Cold weather snap garners mixed reactions

by Brian Close

Minnesota winter is here.
University students and fellow Minnesotans experienced on Tuesday the coldest day of the winter thus far, following the coldest night of the season.
Monday night had the lowest temperature (-23 degrees) since Christmas 1996, said Jen Hamen, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Although some University students complained about the cold, others were happy that the chill had blown in.
“I am out playing in this; It doesn’t bother me at all,” said Curtis Olsen, a graduate student at the University.
Matthew Smith, a College of Liberal Arts senior, said that though December’s warmth was a nice change, “it’s nice to see the weather we’re used to here.”
December certainly was a change. Minnesota experienced one of the warmest Decembers of the 20th century this year.
“I think we got acclimated to that, so this below-zero weather is hard to adjust to,” said Mark Seeley, a professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate.
Last December had an average temperature of 26.9 degrees. By contrast, December’s average temperature this year was 17.9 degrees, said Jim Zandlo, a state climatologist with the Department of Natural Resources.
Cold weather enthusiasts may be disappointed this weekend, however, as the weather is expected to change again.
“It looks like everything will shift back north a little bit. That will keep us warmer for the weekend,” Hamen said.
Seeley agreed. “It looks like it’s only going to be a brief excursion down into below-normal values,” he said.
Some experts have attributed changes in the weather to El Ni¤o, an equatorial strip of warm water that has caused global climactic changes.
This year, El Ni¤o is larger than in recent years.
Seeley said this cold period is not caused by the phenomenon.
“I don’t think it’s attributable at all to El Ni¤o,” he said.
Seeley said the change is caused by cold Arctic air from Canada that has drifted down to the state.
The cold has also had an effect on businesses in the area.
Shiloh Oelkers, former University student and assistant manager of Bruegger’s Bagel Bakery in Dinkytown, said business is busier in the afternoon when it is warmer.
Despite the freezing temperatures, Smith had no pity for complainers.
“What are they doing in Minnesota?” he asked.