We now return you to your below zero weather...


Hey, you had a break. There was that thaw that lasted a couple of days, followed by Minnesota's biggest snowstorm of the season.

Now it's time to get back to normal, which for this winter seems to mean temperatures below zero.

For most of us, "polar vortex" wasn't even part of our vocabulary until this winter. But now we know what those are. And forecasters say another one of them is descending upon us.

A national weather roundup in the Los Angeles Times offers this disconcerting sentence: "The coldest air will be in Montana through North Dakota and into Minnesota..."

The National Weather Service says Tuesday morning wind chills in Duluth will be around 30 or 35 below zero.

Here's their weather map (the purple part is where it's really cold):

A wind chill advisory that's in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday includes central Minnesota but does not extend into the Twin Cities.

AccuWeather explains that there are actually two waves of frigid air that will hit us in quick succession. Tuesday morning's lows are part one. After a slight warm-up Wednesday, forecasters say the sequel will bring even colder air late Wednesday night and Thursday morning, keeping most of us below zero until midday Friday.

Even when we emerge from under zero, the Weather Service expects nothing higher than the single digits through the weekend.

AccuWeather also noted last week that arctic air usually moderates when it passes over the Great Lakes but that warm-up doesn't happen when the lakes are so thoroughly covered with ice. It's been two decades since Lake Superior has seen this much ice. Instead of the typical 30-40 percent ice cover, this winter it's 90 percent.

Time magazine offers time lapse photos taken by satellite showing Lake Superior freezing over.

Oh, and that thaw we mentioned? The Pioneer Press reports on one of its side effects: a surge in the number of potholes. So far this winter, snow and ice removal have taken precedence over pothole patching. The Pioneer Press says that on March 4 MnDot trucks will begin lining up at a hot mix plant in St. Paul to receive the material that's used for asphalt repair.

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