irritation with redness and a cold feeling followed by numbness, Mayo reported. But frostnip doesn't permanently damage the skin and can be treated with first aid. Frostbite requires medical attention.

The Mayo Clinic warns against walking on frostbitten feet or toes and says not to rub affected areas, instead people are advised to soak frostbitten areas in warm water that should feel very warm but not hot. Rewarming takes about 30 minutes and the soaking should stop when the skin becomes its normal color or loses numbness.

"Seek emergency help if numbness or pain persists during warming or if you develop blisters," Mayo stated. The Mayo Clinic advises against using a direct heat source like a heating pad, fireplace, heat lamp or stove to rewarm skin as it can cause burns.

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