Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Valentine’s Day in brutally cold southern Minnesota February 14, 2021

Valentine’s Day weekend weather warnings for southern Minnesota.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY from southern Minnesota, where my thoughts today focus more on the brutally cold weather than on this day of love. The weather monitor atop the fridge early this morning showed minus 18 degrees outside our Faribault home. That’s air temp. Factor in windchill, and it feels even colder.

The windchill warning on my phone yesterday.

Minnesota remains in a windchill warning with windchills of 35-50 degrees below zero. That’s biting cold. Dangerous cold. Exposed skin can freeze in a matter of minutes cold. Nothing to mess with cold.

Friends mailed this handcrafted valentine from northwestern Minnesota, where the temps and windchills are even colder than here in Faribault. I love this valentine. So thoughtful. So lovely.

If you’ve never experienced cold like this, trust me when I say I can feel the cold filtering from outdoors through the walls and windows after endless days of this frigid weather. Ice films the upstairs windows. If I pull away the rag rug positioned at the bottom of the front door to block air leaks, I’ll find a line of frost. The furnace is working overtime. Water from the kitchen faucet gushes ice cold. I’ve partially opened the cupboard door so heat can flow toward the vulnerable water pipes. No one wants pipes freezing, furnaces stopping or vehicles breaking down.

A valentine’s heart crafted decades ago by my kindergarten son from fabric and paint and, oh, so dear to me.

We postponed a weekend trip to visit our son, daughter and son-in-law in Madison, Wisconsin, because of the weather. We didn’t want to risk our van breaking down during that four-hour drive. Not that it would, but things happen.

Art from the grandchildren, given to us last weekend as an early Valentine’s Day gift. Their art adorns our fridge.

Saturday in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness east of Ely, the temp plummeted to 50 degrees below zero, according to a story on Minnesota Public Radio. If that weather station reading is confirmed, it will break a new record low for February 13 in Minnesota. The record for that date was minus 46 degrees set in 1916 in Detroit Lakes.

A weather alert banners the front page of Saturday’s Faribault Daily News.

Today’s high temp here in southern Minnesota is expected to reach only minus eight degrees. Tomorrow? Minus three.

Vintage valentines from my mom’s collection and displayed on a dining room shelf in my home.

I have no intention of going outside. Instead, I’ll write, read, enjoy a delicious valentine’s meal of tuna steak and veggies, and a glass of wine, with Randy. And I’ll think of those I love—the family I miss, friends who are dear—and summer days of green grass and flowers and the wind blowing warm breezes.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Sorry folks, no BINGO tonight January 29, 2019

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Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

MOST MINNESOTA SCHOOLS remain closed through Wednesday due to extreme cold. Air temps in the minus 30-degree range combined with 30 mph winds could bring windchills of 60 degrees below zero. That’s dangerously cold. Too cold for kids to wait at bus stops or walk to school. Too cold, really, for anyone to be outdoors. Exposed skin can freeze in minutes.

We expect schools to close. But how does weather affect the rest of our day-to-day activities here in the Bold North?

I poked around and found the cancellation of a community staple. BINGO. Here’s a sampling of BINGO cancellations as posted on various online sources:

  • Afternoon and evening sessions of Bingo at Jackpot Junction is canceled.
  • Senior Citizens Bingo at Hardees in Granite Falls cancelled for Tuesday
  • Gibbon Lions Bingo @ D’s Pit Stop canceled
  • Bingo at Meyer’s Bar in Sleepy Eye canceled
  • VFW Post 1215 – Rochester: Hall Bingo for tonight, Jan 28th, is cancelled.

And one more thing, if you live in Morton: Residents of Valley Drive and Quarry Drive in Morton should leave water dripping in faucets to avoid frozen pipes. Yup, just one more concern besides frostbite. And no BINGO.

BONUS: Click here to read my published poem, Wednesday Night Bingo at the Legion.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling