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Continued: Minnesota braces for bitter cold, stocking up and hunkering down

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 5, 2014 - 8:06 PM

It may be a while before the short sleeves appear.

Thursday’s high could tickle 20 degrees, but until then it will remain downright cold.

The source of all the frigidity is a “big chunk of air mass that has broken off,” from an area near the North Pole and the Northwest Territories of Canada, said Jim Taggart of the National Weather Service. It has moved into Minnesota virtually unchanged.

“In past years when we may not have had as much snow, the Canadian air gets a little warmer as it reaches Minnesota and the cold is not as pronounced,” Taggart said. But this year there’s plenty of snow everywhere.

Extra measures

The arctic blast will bring a bump in business for some companies. AAA in Minnesota and Iowa is bracing for up to 4,000 service calls Monday, an increase of 50 percent or more than usual, spokeswoman Gail Weinholzer said.

Both CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy are also ramping up the number of staff on hand in anticipation of extra service calls. Xcel also asked nearly 600 Minnesota and North Dakota businesses to lower their natural gas use starting on Sunday to make more fuel available to heat homes across the region.

Through midweek, extra measures will be in place for homeless children and adults. YouthLink, a resource center for homeless and at-risk teens and young adults, opened at 8 p.m. Saturday and will be open around the clock until 8 a.m. Wednesday. Hennepin County said shelters for single adults, which normally close during the day, will also remain open and the Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis will accept anyone needing shelter.

 

Staff writer Tom Meersman contributed to this report.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

Twitter: @kellystrib

 

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