If you like winter enough to stay cheerful through this late January cold spell, congratulations — you’re a Real Minnesotan.
But even Minnesotans get to complain about the cold now and then. And there will be plenty of opportunities in the week ahead.
Below zero temperatures, combined with gusty winds created windchills in the Twin Cities Friday morning of 15 to 20 below zero.
The frigid temps prompted organizers to cancel Thursday’s youth night on the pond, kicking off the 14th annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. But the event itself was still slated to begin at 8 a.m. Friday and continue through Sunday, spokesman Jim Dahline said. Last year, he said, skaters were fretting more about temperatures above freezing than below zero.
If this week’s temperatures sound bad, wait a few days. Temps next week could hit their lowest mark in 23 years, said Mike Griesinger, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. “Monday night is when the bottom falls out,” he said.
Forecasters anticipate a high of 10 to 14 below on Wednesday — yes, that’s the high — and the mercury could plunge more than 20 degrees below zero by Thursday.
At the same time, snow is possible. On Monday, what meteorologists call “an overachieving clipper” could bring 6 to 10 inches of snow to some parts of the state and 2 to 4 inches in the Twin Cities, Griesinger said.
“If we get 3 to 4 inches of snow, then it’s off to the races for how cold we get,” he said.
The timing of the deep freeze proved appropriate if unfortunate, as organizers of the Winter Carnival decided to cancel Thursday night’s Moon Glow Parade in downtown St. Paul out of concern for spectators. Several carnival events slated for Friday were put on hold but expected to resume Saturday morning.
Too cold for winter fun
A cookies and cocoa skating party scheduled for Friday at Manor Park in Shorewood was canceled, and Eden Prairie postponed Winter Blast, an outdoor event with family activities, to Feb. 15. In Duluth, the United Northern Sportsman’s Club pushed back its annual ice fishing contest.
Working construction outside in this weather is not as bad as you might think, said Brian Mueller, a project manager for Charles Cudd homebuilders. The big problem is that equipment such as air compressors, nail guns and the like might not operate in severe cold. But workers generally just pull on their thermal underwear and insulated boots and head out, he said.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t complain a little, but for the most part they know what they’ve signed up for,” Mueller said.
As far as Lindsey Mattson of Spring Park had heard Thursday afternoon, the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Minnesota — in which participants jump into Lake Minnetonka through a hole carved in the ice — was still a go for 1 p.m. Saturday in Mound. Mattson, 19, said she signed up to take the plunge because she’d always wanted to try it. “I jumped at the opportunity and now I’m regretting it,” she said.
Folks at the Mall of America, undaunted by the frigid conditions, announced they were extending the run for its first outdoor rink. The last chance to lace up the skates was supposed to be Sunday, but the rink near the mall’s north entrance will remain open through Feb. 18.
The good news is that temperatures are forecast to rise by Super Bowl weekend on Feb. 2-3 before returning to the patterns that preceded the cold snap, with highs in the 20s. At that point, anyone who complains will have to turn in their Real Minnesotan card.
Staff writers Paul Walsh and Tim Harlow contributed to this report.