Northern Minnesota began wrestling with the cold Saturday night. In Duluth, authorities were wrestling with the partial collapse of an awning.
What’s left of 2013 is about to tumble into a frigid free fall in the Twin Cities area, with forecasters seeing little to no chance of being on the plus side of zero degrees in the days ahead.
While much of Saturday was spent with record-breaking temperatures in the metro area, arctic air was barrelling in from the west, with wind gusts from 25 to 40 miles per hour only adding to the misery, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures were expected to plummet 50 degrees.
Those going to the final Vikings game at the Metrodome on Sunday — particularly those planning to spend a few hours outside tailgating before the noon game — will be tested by below-zero temperatures.
On Saturday afternoon, highs topped the mid-40s in the metro area and outstate.
But snow and freezing drizzle, then blustery winds, were developing overnight, the Weather Service said. A winter weather advisory was posted for the Twin Cities area and the east-central part of the state through 6 p.m. Sunday, alerting everyone to strong winds, plunging temperatures and blowing snow.
After an overnight low of minus 7 in the Twin Cities, the Weather Service said highs would be in single digits below zero and lows into the minus teens until New Year’s Day.
In west-central Minnesota, a blizzard warning was in effect through noon Sunday. Wind gusts along the Minnesota River Valley were expected to touch 45 mph, and the Weather Service warned of low visibility. The blizzard conditions were expected to come from the strong winds picking up snow that’s already on the ground, the Weather Service added.
In northwestern Minnesota late Saturday, Hwy. 2 was closed between East Grand Forks and Crookston, while Hwy. 200 was closed between Hendrum and Ada, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said. Driving conditions in that part of the state were listed as hazardous with travel not advised.
Meanwhile, in Duluth, the Spirit Mountain ski area announced that it would be closed Sunday due to the extreme cold. Operations will resume Monday but the ski area will close early, at 5 p.m., through Wednesday.
Also in Duluth, an ornate, snow-covered canopy on the front of the historic Greysolon Plaza on E. Superior Street had a partial collapse about 8:15 p.m., fire officials said.
No one was injured, but a security attendant was under it seconds before, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Firefighters were on the scene for two-plus hours. The cause and the amount of damage are not known, authorities said.
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