Snowstorm hits lakes area amid plummeting lows, brutal wind chill factors
For those dissatisfied with the sub-zero lows and frigid wind chill factors, Mother Nature is offering up another helping of winter--this time, in the form of 3 to 6 inches of fine powdery snow.
For those dissatisfied with the sub-zero lows and frigid wind chill factors, Mother Nature is offering up another helping of winter-this time, in the form of 3 to 6 inches of fine powdery snow.
In preparation for this confluence of winter events, the National Weather Service office in Duluth issued: a winter weather advisory from 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 28, through noon, Monday; a winter storm warning from 3:30 p.m., Sunday through noon, Monday; and a wind chill watch from 3:30 p.m. Sunday through 9 a.m., Thursday. Travelers are warned roadway conditions-in terms of traction, visibility and temperature-may be particularly poor and inhospitable.
"It's still dangerously cold-especially in combination with the wind chill over the next several days here," said Bill Leathem, a meteorologist at the Duluth office. "Over the next days, from 6 a.m. on the 29th through most of the 31, we'll see dangerous wind chills during that time frame-at or under 25 degrees below zero."
The coldest of the cold? A stretch during Tuesday night through Wednesday morning that could see wind chills clocking in at 60 degrees below zero. It can take as little as five minutes to experience frostbite in those conditions. At 3 p.m, Tuesday afternoon, lakes area residents could see temperatures hover between 10 to 20 degrees below zero, with wind chills in the 30 to 45 degrees below zero range.
In addition to frigid temperatures, residents should see a clipper moving in from the Great Plains-quickly moving eastward from the Dakotas into southern Minnesota and Iowa by Monday morning.
"It's nothing atypical for this clipper system to move through the area during the winter time," Leatham told the Dispatch during a phone interview Sunday. "The cold we're seeing though-this is the time we see our coldest temperatures, but these values we're seeing are significantly cold. Some locations we've already broken records and in some areas it's possible we may break some more records."
Record lows set Sunday included 46 below in International Falls, breaking the previous record of 36 below set in 1966. International Falls tied the fifth coldest temperature in station history. Hibbing set a new record at 40 below, breaking the record of 32 below set in 1976.
In Central Minnesota, 33 below was recorded at airports in Aitkin and Pine River with 35 below in Cass Lake and 30 below at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.
Coldest wind chills in the state Sunday morning included 49 below at Grand Marais Airport, 48 below on the Iron Range, 46 below at the airport in Walker and 29 below at the Brainerd airport.
The coldest Jan. 27 in Brainerd was 34 below in 1976. To claim the record books for the hard-hitting cold expected in the next few days the cold air will have to break the bone-rattling chill felt during the winter of 1996 when the air temp was 40 below on Jan. 30, and 46 below on Jan. 31.
To set a new record Tuesday, in Brainerd, the temperature will have to fall past the 38 below set on a cold Jan. 29 in 1965.
Leatham advised residents to stay tuned and keep apprised of weather condition shifts over the coming days.
Snow plow schedules
In Brainerd, downtown snow removal will commence at 3 a.m. Monday to counteract impending forecasted snow totals. Per city ordinances, parking is banned from downtown streets bound by the following area until the snow is completely removed from the streets, alleys, and parking lots:
• South Seventh Street, from Front Street to Maple Street.
• Front Street, from South Sixth Street to South Eighth Street.
• Laurel Street, from South Sixth Street to South Eighth Street.
Parking in downtown prior to snow being removed will result in an automatic ticket and tow.
Per a news release by Crow Wing County Highway Department, crews will begin plowing county roads at 2 a.m. Monday. Roads will be snow-covered and slippery through Monday. Drivers should give themselves extra time to get to their destination and give the plows room to work.
Leatham advised drivers to drive slowly and carefully.
Leatham's cold weather tips
Leatham advised lakes area residents to show good judgment, prepare beforehand and dress appropriately for the wave of subzero temperatures expected to blast the Northland in coming days.
• Bundle up and cover up all exposed skin-wear a ski mask, wear gloves or mittens, wear heated coats, wear a hat, wear thick layers of clothing and plenty of them. Frostbite can develop quickly in these temperatures and hypothermia is always a concern.
• For driving-especially on less-traveled roads off the main drag-bear in mind most de-icing techniques and chemicals are not very effective in these temperatures. Drive slowly, plan ahead for longer trips. Watch out for black ice or frost on roadways, as careening off the roadway into a ditch is not only a headache but potentially a life-threatening situation in these temperatures.
• Don't forget the fur babies. Pets should be limited in their times outdoors and should be provided with plenty of water.
• Limit alcohol consumption. That face-planting digger on the way home from the bars-which typically injures little more than a person's pride during the summer months-has led to severe frostbite damage, loss of limbs and death in some cases. For designated drivers, ensure the inebriated person is inside their homes and secure from the cold.
• In general, curb any time spent outside in these temperatures, even if it's favorite pastimes like snowmobiling, ice fishing, sledding, or other forms of outdoor recreation. Make sure everyone gets home, safe and sound and warm. Being stranded could be a life-threatening situation in 15 to 20 minutes.