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NASA reveals infrared replay of polar vortex invading Minnesota


Our polar vortex days are behind us – for now – and the end result is Minnesotans feeling the urge to roll their vehicle windows down in the much warmer temperatures, which at about zero degrees Friday morning would still shut down most of the rest of the country. 

The three-day deep freeze was captured by NASA's infrared technology on a satellite orbiting Earth, and the space experts turned it into a mesmerizing GIF that shows the polar vortex moving from Canada on Jan. 20 into the Midwest through Jan. 29, with Minnesota right in the middle of the purple blob. 


What's pretty funny about NASA releasing the GIF is that it says the polar vortex was responsible for producing "surface air temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit (also -40 degrees Celsius) and wind chill readings as low as the -50s and -60s Fahrenheit." 

Um. It got colder than that in northern Minnesota. Check out the coldest temps observed up north, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth

  • -56F in Cotton on Jan. 31
  • -56F in Cotton on Jan. 27
  • -50F in Kabetogama on Jan. 31
  • -46 in International Falls on Jan. 27

You can see more of the low temperature extremes for northwest Minnesota right here, and for the coverage area the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service tracks right here

By the way, we've got another shot of Arctic air coming after things warm-up into the 30s and maybe even 40s in parts of Minnesota this weekend. It could be a sloppy Monday with rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow, and then the bottom falls out again as another extended period of cold air arrives, although it probably won't be as bad as what we just had. 

Looks like it'll get cold for a couple of weeks after a brief warm-up this weekend. 

Looks like it'll get cold for a couple of weeks after a brief warm-up this weekend. 

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