Dangerous wind chills expected to arrive Feb. 5

Temperatures to plummet Thursday, Feb. 4, as arctic air returns for the weekend and early next week.

Graphic from the National Weather Service Duluth.

After a mild stretch and just after Punxsutawney Phil promised six more weeks of winter, the lakes area is in for a dose of old-fashioned deep freeze.

It will start with a wintry mix of freezing drizzle and snow expected to arrive in the early hours after midnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning.

Then, the temperature will drop a lot.

“Bitterly cold Arctic air will return to the region Friday through early next week with life-threatening wind chills expected,” the National Weather Service in Duluth reported Wednesday afternoon, issuing a hazardous weather outlook for Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Morrison, Todd, Mille Lacs and Wadena counties

“The forecast for dangerous wind chills remains on track as we head closer to the weekend,” the weather service reported in an update Wednesday. “A strong cold front moving across the Northland on Thursday will cause temperatures to quickly drop.”


After a mild week with a temperature of 31 about 7 p.m. Wednesday, the temperature by 5 p.m. Thursday is expected to drop to 11 degrees. By the weekend and into next week, temperatures will struggle to rise above negative numbers, without even taking the wind chill into consideration.

Wind chills Thursday night and Friday morning are expected to range from about 15 below to 25 below. The weather service reported even lower wind chills are expected throughout the weekend into next week with widespread values in the 30s to 40s below zero. Frostbite can occur in as little as 10 minutes on exposed skin when wind chills dip into that range.

“Make sure to limit time outdoors this weekend, cover exposed skin, and bring pets indoors,” the weather service advised.

Before the cold sets in, the region has a chance of wintry mix with freezing drizzle and a combination of snow and freezing drizzle creating icy road conditions. There is a 20% chance of snow before 8 a.m. Thursday. Expectations for the Cass, Crow Wing and Aitkin counties are less than an inch of snowfall, with heavier amounts of 8-12 inches in Wisconsin with winter storm warnings. Blizzard warnings are in effect for portions of Iowa along with winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings.

“Make sure to use caution if traveling (Thursday) and allow for extra time,” the weather service reported. Snow is expected to taper off Thursday night in northeast Minnesota while it may continue in Wisconsin into Friday.

Winds may gust as high as 25 mph through Saturday and drop to 15 mph Sunday when the high for the air temperature may top out at 5 degrees below. Look for overnight lows of about 20 below Saturday and Sunday, moderating slightly to a low of 14 below by Tuesday.

Wednesday, Feb. 10, may warm to a high near 3 degrees. The normal high this time of year is 24 degrees.

Temperature forecast

Thursday — high: 21 degrees. Low: zero. Record low: 46 degrees below, 1982.


Friday — high: 9 degrees. Low: 9 below. Record low: 45 degrees below, 1982.

Saturday — high: 3 below. Low: 21 below. Record low: 45 degrees below, 1982.

Sunday — high: 5 below. Low: 22 below. Record low: 42 degrees below, 1982.

Monday — high: 4 below. Low: 17 below. Record low: 41 degrees below, 1933.

Tuesday — high: 1 degree. Low: 14 below. Record low: 41 degrees below, 1899.

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