The seriously cold cold swooped into Minnesota on Christmas Day and like out-of-town houseguests, perhaps, was settling in a little too comfortably on the living-room sofa.
The deep chills were forecast through the New Year, meaning the front steps, porch or garage may reliably be used as extra freezer space or to put a quick chill on the Champagne for continued holiday celebrations.
The high Monday in the Twin Cities was 3-below. The entire state was and will remain under a windchill advisory for much of the week.
Tom Halsall of St. Paul said he felt it on certain stretches of Summit Avenue on his 1 mile-plus walk with his dog, Scooby. He felt it immediately upon stepping outside. “It was like, ‘oh my God, this is ridiculous,’ ” Halsall said. He was wearing layers while Scooby, his robust Bernese Mountain Dog, a breed native to the Swiss Alps, lay down on the snow and, ah, chilled out.
Those without deep fur coats were advised to stay upright with their skin covered and feet moving. Outdoor fitness enthusiasts weren’t out in force Monday, but a few well-dressed runners and walkers could be spotted, taking in a mostly bright, sunshiny day.
It was too cold Monday, however, for those crazy guys who can be seen running in shorts on winter days that are just average cold. In the Twin Cities, the windchill hovered about 30-below. The entire northern third of the state saw windchills around 40-below.
With that combo of temperature and wind, exposed skin can freeze within 10 minutes and become painful much faster than that.
Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas said the weather was nowhere near record levels. In 1879, it was 39-below, he said. “It’s gotten a lot colder, which is not to say it’s not uncomfortable” now, he said.
In recent years, the low dropped to 6-below zero on Christmas in 2008 and to 17-below in 2000.
On the upside, Douglas noted the sunshine. “Our coldest days are sunny, it sweeps away the gray. In a weird way, many people are in a better mood” on colder days, he said.
Temperatures were to dip a couple more degrees Tuesday throughout the state before climbing above zero on Wednesday, with a forecast high of 4 degrees (above zero!) for the Twin Cities, according to the National Weather Service. Thursday could see snow flurries.
Despite a cold spike over the coming New Year’s weekend and continued chill through the next couple of weeks, temperatures trend inexorably upward in three weeks, Douglas said. Minnesotans aren’t without weapons to push back against the cold.
Although it hasn’t caught on widely yet, Tuesday is National Whiners Day, so have at it.
If that doesn’t work, step into a 95-degree plus yoga studio. Kate Cherne, an instructor at CorePower Yoga on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, said winter — even extreme cold — boosts attendance. “You’d think people wouldn’t want to leave their house, but people come out for this because they know for an hour it’s going to be 100 degrees in that room,” she said, adding that the warmth combats the physical clenching from the ice and cold. “It helps to come in here and relax and open up.”
Even though the weather was cold-cold by Minnesota standards, some weren’t conceding yet. There was the guy wearing shirtsleeves and firing up his cigarette outside a downtown hotel. One street over, another woman speedwalked from car to restaurant sans jacket.
So at least for some, the answer to the age-old question of whether it’s cold enough yet, the answer would be no. Tuesday is another day and winter isn’t done with us yet.
As for that big football game, the Super Bowl on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, Douglas said it’s too soon to say. “The atmosphere hasn’t decided what it wants to be yet,” he said. “It could be 40s and rain to ice to a blizzard.”