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Minnesota Weather: With Polar Vortex Exiting, Let The Thawing Begin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- We're not there yet, but Mother Nature is making progress in getting back to normal.

Still shrouded in steam, winter's death grip has at least loosened. And like bears emerging hibernation, folks who've been hunkered down are back on the streets.

Though many schools are still closed, the Minnesota Children's Museum is not. But it's hard to tell who's happier: The parents or kids.

"Closing for cold is very unusual for us," said MCM's Bob Ingrassia. "There have been times where the museum has been delayed or closed on some of these huge snow days, but closing for cold was not something we anticipated having to do."

Contractors are back on the jobs at many downtown construction sites, as winds subsided and temperatures rose.

People who've been working from home are back on the highways, and filling parking ramps, restaurants and stores again.

"Well, my heat went out so that was an adventure!" said shopper Lauren Adamski.

man wearing shorts in polar vortex
(credit: CBS)

Thursday's adventure was a bit tamer for Adamski: Getting groceries.

"It was pretty freezing cold in there. My pet's water dishes were freezing over in the house [laughs]!" Adamski said.

Throughout the cold snap, Monarch Bus Service has been starting its buses every six to eight hours to make sure they keep running smoothly.

"Our drivers always have to be prepared because you never know what the weather is going to bring here in Minnesota," said Minnesota Coaches Inc. COO Joe Hangge.

The majority of their fleet uses Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which gels up in the cold. Drivers made a test run of their route before picking up hundreds of Minneapolis and St. Paul students on Friday morning.

"They are taking their bus that they are going to be using tomorrow on their routes, they are driving it around and making sure they get all the kinks out of it," Hangge said.

Buses aren't the only thing that's back in action. U.S. mail and package deliveries are back. So too are the customers at the Surly Beer Hall in Minneapolis.

"It was a ghost town around here," said Surly's Tiffany Jackson.

Now, the brews and sandwiches are back.

"We're glad that the temperatures are starting to rise and that that wind chill has really died down," Jackson said. "We love when people get to come in and just warm up with a nice beer."

Because only in Minnesota does minus-7 degree weather feel oh so good.

Even though it feels better outside, the effects of the cold are still being felt by some. Pipes burst at the Dakota County Sheriff's Office and the Rondo Community Library in St. Paul, leaving behind a watery mess and temporarily closing each facility.

As for those four missed school days, Gov. Tim Walz says that individual school districts will not be penalized if they can't make up the missed school days by the end of the school year.

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