Monday is a fine time to look ahead to the weekend’s forecast, in which temperatures could reach a balmy upper 30s.
“That’s definitely much nicer,” said meteorologist Charley Kelly of the National Weather Service in St. Louis. On Monday morning, the temperature was 6 degrees below zero in St. Louis.
“Looking just ahead, our first decent – or what I would call decent – we’ll slowly start warming up and probably crack around 20 degrees on Friday. Saturday we’re looking at 29 (degrees for a high temperature); uppers 30s on Sunday,” he said.
Until then, it’s record-breaking and near-record-breaking cold temperatures for the greater St. Louis area.
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“Jan. 6, 2014, was the last time it dropped well below five below at Lambert,” Kelly said. The NWS considers climate sites in St. Louis and Columbia in Missouri and Quincy in Illinois, and Kelly said 2014 was a comparable year for cold temperatures.
Monday morning, it was 6 below zero in St. Louis. Factoring in wind chill, it was 21 degrees below zero.
When it’s this cold, watch for:
▪ Frostbite. It can take as little as 10 minutes for frostbite to occur on exposed skin when temperatures range from below 0 to 15 degrees below, Kelly said. From 5 to 10 degrees above, it takes about 30 minutes.
In first-degree frostbite, ice crystals start forming on the skin, according to the National Weather Service. By fourth-degree frostbite, pain occurs that lasts for more than a few hours and the skin may turn dark blue or black.
▪ Frost quakes. When there is sudden and deep freezing in the ground, cryoseisms may occur, according to accuweather.com. Cryoseisms, or frost quakes, emit a loud pop or boom when the ground cracks open. In 2014, frost quakes were reported from Illinois to Ontario.
▪ Frozen pipes. Where water pipes are exposed, such as underneath mobile homes, they are more susceptible to freezing. O’Fallon Fire Department Chief Brent Saunders has recommended such homeowners use heat tape or insulation to protect the pipes.