Anyone who held out hope that we'd make it through the winter of 2020-2021 with fairly decent temperatures is having those hopes dashed in a big way.

We're all advised to find our warmest clothes and bundle up from head to toe when we venture outside in the next week. It was inevitable - temperatures are plunging below zero.

Dangerously cold temperatures and strong winds leading to life-threatening wind chills are on tap this weekend with frigid temperatures lingering through next week, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.

A wind chill advisory is in effect for Crow Wing and Cass counties, along with most of central and northeast Minnesota, from midnight Friday, Feb. 5, through noon Tuesday, Feb. 9. Wind chill warnings may be needed Saturday night, Feb. 6, the weather service said. The cold will persist into next week.

Be prepared for the frigid weekend, the weather service said, as dangerous wind chills may cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes. The coldest wind chills are on track for Saturday night, Feb. 6, and Sunday morning, Feb. 7.

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Temperatures are forecast to reach 36 degrees below zero in Crow Wing, Cass and surrounding counties.

The weather service offers the following wind chill safety tips:

  • Minimize exposure: Avoid exposure during the coldest wind chills.
  • Stay dry: Wet clothing causes body heat to be lost faster. Wear waterproof insulated boots.
  • Stay covered: Wear a hat and gloves! At least half your body heat is lost if your head is not covered.
  • Dress in layers: Trapped air between layers helps to insulate.

Wind chill is how the wind and cold feel on exposed skin. Wind and cold combined carry heat away from the body, which can cause frostbite and/or hypothermia.

  • A wind chill watch means there is a potential for the combination of very cold air and wind to create dangerously low wind chill values (-40F or below) - Plan ahead!
  • A wind chill warning is issued when dangerous, life-threatening wind chills are likely (-40F or below) - Take action to protect yourself from the cold!
  • A wind chill advisory means the combination of cold air and wind will create very cold wind chills (-25 to -40F), which could be dangerous without appropriate preparation - Use caution!
  • Wind chill advisory = Frostbite in 15-30 minutes.

  • Wind chill warning = Frostbite in 10 minutes or less!