If it feels colder, it's because it is

The chill that has been in the air lately is out of the ordinary. It's supposed to be cold in late January and February, but not this cold.

In fact, the rock bottom reading of minus-14 observed at 7:24 a.m. Thursday was an all-time low for the day, shattering the century-old mark of minus-12 set in 1914.

Cindy Fay, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Hastings, said that it was the combination of snow on the ground coupled with a passing arctic air mass that fueled the record-low temperature reading. And though no additional records are expected to fall in the foreseeable future, the cooling trend is far from over.

Temperatures are expected to climb above 20 on today — then drop back into the low teens to begin the new week on Sunday and Monday.

This much cold is unusual for this time of year, as the average temperature historically hovers around the 38-degree mark, Fay said.

Despite the 3.2 inches of snow that fell between Tuesday and Wednesday, the seasonal inch count remains behind pace for this time of year. At 14.2 inches, the current total is 3.2 inches below the annual 17.4 average count.

That could change ever so slightly between today and Sunday, however. A minor cold system headed this way could produce some accumulation when passing through.

"It's not a major system, but there could be some light snow," Fay said.

Normalcy is expected to return by mid-week, as a warm air mass figures to push temperatures upward as early as Wednesday.

"We'll start to see some melting occur from mid-week on," Fay said. "It just looks warmer."

To read more, see Saturday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>>

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