Brace yourself. A slide into December-like temperatures will force Minnesotans deeper under their down comforters this week, after people in some parts of the state dug out from more than a foot of snow on Monday.

And by next week, it could feel more like January, when the highs won’t even break 20 and a couple of overnight lows will dip below zero, said meteorologist Paul Douglas.

But don’t despair — at least not yet.

“The odds of having two 30-year worst winters back to back in a slowly warming world is small. Not zero, but small,” Douglas said. “Yes, it’s going to get cold. Yes, we will have snow. The question is, will the cold linger indefinitely all winter?”

Douglas is betting on a typical Minnesota winter, with 25 to 30 nights when the temperature falls below zero, 50 to 55 inches of snow and a few thaws thrown into the mix. Then again, he’s not putting any money down on that bet.

“I wouldn’t bet the farm on any forecast,” Douglas said.

With forecasters predicting the possibility of 14-plus inches of snow on Monday, Twin Cities residents scrambled last weekend to rake up leaves, put gardens to bed and dig out boots, mittens and blankets.

When the storm hit, the metro area received dramatically different snowfall amounts, with the heaviest snowfall staying north. “There was a sharp cutoff, with the far northern metro and central part of the state getting clobbered,” said Tony Zaleski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.

Cambridge dug out from beneath 16.5 inches of snow, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport shoveled 2.6 inches and places in the south metro like Lakeville barely had enough to cover blades of grass.

But the storm created widespread chaos for travelers.

The State Patrol reported 475 crashes, including at least one fatality and 45 injuries. At least 700 vehicles reportedly spun out or went off the road during the storm, the State Patrol reported.

The Carver County Sheriff’s Office also reported one fatality when a car landed in a ditch and the driver was ejected from the car. The accident is under investigation but the Sheriff’s Office sad the roads were icy because of the snow.

At the airport, 175 flights were canceled. Other flights were “significantly delayed” up to three hours through the afternoon and evening on Monday because only two of the three runways could be used, said spokesman Patrick Hogan. At times, only one runway was open while snow was being cleared on the other, he said.

By Tuesday, Hogan expects traffic at the airport will be back to normal.

While most of the storm was over by early evening on Monday, some parts of the metro area were expecting another two inches by Tuesday morning. More than 50 schools in areas hit hardest by Monday’s storm will have two-hour late starts on Tuesday, a day after some of them were forced to close because of the storm.

The metro area could get another hit of snow on Wednesday and Saturday, Zaleski said. And whatever ends up on the ground likely will have staying power because temperatures will slide well below the normal average high of 45 degrees, he said.

The highs for most of the week will hang in the 20s with overnight lows falling into the single digits. By Monday, the Twin Cities might not even crack 20 degrees. “That’s mid-December weather,” he said.

Winter is at least a month ahead of schedule, he said.

“And next week’s temperatures will feel right at home in mid-January,” Douglas said. “Frankly for me, it seems like one of the earliest starts to bitter winter conditions since 1991, when we had the Halloween blizzard. That set the stage for the entire month and the entire winter.”

And this year’s winter debut in November is hard for even some die-hard Minnesotans, especially those who clung to hope that temperatures this winter would be above average as some climate predictions forecasted.

“My message is, this doesn’t necessarily set the tone for the entire winter,” Douglas said. “Don’t read too much into it. It’s not an omen of what’s to come.”