Be prepared to wake up to a cold blast Thursday morning as strong winds once again combine with bitterly cold temperatures.
The National Weather Service in Duluth issued a wind chill advisory through 9 a.m. Thursday in the latest polar blast in an extended cold snap.
Wind chills may drop to 25 to 40 below. The wind is adding a sting to air temperatures expected to drop to an overnight low of nearly 30 below. Temperatures this low are potentially dangerous as frostbite may result on exposed skin within 10 to 15 minutes in these conditions, the weather service reported.
Conditions should improve as Thursday morning progresses.
The lakes area has been in a deep freeze since late Saturday morning as temperatures steadily dropped. Temperatures did not rise above zero on Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday was the warmest day since the polar plunge, topping out at 7 degrees just before 10 a.m. before the day grew progressively colder. By 3 p.m. Wednesday, the temp was back to zero and the wind chill was already at 22 below, the weather service reported.
The cold temperatures have been warming the hearts of remote car starter installers. The warm spell in January, almost a distant memory now, was a slow period, but that changed quickly, said Aaron Olson, Sound Connection salesman at the Brainerd business. Olson said as the temperature was 13 below Monday afternoon, the phone lines lit up. Sound Connection is one of the area companies selling and installing remote car starters. Now Olson said they are booked up for installations two weeks in advance.
“That cold snap hit and we were mobbed,” Olson said. “It was pretty intense.”
Area companies reported remote car starters can range from $244 to more than $500 depending on the car starter type, make of vehicle and option, such as being able to start a car from a smartphone. There are a number of options in the $300 range.
Dave Hibbitt, install technician at Lakes Audio, said during the warm up customers were talking about speakers and thinking of open window weather, but the cold snap brought out the car starter shoppers.
“When it starts getting cold, you know it’s going to pick up,” Hibbitt said.
A warm-up is coming, but the weather service predictions are for a respite that is short-lived.
The lakes area hasn’t been warmer than 7 degrees since Saturday. Tuesday hit its coldest mark at 22 below just before 8 a.m. for the coldest air temperature since the cold snap began. By Thursday morning, temperatures were expected to be colder, dropping to about 29 below. Thursday includes a 20 percent chance of snow in the afternoon and a high of 3 degrees with continuing wind chill values of 20 below to 30 below. By Thursday night, snow is likely with a 70 percent chance of accumulation. The area may pick up a fresh inch or two.
A slight chance of snow continues into Friday, where the high may climb to 9 degrees. It should be sunny, but it isn’t likely to feel that warm as wind gusts up to 25 mph. Friday’s low will again be cold as it’s expected to drop to about 17 below with a breeze.
By Saturday, seven days into this cold snap, the temperature may be the warmest in a week as it nears 12 degrees and the overnight low may finally stay above zero.
But Sunday, Monday and Tuesday may actually be cause for celebration as the temperatures soar to nearly 30 degrees. After the coldest air in four years to the hit the region, the warm-up will no doubt be more than welcome. But don’t expect it to last.
Next Wednesday’s high? A chilly 5 degrees. And perhaps a new chance for the phones to ring as people check prices on remote car starters.