By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — First the snow, now the cold.

After days of nuisance snowfalls, we’re about to dip below zero once again. Over the past three days, we’ve received about five inches of snow in the Twin Cities. That’s forced Minneapolis, and others, to declare snow emergencies.

“We typically have about three per season so we’re right on track,” said Mike Kennedy, director of transportation, maintenance and repair for the city of Minneapolis.

That’s three snow emergencies for Minneapolis in a typical Minnesota winter. But what people may not realize is that during each emergency the city plows about 400 miles of alley ways and about 3,200 “lane miles” of streets. That’s enough to plow from Minneapolis to Anchorage, Alaska.

“We will have anywhere from 20 to 40 people on the streets taking care of that,” Kennedy said. “We also have crews out taking care of our bike trails and bike lanes on the streets.”

The trick is to get the streets cleared before the temperatures plummet.

“You have to remind yourself that this is January,” WCCO chief meteorologist Chris Shaffer said.

Shaffer is expecting a frigid Thursday morning and an even colder Friday morning, when temperatures could fall double-digits below zero.

“We’ve only fallen below zero five times this January. We average about 10. So it’s not unusual that we will rack up a few more of those,” Shaffer said.

But that’s okay with Ben Holker.

“Just thought I would jump out for the evening and enjoy the weather a little bit,” he said.

On Wednesday night, Ben was the only one fishing on Lake Calhoun. In fact, he was nearly the only one on the ice. When temperatures drop, his spirits rise — with walleyes waiting just below the ice.

“For me it doesn’t slow things down much. The only thing is, I may have to get my pop-out so I don’t freeze at night,” he said.


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