Tower still stands as the state record-holder for coldest air temperature ever observed with its -60F reading on Feb. 2, 1996, but another northern Minnesota town gave it a run for its money Wednesday morning.
The unincorporated town of Cotton, located about 35 miles north of Duluth, dropped down to a -56F.
According to Wall Street Journal disaster reporter Erin Ailworth, it prompted the Duluth office of the National Weather Service (NWS) to hurry meteorologists to the location just in case the record was broken, adding that fog in the area likely kept the temp from going even lower.
It's definitely one of the coldest ever temperatures observed in Minnesota. In fact, it might be the third-coldest of all time, trailing only the -60F mark in Tower and a -57F temp in Embarrass on Jan. 20, 1996.
Some residents of Embarrass like to think they own the record. As KSTP notes, Embarrass' official thermometer malfunctioned Feb. 2, 1996, but a couple of guys sleeping in a snow cave claim they measured a temp of -72F.
The NWS doesn't recognize it as official, so Tower keeps the record.
Basically, 1996 was crazy cold in Minnesota. In Embarrass it reached -57F on Jan. 20, -55F on Jan. 31, -54F on Feb. 1, -53F on Feb. 2 and -56F on Feb. 4.
Here's a map to give you a better idea of where Cotton, Minnesota, can be found.