Hunker down at the heater. The numbing blast of cold air slapping your cheeks Sunday morning is only the warm-up for a dangerous onslaught of frigid weather.
“I’m expecting to be trapped,” Laura Baier of Minneapolis said Saturday as she stocked a cart full of bread, fruit and vegetables at Rainbow Foods, which is shutting down all Minnesota stores Monday evening so employees and truck drivers aren’t out in the historic cold. “I’m expecting my car to not start for one, two, three days.”
At grocery stores, gas stations and garages Saturday, many Minnesotans braced for the coldest temperatures to hit the state in nearly two decades. Temperatures will remain at 10 to 20 degrees below zero statewide Sunday and are expected to hit between -25 and -35 in the metro area Sunday night. Monday’s high temperature could be -20.
Thermometers in northern Minnesota will dip even further. Windchills will turn the record-threatening readings life-threatening, assaulting exposed skin with the equivalent of minus-65 degrees.
On Sunday morning, the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities tweeted: "This is the first time we have used the 'particularly dangerous situation' (PDS) wording with a Wind Chill Warning."
At a windchills of 35 degrees below zero, flesh will freeze within 10 minutes. At 50 below, it takes only five minutes.
That prompted Minneapolis parks to shut down all programs until Tuesday and businesses like 3M in St. Paul to close Monday. Gov. Mark Dayton also took the rare step of canceling school statewide Monday even though some northern Minnesota schools scoffed at the decision after tolerating similar temperatures last week.
The resounding advice from officials: stay indoors.
Hardy or foolhardy?
But some hardy Minnesotans took the looming Arctic blast in stride, making jokes about how Antarctica and even Mars will be warmer than some spots in Minnesota. Others soaked up sunshine on ice rinks or ski trails Saturday before the temperatures plunged, closing park buildings and programs.
“I love this weather. Where else can you get weather like this?” said Edric Lysne after teaching a cross-country ski lesson at Wirth Park.
He’s especially gutsy, planning to brave the subzero temps and windchills by hiking along the Mississippi River on Monday and camping under stars in his back yard Sunday night, snuggled in a sleeping bag made for 50 below temps.
“That whole idea of resiliency and testing yourself … I get excited,” he said, adding that he has the proper cold-weather gear to make it safe.
Camping out inside
Others will heed the warnings and stay out of the cold.
“If it’s as bad as it is, no way,” Kerry Roth of Minneapolis told her kids about going outside Monday. Instead, she said, she’ll take the four kids to a trampoline park or pass time at home.
The family skated Friday and Saturday on Lake of the Isles to soak up the warmer weather before the park program shuts down until Tuesday. Less than a week into 2014, Roth already is weary of the bone-chilling temperatures that also closed out 2013. “It feels like we only had one week of summer,” Roth said.
But her husband, Brad Sorock was more encouraged. “After 20 below, we’ll be in T-shirts when it’s 10 above,” he said.
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