A blast of Arctic air more intense than anything experienced during the winter of 2011 - 2012 has descended over the Midwest U.S., bringing the coldest temperatures in nearly two years. The low hit -2°F Monday morning in Des Moines, Iowa
, marking the first day since February 10, 2011 that Des Moines had dropped below zero. The 710 consecutive days the city had gone without reaching 0°F was the longest such streak on record (previous record: 368 straight days, beginning January 23, 1954.) In Minneapolis
, the mercury dropped to -10°F Monday morning, the coldest day since February 10, 2011. With the high temperature not expected to get above zero Monday, the city will likely snap its record-long streak of just over four years without a high temperature above 0°F. The last time the high temperature at the Minneapolis airport was below zero was on January 15, 2009, when the thermometer climbed to only -6°F. The previous longest such streak since record keeping began in 1872 was a 3.1 year streak that ended in January 2004. Strong winds accompanying today's cold blast have dropped the wind chill to a dangerously cold -40 to -50°F across much of Minnesota and North Dakota. The wind chill bottomed out at -51°F at Langdon, North Dakota
at 4:35 CST Monday morning, thanks to a temperature of -22° combined with a wind of 17 mph. The wind chill hit -46°F at nearby Devils Lake
and -51° at Hamden.
The lowest wind chill in Minnesota was at Le Center: -43°F. Brr!