Temps will go from cold to very cold
If the substance of the weather this week disappoints, there is the form to admire.
The big chill set in Monday night, and it isn't going to let up any time soon, according to Bill Barrett of the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks.
But in an analysis he revealed exclusively to the Herald on Monday, there is a pattern tying temperature to calendar digits that offers something to contemplate while being frostbitten. This pattern was discovered by local meteorologists working in warm offices.
Barrett said temperatures will fall to 20 below to 25 below across the northern Red River Valley by this morning. But it will feel worse: 30 to 37 below wind chills, thanks to a stiff north wind.
It's nothing to joke about as driving conditions will be snowy, icy and dangerously cold.
The temperatures likely won't get above zero today, then fall not quite so far back by Wednesday morning, maybe to 15 below to 20 below, with wind chills of 26 below to 31 below.
Wednesday, it will get as high as 5 or 10 above.
And so on, through the next seven days, in a pattern Barrett said they were calling a "rollercoaster" around the cubicles in the weather service office.
A term that brings to mind an amusement park, for a good several seconds -- and people screaming.
"It will alternate, getting above zero on odd-numbered days and not above zero on even-numbered days," Barrett said.
That is, the 17th, 19th, 21st and 23rd of this month will see highs of 5 to 10 above zero, while on the 18th, 20th and 22nd, the high temperature won't get above zero.
In fact on Thursday, the high for the day in the Devils Lake Basin and northern Red River Valley will be 10 below to 15 below.
The good news that night is that the low by Friday morning won't be much lower.
On Monday, it began with blustery conditions that made driving difficult, and some schools closed early.
The rest of this week, winds will be lower, as will temperatures in general. But little or no snow will fall, a big change from the previous 10 days or more.
The calendar-keyed rollercoaster of temperatures is a strange pattern in its recitation perhaps as much as in its discovery.
But it's something to watch through frosted windows this week.
Next Monday, an even date, the pattern will shatter like snus in the winter wind, with the high for the day going above normal for the first time this month, maybe 15 to 20 above, Barrett said.
By then, the snow itself might feel like melting.