Extreme cold and road-slickening snowfall will dominate through New Year’s Eve and late into the week.
Remember Saturday, when Minnesotans splashed through lake-sized puddles, lined up outside carwashes and went jogging in shorts?
Yeah, we don’t, either.
The exceptionally cold weather that roared in Sunday tightened its grip on Minnesota on Monday, and it’ll be here to stay for the next few days. Highs will hover around zero degrees while nighttime lows sink well belowthat, according to National Weather Service forecasters in Chanhassen. That doesn’t even count the windchills, which will make outdoor conditions even more impressive — and dangerous.
Tuesday will bring another round of the light snowfall that slickened metro area roads on Monday, a high near -1 and an overnight low around -7, with windchill values as low as -20, the Weather Service said.
Wednesday — New Year’s Day — will also be frigid, with a high near 4 and an overnight low around -8. Thursday will bring deceptively cold sunshine with a high near 3.
Friday and Saturday it’ll warm up, with highs near 14 and 22, respectively, but watch out for the patchy blowing snow.
“It’s just been one chunk of cold arctic air after another after another,” forecaster Joe Calderone said Monday.
The bone-rattling cold that permeated much of December might have felt like a record-breaker, but the Minnesota reality is far from it.
In December 1983, the average temperature was 3.7 degrees, making it the coldest December in modern history. This month, the average daily temperature has been about 13 degrees.
Records didn’t matter much to the 4,500 Xcel customers in south Minneapolis who lost power on Sunday night. Power to almost all of those homes was restored Monday.
Light snow, heavy impact
As if the cold weren’t enough, a light but steady snowfall created unexpectedly difficult driving conditions Monday, leading to hundreds of crashes, spinouts and vehicles sliding off roads.
“Any time we get a small amount of snow like this, it’s often not enough to slow people down, but enough to create less than ideal driving conditions,” said Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol.
Snowfall may affect Tuesday’s driving conditions, too. Motorists who’ll brave both it and the frigid weather on New Year’s Eve should be aware that there will be extra law enforcement officers on the lookout for drunken drivers.
Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469