While there is a warmup in the forecast to end the month, Mother Nature is reminding Northlanders what January in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin is all about - Downright cold temperatures.
Ahead of some of the coldest wind chills of the season, the National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning for much of Northern Minnesota, and a wind chill advisory for the remaining parts of the Northland, including the Twin Ports area.
Both the warning and advisory (mapped out below) go into effect Monday evening, and extend through Tuesday morning. Read on for the details on each weather alert.
What's the difference between a wind chill advisory and wind chill warning?
As the National Weather Service explains, there are actually three levels of cold weather alerts they issue. The specific numbers (wind chill values) that warrant each of these alerts varies from place to place around the country, but they define them as follows:
A wind chill advisory means that you should be aware cold weather is coming. The National Weather Service issues a wind chill advisory when seasonably cold wind chill values (but not extremely cold values) are expected or occurring. While this is the lowest alert of the three, conditions during wind chill advisories can still be dangerous for people and animals. You should take proper precautions to dress appropriately and cover exposed skin to avoid frostbite or hypothermia.
A wind chill watch (which has not been issued for this week) indicates a need to be prepared for the potential of dangerous cold weather. Similar to other watches, this means you should be on a alert, or "watch out" for the potential of dangerous cold. These alerts are to give you time to prepare for potential cold weather, doing things like being sure your vehicle has at least a half-tank of gas, your winter survival kit is ready for use, and you are alert for the potential of dangerous weather ahead.
A wind chill warning means that dangerous cold is either expected to occur soon, or is occurring. If you are in an area with a wind chill warning, avoid going outside during the coldest parts of the day. If you do go outside, dress in layers, cover exposed skin, and make sure at least one other person knows your whereabouts. Update them when you arrive safely at your destination.
What to know about this week's wind chill warning
This is the more severe of the two alerts issued by the National Weather Service, indicating a potential of dangerous wind chills sinking to levels as low as -45 degrees in the warned area in grayish-blue overnight Monday, into Tuesday.
The dangerous combination of cold air and wind can lead to frostbite on exposed skin in a matter of minutes.
During the coldest part of this timeframe, air temperatures in parts of the warning area could sink into levels between -20 and -30, with wind chills between -40 and -50.
This warning goes into effect at 5 am Tuesday morning, and will remain in effect until noon on Tuesday.
Similar conditions are expected again Tuesday night into Wednesday, so be on the lookout for an additional warning or advisory to be issued for that timeframe.
What to know about this week's wind chill advisory
This alert, which includes the Twin Ports, areas near Lake Superior, and points south, could see wind chill values as cold as -40 degrees.
While this area is under the "less severe" advisory alert, temperatures won't be much different from areas in the wind chill warning, with frostbite possible within minutes for exposed skin.
During the coldest parts of this advisory, areas impacted will see air temperatures sink into the teens below zero, with wind chills as low as -30 to -40 degrees.
This alert goes into effect at 8 pm Monday evening, and remains in effect through noon Tuesday.
As with the area under a warning, similar conditions are expected Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. That said, be on the lookout for another alert for that timeframe.
A bit of good news...
The good news is that a "warmup" is expected through the day Wednesday and remaining into the weekend. While wind chills will still remain near zero, air temperatures will head into the teens or twenties to wrap up the week, offering a bit of relief after a couple days of bitter cold.