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Cold blast on the way

Grab an extra blanket, bring in the pet and pray the car battery is fully charged as cold air--the likes of which hasn't been seen this season--is about to arrive.

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"A blast of arctic air Friday night into the weekend will bring the coldest air the northland has seen so far this season," the weather service reported. "Temperatures will plummet to well below normal. Wind chills will be below zero through the weekend. The coldest time period appears to be Saturday night into Sunday morning with widespread wind chills of 20 to 30 degrees below zero across northeast Minnesota." BrainerdDispatch.com Illustration

Grab an extra blanket, bring in the pet and pray the car battery is fully charged as cold air-the likes of which hasn't been seen this season-is about to arrive.

And it looks like it will stay around for awhile.

After a mild winter and a warm week, with a high of 31 degrees Thursday, the thermometer is headed south with a vengeance. Saturday, the overnight low may be 2 degrees with a blustery wind of 10 to 15 mph giving the cold air extra bite.

It will be a contrast from recent experience.

Overnight temperatures late Wednesday into Thursday remained almost balmy with a low of 28 degrees and virtually no wind and just a few degrees colder than the day's high. The National Weather Service in Duluth warns that is about to change.

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"A blast of arctic air Friday night into the weekend will bring the coldest air the northland has seen so far this season," the weather service reported. "Temperatures will plummet to well below normal. Wind chills will be below zero through the weekend. The coldest time period appears to be Saturday night into Sunday morning with widespread wind chills of 20 to 30 degrees below zero across northeast Minnesota."

The high on Saturday is expected to be 23 degrees colder than the lowest temperature Thursday. Overnight air temperatures are likely to dip into double-digits below zero. Don't expect the temperatures to make much of a recovery during daylight hours.

Saturday's low is expected to hit 13 degrees below. Sunday's high may reach 2 degrees before heading into another night where the temperature drops below zero. It's a pattern that is expected to repeat itself into the coming week.

"A second blast of arctic air will hit the northland Monday afternoon and night," the weather service reported.

This cold blast is bringing colder than average temperatures into the region. The normal average high this time of year is about 20 degrees and the low about 3 below zero.

The first part of the week should continue the chill with highs ranging from 3 to 10 degrees. In the extended forecast the warmest day next week may be Thursday with a high of 14.

Dean Melde, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth said even with a strong El Nino creating warmer than average winter temperatures, the weather pattern doesn't preclude cold blasts.

"Even this cold, relatively speaking, isn't what we've seen in year's past," Melde said.

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The cold air will begin to pour in today, and it's colder than this winter has provided, but Melde said there are those depending on this cold snap as well. He noted a recent call he received from a logger who needs the cold to thicken the frost layer in order to reach areas for work.

The cold brings a chance to make lake ice and that should be good news for anglers.

Look for colder, and potentially more January-like temperatures to stick around. Melde said the extended forecast indicates this January chill could be around through mid-month.

But after bottoming out in January, lakes area winter temperatures begin a steady climb toward a July pinnacle with a significant jump between February and March. The average high temperature in February is 26 degrees. By March, that average is nearly 40 degrees.

Last year, with the polar vortex in full sway, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather data notes the high temperature on Jan. 7, 2014, was 16 degrees below zero and the overnight low a few days later was nearly 30 below, without factoring in the wind. Using the NOAA data, eight days in January of 2014 posted highs below zero and 14 nights were nearly 30 below zero for air temperature alone.

So for those who have been enjoying the mild air after two back-to-back harsh winters, the bright side may be a limited amount of frigid air instead of an extended polar vortex.

 

RENEE RICHARDSON, associate editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz .

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