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Weather Channel Chief Says There's No Such Thing as Too Cold, Maybe

Smile, folks. There's no such thing as too cold.

Smile, folks. There's no such thing as too cold.

Twenty-mile-an-hour wind gusts ripped a hole in yesterday morning. At Edenvale Park in Eden Prairie, two bundled figures enjoyed a late start to the school day by exchanging tape-to-tape passes on an otherwise lonely rink.

The southwest suburb's municipal warming houses were declared open for business at 9 a.m. At the same time, the Weather Channel reported fabulously sunny skies and a temperature of -8 that felt like -30 with the wind.

See also: Cold Weather Rules! - Guidelines for the dark season

If 30 below couldn't halt our collective day, could any temperature?

Apparently not, according to Dale Ech, director of the the Weather Channel's Global Forecast Center in Atlanta.

"What's too cold?" asks Ech. "The best way to put it in perspective is to take the heart of winter, which is where we are right now, and if temperatures are 20 to 40 degrees colder than the average."

According to AccuWeather.com, yesterday's high was -1, while the low dipped to -13. These numbers -- windchill excluded -- didn't quite meet Ech's benchmark, considering the historical average high for January 7 is 23 degrees and the low a doable 8 degrees.

For Minnesotans, who are regarded as a hearty bunch in other parts of the nation, almost any cold weather isn't too extreme because of preparation.

"If Minnesotans looked in their closets," he says, "I'd bet they'd find enough kinds of clothing, boots, gloves, and whatever else is needed to deal with the weather that comes their way."

As for the rest of thin-skinned country, Ech says there's a descending scale dictating when windchill advisories or alerts are issued. However, Ech adds there's one number applied nationwide that says going outside means peril.

"When windchills hit 20 degrees below," he says, "that's when the weather is dangerous."

Send news tips to Cory Zurowski.