Area sees coldest temps in seven years

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When the temperature fell to a minus 28 degrees in Benson early Sunday morning it was the coldest temperature the area has seen in nearly seven years. Back in January 2010 it fell to 35 below zero Jan. 2 and 31 below Jan. 3.

The National Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning for western central Minnesota Friday with 3 to 6 inches of snow forecasted. But as the snow moved eastward, the NWS issued a wind chill warning as temperatures fell below zero Saturday and winds picked up gusting to 25 mph. Wind chills Saturday night fell as low as a minus 37 degrees.

Through the night the temperature continued to fall Saturday reaching a minus 24 degrees before midnight.

Early Sunday morning the temperature hit the record low of 28 degrees below zero breaking the old Dec. 18 record of minus 24 set back in 1983. Fortunately, the winds had moderated. Still with the  at 28 below, a wind of just 7 mph created a dangerous wind chill of a minus 47 degrees. Exposed skin will freeze in less that 10 minutes when wind chills approach a minus 50 degrees.

Bitterly cold temperatures lingered through the day Sunday, though with winds switching to the south a gradual warm up began. By shortly before midnight Sunday it was up to a minus 2 degrees.

Sunday’s bitter cold

Dec. 18    High    Low    Windchill
Benson    - 2    - 28    - 47
Willmar    - 2    - 29    - 46
Appleton    5    - 27    - 43
Glenwood    0    - 26    - 44
Morris    - 2     - 26    - 46
Montevideo    3    - 24    - 40

Monday brought significantly warmer temperatures with the high reaching 30 degrees – 58 degrees warmer than Sunday morning’s record low. Highs in the low 30s and upper 20s were forecast through Friday as the warmer weather sticks around. Christmas Eve Saturday is forecast to see a high in the mid-20s with Christmas Day Sunday seeing a high in the low 30s.


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