Nine inches of snow fell in Mankato Sunday night into Monday morning.
“We are still dealing with this snow as we head through the day,” said WeatherEye Meteorologist Megan Mulford, “Then some scattered flurries as we head into the afternoon. We’re going to see wind gusts as high as 30-to-35, causing some travel concerns.”
Mulford added that a winter storm warning will remain in effect until noon Monday, and then a wind chill warning will begin Monday night with, “Actual temperatures at 11 below zero, wind chill values as low as minus 29. Very, very cold situation. Even colder tomorrow and into tomorrow night.”
Tuesday night temperatures are expected to drop to 29 below, with wind chills as low as minus 50.
The combination of the snow, expected high winds, and dangerous cold has the Minnesota Department of Transportation warning that travel is challenging now and may not improve any time soon.
“It will probably be the case where travel will be affected by this snowstorm through most of the week. Especially after those temperatures drop and most of our chemicals become very ineffective,” explained District 7 Maintenance Engineer Jed Fallgren.
Red Cross-Minnesota is also reminding drivers to pay attention to local forecasts and road conditions. Carrie Carlson-Guest said, “We recommend that if there is a watch or warning out, to really minimize travel if necessary. But, always have that disaster supply kit in your vehicle.”
In addition to warm clothing, Carrie Carlson-Guest added that kit should include, “Water, food, protein bars are great to keep in there, also a little chocolate is good. A flashlight, battery-powered or a crank radio is also helpful, extra batteries, first aid kit, that sort of thing.”
Mike Hanson with the Department of Public Safety is also urging drivers to put away the distractions, particularly on snow covered roads. “The cell phone and the electronic devices that we’re all so addicted to, they have a time and a place, but when you’re driving, that is not the time and that is not the place,” he stated.
For those that don’t heed the warning, Hanson reminds, “For a first offense it’s a $50 fine plus a $75 court surcharge that goes with that. If you happen to get caught again that fine jumps up to $225 .”
Law enforcement officials statewide issued more than 9,500 tickets for texting while driving in 2018; a 30-percent increase over the previous year. There’s a push at the State Capitol this session to ban cell phone use behind the wheel, unless you’re in hands-free mode.
With an extreme temperature drop on the way, the risk of cold-related injury such as frostbite can increase substantially. Mayo Clinic Dr. Sanj Kakar said anyone headed outdoors should, “Literally, think of it as freezing of the tissues.” He added that some are at greater risk, including patients with diabetes, patients who have a previous history of frostbite are prone to it, the elderly or your very young children, and even those that are simply dehydrated. Areas most vulnerable to frostbite are the nose, ears, fingers, and toes.