BRRRR!!! Low in Mitchell is -13, wind chill sinks to -40
Mail carrier Michelle Timmerman was bundled in three layers Monday morning as she walked her route around northern Mitchell.
Timmerman has been a mail carrier for 14 years and said she just deals with weather as it comes. Monday she wore long johns, ski pants and insulated sweat pants to stay warm. She also wore three stocking caps, plus the hood of her heavy coat, and insulated mittens.
“We can also get warmers for our hands at the post office,” she said. “We joked we should tape them all over our bodies before going out.”
Monday’s high of 3 degrees below zero did not break any records, but it was still chilly enough to cause school cancellations and other weather-related closures and schedule adjustments. The low temperature Monday was 13 degrees below zero. The record low for Jan. 6 in Mitchell is 32 degrees below zero in 1988. NWS Meteorologist Tim Masters said the coldest wind chill for the Mitchell area Monday morning was 40 below zero.
At County Fair Food Store, employees were kept indoors. Manager Justin Luther said the store’s associates are its most valuable asset, and he wanted to keep them safe. He chose to make any grocery carryout associates remain inside.
“It’s the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve kept associates inside,” he said.
Luther said he announced on social media and the store’s website Monday morning that carryout service would not be available. Instead, County Fair offered drive-up service, which is not typically offered, he said.
The National Weather Service had predicted that the high for Monday might at least tie the day’s record low maximum temperature at 11 degrees below zero. But the temperature kept rising into the afternoon.
The wind and wind chill didn’t stop cattle farmers from taking care of livestock.
Dave Strand, of Mitchell, works for Steve Hoffman just south of Mitchell. Strand said he and Jeremy Schladweiler, another hired hand, were out like normal Monday around 7:30 a.m. The only difference in the morning routine aside from the temperature was they had to break ice on the water tanks and provide extra feed for the cattle.
He said they started calving two weeks ago, but this cold weather hasn’t hampered the process. The calves are in the barn and safe, he said.
Walmart didn’t expect much business Monday, but there were still plenty of carts to wrangle in the parking lot. Assistant Manager Andrew Mefferd said the company has protocol to protect employees during hot and cold weather.
Luke Nagel collected carts Monday as he usually does, but did it with a few more layers on, including a face mask.
“He’ll spend 10 to 15 minutes outside at a time,” Mefferd said. “Otherwise, he did other things inside.”
Mitchell police officers were a little luckier than others during the bitter cold. Officer Pat Oleson said usually officers on patrol will stay in their vehicles, unless they have to get out. “But we carry our cold-weather gear with us,” he said. They have a heavy coat, head gear, mittens, a pair of insulated boots and face gear so they are prepared to be outdoors at an accident scene, for example.
Over the next few days, the area can expect temperatures to be on the rise. Masters said the wind will die down today, and Mitchell will have a high temperature around 10 degrees. By Friday, high temps could be in the 30s.