Even For Minnesota, This Is COLD

AP Image Ingested via Automated Feed AP

The frozen body of a 49-year-old disabled woman was found over the weekend, hours after her motorized scooter tipped over outside Como Park Conservatory and she was unable to get back up.

The body of Kathryn Jeanne Gates of Minneapolis was found about 9 a.m. Sunday morning, according to police in St. Paul, Minn. The temperature in St. Paul was 7 degrees below zero at that time, and had been below zero all night.

Police said a taxi dropped Gates off at the conservatory at 7 p.m. Saturday for a friend's wedding. Police speculate she might have driven the scooter off the sidewalk and lost her balance.

Her body was found next to the scooter. An oxygen tank also was found.

An autopsy was planned for Tuesday to determine the cause of death and whether frigid temperatures were a factor.

The mercury went well below zero across Minnesota on Monday. The temperature dropped to 54 degrees below zero in Embarrass, Minn. - not cold enough for a record, but cold enough to make Christine Mackai look forward to her summer gardening.

"You keep living, but it gets old after a while," said Mackai, the town clerk for the community of 691 people in northeast Minnesota.

The all-time state record of 60 below was set on Feb. 2, in 1996, in Tower, about 10 miles north of Embarrass.

The overnight low wasn't enough to stop regular customers from getting their morning coffee at Four Corners, a cafe and gas station at the intersection of Highway 135 and County Highway 21 in Embarrass.

"Everybody left their cars running," waitress Trish Roggenbuck said. "It was pretty much breathtaking when you walked outside."

Traffic in the area was light, said Sgt. Steve Steblay with the St. Louis County Sheriff's office in Virginia. Deputies helped get several people indoors after their vehicles stalled or they had minor accidents.

"Most people stayed in, but there were a few brave souls that were out traveling around," Steblay said. "It's very, very cold."

On Tuesday, the temperature was all the way "up" to zero degrees in Embarrass, and Roggenbuck told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith she "wouldn't wear any less clothes than I did yesterday, but you can tell the difference."

Four Corners gas attendant and assistant manager Jared Fertig told Smith, "It's pretty cold and shellshocking when you go outside and you realize how cold it really is, and you can barely breathe. It almost feels cooler today than it did yesterday, with (Tuesday's) windchill."

Among the layers Fergit wears: four shirts and two pair of insulated socks.

Several northern Minnesota cities saw extreme cold temperatures. It was 51 below zero in Babbitt, 44 below in International Falls, and 42 below in Ely. In the Twin Cities, Monday's low was a balmy 11 below.

Many Minnesota schools, including those in Embarrass, were closed for the Martin Luther King Day holiday, although a few that weren't either closed down or planned to start two hours late.

The low in Embarrass came just before sunrise, said Greg Frosig, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.

They had predicted lows in the lower 40s below.

"We saw the cold air coming, but you're always going to get those areas that are locally colder temperatures," he said.
  • Brian Dakss

Comments