By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s no denying winter has arrived in Minnesota. Many of us have sent us questions about our recent blast of frigid air this week. So we thought we’d answer your cold weather Good Questions in this week’s Reply All. Stay warm, everyone!

Tracey from Clear Lake asked: When is it too cold for kids to play outside?

It depends. The Minnesota Department of Education leaves that decision up to the individual school districts. At Bloomington, Stillwater and Anoka-Hennepin schools, there’s no outside recess when the temperature is below zero degrees and/or if there’s a negative 10-degree wind chill factor.

According to Allina Medical Clinic, pediatrician Dr. Eric Barth says parents should consider a number of factors like making sure the children are bundled up and dry. He says he’d be very cautious in temperatures below zero, especially with kids below 5 years old. He says most parents understand children will play without telling anyone they’re cold, so parents should check on them more often. If a child is persistently shivering, has chattering teeth or has very cold fingers and toes, it’s time to go inside.

Nuurabdullahi wanted to know: Should I warm up my car before driving it when it’s this cold?

According to Nick from Isles Auto Body and Paul from Hagen’s Auto Body, the answer is yes. It’s only necessary to heat for a couple of minutes and a car manual will likely tell a person that length of time. Paul Hagen says heating up the car will give the oil time to heat up before it starts moving in the motor.

But before running your car, make sure you consider idling laws in your city. In Minneapolis, you can’t idle more than three minutes, but it goes up to 15 minutes when it’s below zero. Extra consideration is also given for heating a car or defrosting windows.

Sue from St. Cloud asked: How do deer drink water when our lakes and ponds freeze?

Paul Telander with the Wildlife Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says deer need less water in the winter than in the summer. He says the animals get moisture from the twigs and branches they eat because about half of that food is water. They also find flowing rivers or streams as well as eat snow. Deer are also able to produce water through their digestive tract.


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