'Nation's Icebox' sets new low, but frigid grip over state to ease

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You know it's really c-c-cold when International Falls sets a new teeth-chattering low temperature record.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that the temperature in the town that brags that it's "the nation's icebox" on Sunday morning dropped to 32 degrees below zero. The National Weather Service reported that reading was 1 degree lower than the Koochiching County city’s previous record for Dec. 15 — 31 below zero. That record was set in 1975.

Sunday morning’s low at the Duluth airport was a mere 16 below zero — well off the low temperature record of 25 below, which was set in 1925.

A warm-up is in the forecast for Monday for the entire state. KARE reported that the cold start to the work week will not linger. The most significant warm up in a couple weeks will come later on Monday after a quick batch of snow showers expected in the morning hours. Afternoon temperatures are expected to warm into the low to mid 20s.

As the week progresses, highs will push into the mid 20s on Tuesday and lower 30s on Wednesday. Colder air is expected to return Thursday, but the next cold snap will not be nearly as severe as the most recent one.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune reminded weather-savvy Minnesota motorists to put together an emergency kit before setting off on a holiday journey. Matt Hehl of AAA Minneapolis said winter motorists should have a blanket, boots, flashlight with extra batteries and an ice scraper. Other items that could be life-saving include a shovel to clear snow from a vehicle, especially around the tailpipe to keep fumes out. Signal flares, reflective triangles and strobe lights could make it easier for rescuers to spot a vehicle that gets stalled in a remote area.

Snacks such as granola bars and chocolate are vital, but liquids are important, too. If you don’t have water, Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol says to pack a metal or enamel cup and use a candle to melt snow. “Eating snow lowers internal body temperature,” he said.

Grabow said other key items include a first aid kit, a plastic whistle, pocket warmers and a banner that tells passers-by to “call police.”

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