Dangerous wind chills move in as snow wraps up
Published 12:19 pm Monday, January 28, 2019
After another round of snow over the weekend, Albert Lea and the region are bracing for record low temperatures over the next few days.
In anticipation of the dangerously cold wind chills, Albert Lea Area Schools, Alden-Conger School, Lake Mills Community Schools, Northwood-Kensett Community School, Glenville-Emmons School, NRHEG School and United South Central canceled classes Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wind chills were expected to fall to 25 to 35 degrees below zero Monday night and Tuesday morning and drop to as low as 60 below zero Tuesday through Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
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The wind chills could break former wind chill records.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the coldest wind chill ever recorded in the Twin Cities was 67 degrees below zero on Jan. 22, 1937. On that date, the temperature was 34 degrees below zero with a wind speed of 20 mph. The DNR stated all traffic in the Twin Cities was severely hampered and several fatalities were caused by the cold.
According to the Weather Service, the record temperature for Wednesday in the Twin Cities is 30 below zero, and the record for Thursday is 27 below.
The weather agency is forecasting the low temperature for Albert Lea to be 33 below zero on Tuesday and 36 below zero on Wednesday.
The wind chill could be life-threatening for those spending any prolonged period outdoors without proper clothing. Frostbite on exposed skin can occur in as little as five minutes, the Weather Service states.
Albert Lea and much of southern Minnesota are under a wind chill warning from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 9 a.m. Thursday.
The bitter wind chills come after 7.3 inches of snow fell in Albert Lea Sunday through Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service, with 7.2 inches of snow in Ellendale and Owatonna and 5 inches in Minnesota Lake and Austin.
How to avoid frozen pipes during bitter cold temps
With potential historic cold wind chills expected over the next few days, residents should take extra precaution to protect their homes against frozen pipes.
Don Vanderploeg of Jim & Dude’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning gave the following tips to prevent pipes from freezing:
• Don’t turn the heat down too low overnight or if you’re going away for the weekend. Never go below 55 degrees or you will risk freezing pipes.
• If your kitchen or bathroom sinks are on outside walls, keep the cupboard doors below the sink open.
• If your home has a history of having pipes freeze, turn the faucet on and let it run a stream the width of pencil lead to keep the water moving for the next few days.
• Check for air leakage. If you have somewhere where air is blowing in through your foundation, plug it up to keep the cold air from coming in. If that cold air hits a pipe it could freeze it quickly.