Northland braces for longest cold wave of winter
The timing is impeccable: This is usually when northern Minnesota and Wisconsin get our coldest temperatures each winter. But the duration and severity of this week's cold snap may be enough to chill even the hardiest Northlander's bones -- certa...
The timing is impeccable: This is usually when northern Minnesota and Wisconsin get our coldest temperatures each winter.
But the duration and severity of this week's cold snap may be enough to chill even the hardiest Northlander's bones -- certainly the longest subzero spell in four years.
Temperatures could hit 30 below zero in Duluth this week and 40 below zero in International Falls. And there may be a report of 50 below in the usual cold pockets like Embarrass, Tower or Federal Dam.
Wind will be a big problem late tonight through Tuesday morning, with wind chill values approaching 50 below zero early Tuesday before winds begin to calm. A wind chill warning is in effect from tonight until 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The National Weather Service in Duluth says parts of the Northland will spend about 100 hours below zero -- not near a record but still an unusually long streak of severe cold.
The cold snap has been forecast for a full week, and Weather Service officials are urging people to take their advice seriously. Dress warm, prepare for problems and make sure kids and pets are not left outside for any length of time.
The North American weather flow has set up to push polar air directly down into Minnesota. It was -43 below in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, at 9 a.m. Monday.
"We probably won't see any [all-time] records. But this is going to be a prolonged period of very cold air that's going to come at us in three waves through Saturday,'' said Steve Gohde, Weather Service observation program leader in Duluth. "This is not weather to fool with.''
It's not only that hypothermia and frostbite can occur in just a few minutes. Cars are more vulnerable to breakdown. Water lines and septic tanks can freeze. Home and business heating and electrical systems may be stressed and fires are more likely, the Weather Service notes, also suggesting checking on elderly people more often this week.
Temperatures should return to normal, with highs near 20 above zero, by Sunday.