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I just took this picture with my cell phone camera as my co-worker and I came across the Veterans Memorial Bridge into Mankato a few minutes ago. As you can see, his wipers were a bit frozen up, so they weren’t clearing well. You can also get a pretty good idea what an inch of snow is doing to our driving conditions this morning. It’s dicey out there!

People are saying that we are finally having one of those good old Minnesota winters that we haven’t had for quite a number of years. Let’s see, we have some twenty inches of snow on the ground and lots of poor driving conditions. We just got done with a “snow emergency” that our little city declared after the Christmas snowstorm, but there is still a lot of snow that needs to be moved before conditions return to near-normal. We’ve had weather already in which night-time low temperatures have fallen to eight or nine degrees below zero, with wind chill temps at -20 or colder.

Yeah, that sounds fairly normal for a Minnesota winter. We haven’t had two weeks of -20 weather yet, but when that comes it’s more likely to come in January or February, although I have seen such cold temps for extended periods as early as November!

If I remember right, the coldest temperature I have experienced was minus 34 degrees, which was probably 25-30 years ago. I can remember the haze that hung over the town, because all the vapor in the air was frozen. It was pretty rare to find any cars that would start in that weather, unless they were sitting overnight in a warm garage.

More recently the coldest temp was minus 30, probably ten years ago or so. That’s the night the pipe under our bathroom vanity froze up. Fortunately I discovered it early and warmed it with a hair drier, and it thawed out without breaking the pipe. It’s no fun seeing those glaciers around the trailer park where people’s pipes have frozen and busted. It would be even less fun if it was our house!

I suppose this is turning out to be a regular Minnesota winter. Nothing too spectacular, quite a bit of snow and lots of cold, but neither in any extremes. It’s just another thing we have to put up with if we want to live here in the frozen northland!