Earflaps may be the fashion statement of choice in face of this arctic blast, but a January thaw is coming.
Bitter cold is taking up residence in the lakes area for the next few days as wind chills of 30 to 45 below are expected to continue early Tuesday morning.
The weather prompted school districts to open late Tuesday. The Brainerd School District, Crosslake Community School, Pequot Lakes School District, Pine River-Backus School District, Crosby-Ironton School District, Pillager School District and Emily Charter School will start two hours late Tuesday morning.
Cass, Crow Wing and Aitkin counties are all in a wind chill warning until 9 a.m. Tuesday. The National Weather Service reported the wind chill warning comes as a bitterly cold arctic air combines with strong winds to create "dangerously cold and life-threatening wind chill values."
Tim Ranweiler with B Dirt Construction worked in the cold weather Monday on the Laurel Street Office Park at the corner of Laurel and Southwest Fourth streets. Temperatures plummeted with severe wind chill expected Tuesday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
The weather service noted exposed flesh can freeze in 10 minutes or less with wind chill values colder than 40 below. Frostbite and hypothermia are dangers if precautions are not taken. And while the wind chill warning expires Tuesday morning, that doesn't mean the warm-up is here yet.
Amy Liles, NWS meteorologist in Duluth, said wind chills will continue during the day Tuesday but won't be quite as cold - in the 15-20 below range. Tuesday night wind chills may be as low as 32 degrees below before winds start to calm.
Humans aren't the only ones affected by the deep cold as pet owners are advised to provide shelter.
"Remember that pets are also susceptible to cold temperatures and wind chills," the National Weather Service reported.
So if there are errands or trips not completed before the temp was taken over by the polar air express, the best bet for some may be waiting for the weekend.
Liles said the arctic low is bringing in the polar air and it's expected to stay in play throughout the week.
Wadena and Todd counties also are in a winter weather advisory until 9 a.m. Tuesday with blowing snow and dangerous wind chills expected. A wind chill advisory covers Morrison County, along with all of central and southern Minnesota, until 9 a.m. Tuesday, with wind chills possible of 25 below to 35 below overnight.
Harrison Elementary School student Shaylyn Johnson headed into school Tuesday morning after school was delayed by two hours in the Brainerd School District. Temperatures dropped to -29 degrees below zero overnight in the Central Minnesota. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The bulk of the snowfall is expected in eastern and southern Minnesota with higher totals likely from the Twin Cities southward toward Owatonna, the NWS reported. Near blizzard conditions were anticipated in the open country of western and southern Minnesota.
For the Brainerd lakes area, the 12 degrees as of 2 p.m. Monday may be remembered as a heat wave later this week. The high Tuesday is expected to be 5 below. Wednesday should bring sun but no relief from the big chill as the high may reach 1 degree and then drop to an air temperature of 21 degrees below at night. Thursday's high may reach 7 degrees below and plummet to 24 degrees below at night.
Friday's high may struggle up to 3 degrees but the low shouldn't be as cold at 11 degrees below.
And a warm-up may arrive for the weekend with a possible high of 17 degrees on Saturday and the low may only drop to 8 degrees.
But the most amazing prediction may be Sunday with an expected high near 30 degrees - and, yes, that's above zero.
So does that mean this is the last cold snap of the winter? Liles said: "We can't call that yet - historically we get cold snaps in February."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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