If it feels too cold, too early, that’s because it is.
An unusually frigid cold snap is freezing Minnesota lakes weeks earlier than normal, icing up roads and sending people scurrying to dig out parkas.
“I missed the news that Veterans Day was moved to January,” tweeted Minneapolis author and former lawyer Kristen Ray.
Monday marked the coldest high on Nov. 11 in three decades in the Twin Cities. At midnight, the temperature reached a high of 18 degrees, tying the coldest high record set in 1986.
Some people are taking their complaints straight to the National Weather Service.
“People are not wanting this to happen so early,” NWS meteorologist Todd Krause said Monday night. “We’re going to get enough of this in December, January and February.”
New lowest-high records were set across northern Minnesota as an arctic air mass moved through the state and much of the country. Hibbing’s high was 9 degrees and Brainerd’s was 14, smashing 1986 records. Duluth tied a record-cold high of 16, set in 1920.
Looking back at weather in the Twin Cities the last three decades, Monday was an outlier — the high didn’t even touch recorded lows.
Temps on Nov. 11 have been all over the map. In 1986, temps dipped to minus 1. In 2005, a balmy 64-degree high dropped to a 35-degree low.
The average high this time of year is in the 40s, so even though Monday wasn’t record-breaking in the Twin Cities, the arctic blast is pretty unusual, said Bill Borghoff, an NWS meteorologist in the Twin Cities.
“The entire central and eastern part of the country is dealing with this,” he said. Within 24 hours, parts of the Texas Panhandle and Missouri dropped by 50 degrees.
Locally, premature winter means lakes are freezing over already, he said, which is rare this time of year.
That typically happens in late November or early December.
Ice is still not thick enough to walk on in the Twin Cities. Four inches of ice is required for that to happen, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
A return to normal
The good news is low temperatures aren’t expected to last and temps will return to normal next week, Borghoff said.
The Twin Cities should rebound to about 20 for a high Tuesday, and near freezing on Wednesday and Thursday, before topping that magical 32-degree mark on Friday.
The best chance of snow, the NWS says, will be Wednesday, but no true accumulation is anticipated.
For Krause, the fluctuations are all relative.
“It will seem silly to be happy to be back to 44 [degrees] because we think of that being rather chilly,” he said. “Now that it’s been cold we’re going to be thinking ‘44 degrees — that’s great.’ ”