No let up yet as cold snap continues | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

No let up yet as cold snap continues

Wind chill warning in effect until noon Tuesday

Posted: January 21, 2013 - 10:16pm

As predicted, this cold snap is coming in like waves on a beach, albeit an arctic one.

A wind chill warning remains in effect until noon Tuesday as another wave of frosty air is giving added bite as it’s powered by strong winds. The overnight low is expected to drop to a bitterly cold approaching 30 below.

“Any little puff of wind at that point is going to put things at 40 below,” said Steve Gohde, National Weather Service observing program leader in Duluth.

Wind chills of 35 below to 50 below were forecast for Monday night and Tuesday morning. The weather service noted in these conditions, frostbite may occur on exposed skin within five to 10 minutes. People out in this wind chill for longer periods may be in danger of hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken, the weather service reported.

After a high of 3 degrees Sunday, the temperature dropped into the sub-zero temps before 6 p.m. and stayed there. The overnight low plummeted to 16 degrees below, reaching the coldest point just before 8 a.m.

Last Saturday started out quite mild, reaching 32 degrees after 10 a.m. but when the temperature started dropping it did so quickly. By 5 p.m. Saturday, the temperature had taken a nearly 30-degree nose dive. Temperatures slipped below zero after 10 p.m. Saturday night and stayed there, rising out of negative digits for about five hours in the late afternoon on Sunday before going back down to the deep freeze. Monday’s high temperature was 7 below zero.

Cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to linger across the region at least through Wednesday. On the brighter side, Tuesday night’s low isn’t expected to be so deep reaching an overnight low that isn’t that much colder than Monday’s high. Tuesday night is expected to drop to 11 below. Winds will shift to the southwest and lighten to 5 mph before calming after midnight. Wednesday is expected to be sunny with a high near 8 degrees. Winds will shift again to the northwest and should pick up. Wednesday night temperatures may drop to about 9 below with a light wind.

Snow finally returns to the forecast Thursday. There is a 50 percent chance of snow of at least an inch. But don’t expect a lot of warmth just yet. Thursday’s high may top out at 8 degrees and drop to 6 below overnight. Friday’s anticipated high of 5 degrees and overnight low of 14 below won’t provide a break in this prolonged cold spell. If temperatures continue as predicted, the lakes area will have gone six days without reaching a high above 10 degrees. The normal high for this time of year is 20 degrees. That could change Saturday when the anticipated high reaches 13 degrees. And, wait for it, Sunday temperatures may flirt with a balmy 30 degrees. The weather service is forecasting highs in the upper 20s Sunday and Monday along with overnight lows that are above zero.

“I think we’ll start next week a lot better than this week,” Gohde said.

But if the climate predictions are right, the warm up may be a brief respite. Another bout of below normal temperatures with a shot of polar arctic air may be headed for the region by the end of the month.

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