by Cori Hilsgen
Temperatures in the central Minnesota area dropped to dangerously cold levels last weekend due to a northern cold air mass.
The National Weather Service issued early warnings about the “dangerous and historic cold-air outbreak” which lasted from Saturday evening until Tuesday noon. Windchill warnings issued covered 20 states.
Local wind chills dropped to 50- to 60-degrees-below zero. At 50-degrees-below-zero temperatures, frostbite can occur in five minutes.
The cold streak was compared to a six-day stretch in 1996 when temperatures stayed at 20-degrees-below zero or colder every morning.
Gov. Mark Dayton ordered a statewide closing of schools Monday. Area colleges, churches and other activities were also cancelled. Early warnings and cancellations allowed many people to make other childcare arrangements for Monday. The St. Cloud School District 742 and many other regional schools and events were also canceled Tuesday.
Concerns were expressed for the area’s homeless population and pets that normally stay outside. Many shelters remained open to offer additional help.