Record cold could be ahead


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – Possible record low temperatures are in the forecast for Dickinson and Iron counties early next week.

“A cold front is pushing through (this) afternoon and after that, it will be pretty chilly,” said Steven Fleegel, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Marquette. “We’ll be getting a pretty good shot of arctic air.”

According to Fleegel, high temperatures on Sunday and Tuesday are expected to be around zero degrees. Monday’s high will struggle to get to 10 degrees below zero, he said.

Overnight low temperatures between those days will be even more frigid, falling to around 25 degrees below zero. With the wind chill, temperatures may dip to between 40 and 45 degrees below zero.

Overall, Monday is expected to offer the coldest temperatures of the week. Fleegel said that a new record low on that date is possible.

Record low temperatures, without the wind chill, for Jan. 6 are as follows: 40 degrees below zero in 1912 at the West Iron County Sewer Authority in Caspian, 29 degrees below zero in 1912 at the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Wastewater Treatment Plant in Breitung Township, and 15 degrees below zero in 2009 at the Ford Airport in Kingsford.

Statistics for Ford Airport have only been kept since 1996.

Not only will Monday be bitterly cold, but it is also scheduled to be the first day back to school for most area students.

Breitung Township Schools Superintendent Craig Allen explained that there is not a specific temperature that triggers a school delay or cancellation.

“It’s not an exact science, you have to take a lot of data into account,” he added.

Allen said that temperatures around 20 degrees below zero and wind chills around 25 degrees below zero are causes for concern. Although buses will start in those temperatures, children should not be waiting at bus stops or walking to school when it is that cold, he said.

Before calling a two-hour delay or a cancellation, Allen will check temperatures across Kingsford and Breitung Township, as there can be quite a bit of variation. He then tries to determine if temperatures will rise, stay about the same, or drop within the next few hours. Finally, he consults with other area superintendents.

The final call has to be made by about 5:30 a.m.

“It’s not as easy to make a decision over cold weather as it is for snow,” Allen noted. “You can’t sand and salt the cold – it’s a whole different ball game.”

To prepare for the cold weather, Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Department of Health Services, and ReadyWisconsin have put together a list of recommendations for the public.

Tips include:

– Limiting time outside in order to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.

Some symptoms of frostbite are a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ear tips, and the tip of the nose. Some symptoms of hypothermia are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness.

Seek medical care immediately if these symptoms are present.

– Not running gasoline or propane heaters inside homes or unventilated garages, as any heating system that burns fuel will produce carbon monoxide.

Symptoms or overexposure to carbon monoxide are headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and confusion.

Anyone who experiences these symptoms should immediately seek fresh air and call 911.

– Keeping pets indoors, and not leaving them alone in vehicles.

– Traveling with a winter emergency kit in the vehicle. Items to include in the kit are candles and matches, a flashlight, pocket knife, snacks, cell phone adapter, blanket, and extra clothing.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is