Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Way too cold here in the Bold North January 25, 2019

The FOX 9 News weather report Thursday morning on my TV.


A YEAR AGO, PROMOTERS tagged Minnesota as the Bold North while marketing the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis. They wanted locals and visitors to embrace the cold and snow. View both as positives, see Minnesota as a place that celebrates winter.

Today I doubt many of us Minnesotans feel like celebrating winter. It’s just too darn cold. An Arctic blast, bone-chilling cold front, whatever phrase you want to throw out there for absurdly cold temperatures, has parked itself here in the Bold North.


No relief in sight…


With 30 – 40 mph winds in the western region of Minnesota and frigid air temps, feels-like temps dipped into the minus 30-degree range on Thursday. Some parts of our state will experience minus 50-degree windchills through noon today. Forecasters predict the cold snap will continue into next week.


Source: Faribault Main Street Facebook page.


What does that mean in a state which brags an image of ruggedness and toughness in the words Bold North? It means canceled events. Like the St. Paul Winter Carnival parade, canceled Thursday evening due to the bitter cold. And cancellation of activities at the Vulcan Snow Park, also part of the St. Paul carnival. Ironic, isn’t it, that winter cancels winter? It happened here in Faribault in December, too, with a major winter storm postponing the Winterfest parade. But, hey, we have the annual Faribault Flannel Formal coming up on February 9.



In the meantime, we must survive these days so brutally cold that venturing outdoors requires layers of clothing—which probably include flannel. Plus stocking caps snugged on our heads, boots strapped on our feet, warm winter coats bundled around our bodies and mittens/choppers clamped on our hands. This cold is serious stuff. Frostbite serious. Exposed skin can potentially freeze in minutes. Remember that, smart hat-less teens walking to school.

And, yes, the brutal cold has closed schools and delayed start times.

But it isn’t stopping Owatonna from going on with its Bold & Cold Winter Festival running through this weekend. Snow sculpting, sledding, ice fishing, iceskating, ice bocce ball and more are slated for the celebration. We’ve got the cold. Let’s hope everyone also owns bold.


Wabasso Public School. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


AT MY ALMA MATER, illness, not frigid temps, closed schools on Thursday and again today. Some 20 percent of the student population (74 students) were absent from class on Wednesday, according to a Facebook video posted by the superintendent of Wabasso Public Schools. Staff, too. Yes, this is a small rural district in southwestern Minnesota.

You would think no virus could survive in this current cold. But this is exactly when illnesses spread, when cold keeps us indoors, close to one another, here in the Bold North.

HOW DO YOU, or how would you, handle such Bold North frigid winter weather?

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


23 Responses to “Way too cold here in the Bold North”

  1. Bundle up and don’t look at the thermostat. Polar vortex on it’s way..

  2. Claudette Says:

    We have the same weather here in Toronto, it hurts to breathe.. but then, the temps rose and everything turned into a slushy, salty, clumpy mess. This part is worse, especially during dog walking. I can dress for cold, but the dogs can’t get proper exercise in the slush.

    Wake me when it’s over. 😉🇨🇦

  3. Brenda Boone Says:

    I start baking! Cookies just out of the oven warm everyone, heart and body!

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    It isn’t the cold that is so brutal, it’s that nasty wind. Yesterday, Scooter and I cut our daily walk short. We only got to the top of the hill before I scampered home with a disappointed Scooter trailing behind me.

    This morning, I went out to the shed to check on him and the cats. I was a little worried, even though they have all the food, water and straw that they could desire.

    As cold as it was, they all wanted to go running around up the road.

    Without a wind, the cold was no problem.

    Thank you, Carhartt.

    • You’re right that the wind makes all the difference between bearable and unbearable. As does dressing for the elements. One of Randy’s co-workers seldom wears a coat in the winter. Not even today. Short sleeve shirt. Crazy.

  5. I remember those days and do not miss those days. You bundle up to the point where only your eyeballs are showing and you may even protect those with glasses/goggles. If you are one of the lucky ones that have a remote starter and heated seats in your vehicle to keep you safe and warm. Brrrrr – enough said. Take Care – Be Safe and Stay Warm 🙂

  6. Valerie Says:

    It’s an extra challenge with our two grandchildren and daughter-in-law experiencing this cold for the first time. And getting out with the children is difficult if we even attempt it with -20* temps! Whew.

    • I know you looooove this weather and I appreciate your wonderful attitude.

      Weather today canceled our plans to visit my mom in sw Minnesota. It’s been snowing for hours in Faribault and roads are slick. I just checked MN 511 and saw the multitude of crashes and spin-outs on 35 from the split to Owatonna. We made the right decision. Now Randy is trying to repair our broken snowblower because we can’t be shoveling all that snow predicted for tomorrow. Ours and our neighbors. Driveways and sidewalks.

  7. I love the Flannel Formal! 🙂 Bundle up and stay warm, Sweet Lady!

  8. Virginia Updegrove Says:

    My friend left Tucson today for Winnipeg and is stuck in Minneapolis. Sleep over in the airport. Hope he gets out in the morning. You have had bruital weather. I feel for you.

    • I hope he has a good reason for going to Winnipeg because I don’t think the weather is any better there. Once we get through today, the situation will be better here with temps rising. Maybe near 40 on Saturday. This is crazy weather stuff.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Layers of clothes and the more wool the better

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.