Safety Tips in Minnesota

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Minnesota

  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Storms (2)

    by zrim Updated Apr 29, 2005

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    Unfortunately, some of our storms are quite severe. I remember standing at the airport in Arizona in 1997 and seeing a report on CNN about a tornado that ravaged St. Peter, Minnesota. St. Peter is a lovely community about 45 miles due west of Northfield. The 1997 tornado devestated its downtown and uprooted thousands and thousands of trees in town and on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College. That tornado headed due east and touched down briefly in Montgomery and Lonsdale. It was tracking straight for Northfield, but luckily dissipated before reaching my town.

    Every year we have approximately ten or so severe weather days where we have tornado warnings. My closest call was in 2001 when an April Tornado skipped directly over Northfield sparing the town any major damage, but it did take out a turkey farm and about a dozen residence along highway nineteen 3 miles east of town.

    wall clouds bear down on New Prague
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  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    The Dangers of Winter Travel

    by traveldave Updated Feb 8, 2005

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    The weather in northern Minnesota can be dangerous in the winter. The week before I went to Duluth, the temperature fell to a record low of -45 degrees Farenheit (-43 degrees Celcius) in the nearby town of Embarrass.

    Anyone driving in such weather should be prepared to survive should they become stranded. Many of the roads in northern Minnesota go for miles through the wilderness without any towns or even houses along the way. These roads can be snow-covered and icy, increasing the risk of sliding off into a ditch and becoming stranded. Travelers should carry a cellular telephone, blankets or a sleeping bag, hand warmers, and a source of heat. Even the heat of a candle can keep the inside of a car warm enough to prevent death.

    The most common danger associated with winter weather is frostbite. It occurs when the skin is overexposed to extreme cold, causing ice crystals to form in body tissue and blood flow to the affected area to be restricted. When the blood flow is lost, gangrene can result, leading to amputation of the affected body parts. Frostbite most commonly affects the ears, nose, chin, fingers, and toes. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and pain.

    A more serious danger associated with winter weather is hypothermia. It results from long exposure to cold, and occurs when body temperature falls from its normal level of 98.6 degrees Farenheit (37 degrees Celcius) to at least 95 degrees Farenheit (35 degrees Celcius). If body temperature falls below 90 degrees Farenheit (32 degrees Celcius), loss of consciousness can occur. Deep hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below 80 degrees Farenheit (27 degrees Celcius). This leads to abnormal heart activity which can cause the flow of blood to slow or stop, resulting in death. Symptoms include shivering, numbness, loss of vision, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.

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    by Lorro Written Jan 21, 2005

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    Tornado season is between March and June/July, and Minnesota does get its fair share. This is a picture of a photograph taken by my mom while standing at home in her kitchen near Mankato, MN. Luckliy the tornado touched down in that field and was going the opposite direction. It did damage 2 homes that day though.
    Tornados are not really a good reason to stay away from the Midwest US but its good to watch the weather reports when there are thunder-storms and hot and cold air mixing.

    Tornado in southern MN

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  • Bear Hang!

    by rleverman Updated Dec 30, 2004

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    Black Bears are not a common hazard, but you are in their backyard. Be aware and take precautions. Do not cook food, clean fish or wash dishes in the general vicinity of your camp. Do not keep any food in you tent and make a bear hang in the evening or any time you will be away from camp for extended periods. A bear hang consists of putting all your food in a duffle bag and hanging it high in a tree.

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  • Mosquitoes

    by rleverman Updated Dec 30, 2004

    Mosquitoes should be Minnesota's State Bird. They are big, hungry and lots of them.
    Take some good bug repellant. Beware of the repellants containing "Deet" if you have Gore Tex or Polypropylene material in your clothes. Deet will react and can damage these materials. Take some after bite ointment, maybe even some Benadryl (analgesic) if you have allergic reactions to bug bites. Several of us took mosquito head nets which came in pretty handy. Jason liked to sleep out in the open (probably to avoid the snoring in the tent). Check out the net on his head.

    Bug free in the bag

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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Spring Storms

    by zrim Written May 23, 2004

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    There is an old saying about the weather in Minnesota in the spring--"if you don't like the weather just wait five minutes." True enough. But often times the change will be for the worse.

    Each April and May we will have brilliantly beautiful days where the temperatures soar into the 80s and sometimes even the 90s. But these days often lead to superstorms in the early evening.

    Mother's day this year was one such example. I played golf with my father-in-law and was burned to a crisp under cloudless skies as the temperatures soared. But by the early evening hours a cold front began to move in from Canada. When a cold front meets atypical warm air fireworks erupt. This day showed the power of mother nature as the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area was pummeled by winds reaching 80-90 mph.

    We had dinner in New Prague and I snapped this photo as we began the drive home. Three inches of rain fell in less than an hour. A real spring deluge.

    this photo is an hour before sunset
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  • DesertRat's Profile Photo

    Speed traps: Be careful off...

    by DesertRat Written Sep 12, 2002

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    Speed traps: Be careful off the interstates (I-35 & I-94). The Minnesota Highway Patrol not only uses radar to trap speeding motorists but small aircraft as well. So if you see a single engine plane around, slow down. He may be watching you. On the interstates, you can generally get away with 5-7 mph faster than the posted limit; I wouldn't chance 10 mph, though.

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  • MrGQ's Profile Photo

    Every years a few people die...

    by MrGQ Written Sep 8, 2002

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    Every years a few people die in snowmobiling accidents! Either running off a cliff or falling into a frozen lake! Its a huge sport there winter time. Do exercise caution for you might be walking on thin ice! Also the temperature there sometimes gets as low as 30or 40 below zero with wind-chill. Make sure you dress WARM.

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  • Nomad_2001's Profile Photo

    Watch out for the speed...

    by Nomad_2001 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Watch out for the speed traps!!! Local sheriffs have no qualms about handing out tickets to out-of-towners that fly by their spot. And unless you plan on a return visit in the near future to contest the ticket, you will likely be stuck mailing in your fine.

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  • If you want to go camping up...

    by Anne02 Written Aug 24, 2002

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    If you want to go camping up north do some research. I don't suggest camping in the middle of a wooded area to a new camper. There are wolves,coyotes,bears,etc. that are wild. When I went to the BWCA we had to hang up our food pack from trees, correctly so the bears didn't get our food. Plus plants such as sumac and poison ivy cause a rash if it comes in contact with your skin and will cause discomfort.

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  • pipsqueak's Profile Photo

    Almost every winter in...

    by pipsqueak Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Almost every winter in Minnesota, you will experience some sub-zero temperatures. To avoid putting yourself in danger, dress warmly and listen to the weather reports. It is quite acceptable to look kind of funny when you are outside if it is cold, it is better than freezing...

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  • sverige's Profile Photo

    A very serious danger in...

    by sverige Written Aug 24, 2002

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    A very serious danger in Minnesota are our winters. We have gotten temperatures of -60 below zero F. That is without the wind chill. It is no joke that skin can & will freeze extremly quick. Hypothermia is also a very real threat. If you will be outdoors in our cold winters, dress very warm, make sure all skin is covered & try not to be out for very extended amount of time. Please familiarize yourself with these conditions so you can prevent serious injury or worse.

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  • inthegarden's Profile Photo

    Yes, our freeways are very...

    by inthegarden Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Yes, our freeways are very confusing. Many drivers can be too aggressive and even downright nasty. Road rage is alive and well in Minnesota (much to our disgrace). Study a good road map and watch signs carefully. Know which lane you will need to be in. Get off the interstates for a more relaxing drive.

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  • LesleyOR's Profile Photo

    Weather in winter. Wind chills...

    by LesleyOR Written Aug 24, 2002

    Weather in winter. Wind chills can be vicious. If you are not used to winter driving, don't try and drive in MN. If you must drive, then heed warnings about carrying survival kits. People have frozen to death in their own driveways. This applies even more if you are elderly or have small children. This is not exageration! I lived there for many years. Better to be safe than sorry!

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  • If you are from a warm climate...

    by monmod Written Aug 24, 2002

    If you are from a warm climate dont even think about driving here in the winter. Only visit in the winter if a minnesotan from a rural area is driving you. Otherwise you will be a statistic. And dont think a 4x4 truck will help either. They are the first vehicles in the ditch every time there is a snow storm.

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