Much will be made of our upcoming subzero weekend. It will lead local TV news, show up on the front page of the newspaper. Neighbors will gasp in feigned astonishment. But it’s a pale imitation of the cold waves that routinely gripped Minnesota as recently as the 1970s and early ’80s. A generation ago the mercury would stay below zero for extended periods, even a week or two. The trend is for shorter winters, with fewer subzero flings and record lows.

That won’t matter much as aerobic shivering overtakes Minnesota this weekend; temps may stay below zero for the better part of three to four days. Sunday looks like the coldest day with the greatest risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Morning windchills may dip into the 35-45 below range.

At least the sun will be out. Our coldest days pull clear, dry Canadian air southward, which helps to remove SOME of the sting. Cold comfort.

Temperatures moderate next week. A thaw is eight days away; a mild bias into February. But for a few days, Minnesota’s weather lives up to its jaw-dropping reputation.