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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The last time Minnesota saw temps below zero this late in January was more than 120 years ago.
That streak ended at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday when we first dipped below zero. Those heading outside Thursday morning are feeling the sting — it was around -10 at 5 :30 a.m.
Among the extreme wind chill temperatures reported around the state Thursday morning were 40 degrees below zero in Staples and International Falls, 41 below in Duluth, Bemidji and Ely, 43 below in Park Rapids and a fresh 47 below in Grand Marais.
Doctors fear winter’s late appearance puts us at greater risk for frostbite simply because we’re not prepared. By noon, Hennepin had reported four cases of frostbite during the past 24 hours. Regions Hospital reported one case of hypothermia, and Allina said they had one case of frostbite.
Emergency medicine Doctor Kate Katzung cautions everyone to look out for signs of frostbite.
“First stage would be the frost nip, that’s going to be redness and pain. Second stage is where we become a little more concerned, that’s where you’re feeling numbness and we see some blanching of the skin, so it’s becoming white,” said Katzung.
If you get frostbite, don’t put hot water on the area and don’t rub your skin. Doctors say to use warm water and drink something hot. And if you have blisters or your skin is gray or white you need to call a doctor right away.
It is not a day when you want the kids at the bus stop too long. Several schools are delayed because of the freezing temps. Doctors caution to wear lots of layers — a hat and heavy gloves or mittens and maybe something to cover your face.
One of the groups most at risk: the more than 9,000 homeless people looking for shelter. Twin Cities shelters report they are over capacity.
For more resources on how to help the homeless, click here.