Potentially record-setting cold rolls into area
It could be historically cold today in Mitchell.
The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 11 degrees below zero. That ties the lowest high temperature ever recorded in the city for Jan. 6, which was set at 11 below zero in 1912.
A combination of brutally cold air and blustery winds that moved into the region this weekend is expected to cause wind chills colder than any seen in the region since the mid-1990s.
“This is something that hasn’t happened for quite a while,” said Philip Schumacher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls.
The National Weather Service forecast a low approaching 20 below zero for Sunday night, with a wind chill as low 46 below zero.
For today, the near-record cold high temperature will likely be accompanied by winds between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph and a wind chill as low as 47 below zero.
“At these temperatures, exposed skin can freeze within minutes,” Schumacher said. “Your life can be in danger in less than an hour should you be outside without adequate clothing.”
A wind chill warning will be in effect for the region until at least 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The high temperature for Tuesday is expected to rise to 7 degrees, and though the winds are expected to calm, the wind chill could still be as low as 18 below zero.
“Tuesday will seem much warmer to everybody,” Schumacher said.
On Friday night, freezing rain in the area made road conditions hazardous for drivers. In just a few hours, at least 30 cars slid off roads and into ditches within a 10-mile radius around Mitchell, according to Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink.
“We were pretty hectic there for a while,” Brink said. “Dispatch was getting call after call.”
Despite the number of cars involved in incidents that night, no serious injuries were reported, Brink said.