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Weather turning for the worse

By Staff | Jan 3, 2014

If you think it’s cold now, just wait a couple days and hold on to your mittens.

In what’s called the coldest Arctic outbreak since the 1990s, temperatures are expected Sunday to plunge into the 30s below zero in northern Minnesota, and in the minus-20s for much of the rest of Minnesota.

It will be hardly any better for Estherville where a high of 11 is expected Saturday with an overnight low of 13 below and windchills of minus 20.

A high of minus 9 is expected in Estherville Sunday with a low of minus 25. Combine that with northwest winds at 14 miles an hour, and windchills will plummet.

Monday could be brutal, with temperatures only climbing to minus 10 with a low of minus 18. Expect north/northwest winds of 27 miles an hour.

Don’t look for temperatures to climb above zero again until Tuesday, when a high of 5 is expected, with brisk winds west/southwest at 17.

Following are some winter safety/survival tips if you’re out and about.

First of all, why go anywhere unless you have to. Maybe it’s best to just stock up on groceries and stay inside where it’s warm. Get a movie, warm up some hot cocoa and make some popcorn and curl up with that special person or special book.

If you must go outside, dress warm. And in the Midwest, we all know what that means – a warm cap, gloves or mittens and adequate covering. And those longjohns of Grandpa’s you always thought were so dorky? Now might be a real good time to wear them.

If you’re one of those hardy souls that enjoys outdoor sports, remember that wool continues to keep you warm even when it’s damp. Layered clothing also helps keep you warm by trapping air layers.

If you’re going to be out hunting or ice fishing, try putting a little mink oil on those boots. It keeps out the moisture plus helps preserve leather. Plus it adds one more layer to help keep you warm.

If you’re hitting the road, make sure you have a full tank of gas. Fuel system problems happen more often on an empty tank since it’s easier for condensation to occur.

Make sure you have adequate tread on those tires. The simple rule of thumb is that if you stick a penny into your tire tread, it should go at least to the top of Lincoln’s head. And slow down.

Battery cables are a great idea and even better is a portable jump starter. They’re available at just about all farm and home stores, and one use will just about pay for it.

Carry emergency gear in case you should get stranded or have car trouble. If you have a sleeping bag good to minus 20, fantastic. If not, carry warm blankets or insulated coveralls.

Survival candles are available at just about all hardware stores. Even a candle is enough in a small confined space such as a car to help ensure your survival.

Also bring plenty of water and survival foods such as nuts, granola, energy bars or chocolate. And make sure your cell phone is fully charged before leaving on a long trip. Also make sure you carry a flashlight and that your spare is properly inflated and that you are able to access your jack.

And, above all else, tell someone what your travel plans are and when you plan to arrive.

Remember, a little precaution now can help prevent a lot of problems down the road.