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Cold snap hits the lakes area

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Below-zero temperatures and far below-zero wind chills met the lakes area Saturday, Jan. 19, with the Pine River dam temperature hitting 21 degrees below zero and the Brainerd Airport measuring 22 below zero Tuesday, Jan. 22. The wind chill reached 35 degrees below zero Monday morning, Jan. 21, at the Pine River Regional Airport.

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Kevin Kraujalis, meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth, said this is the coldest weather the area has seen in four years.

However, it isn’t in the record-setting range. The NWS reports that temperatures at the Pine River dam plummeted to 53 degrees below zero on Jan. 12, 1912.

Kraujalis said the cold weather is caused by a jet stream that dipped south over the north central part of the United States, allowing an Arctic high pressure system to move over the state.

Pine River-Backus Schools had a two-hour late start Tuesday morning, and early childhood classes were canceled. Pequot Lakes Schools had no morning delay.

Kraujalis said that prior to the cold temperatures that rolled in Saturday, Jan. 19, the month was averaging nine degrees above average. The normal high is around 20 above zero, he said.

“You need to wear a hat and gloves out there, where earlier you could get away without it,” he said.

A hazardous weather outlook issued by the NWS Tuesday said that very cold temperatures would persist in the northland through Thursday.

The cold snap will break this weekend, Kraujalis said, when temperatures will actually go above average to 25 above on Sunday, Jan. 27.

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