How much cold can we take?

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- As folks hunched over and shuffled through the cold Tuesday night in Uptown, most realized, the worst was yet to come: A -25 degree wind chill was just around the corner, forecasted for Wednesday morning.

We wanted to know how much cold can we take? We took the question to North Memorial's Emergency Department, where doctors say more and more frostbite cases were coming in. We used -15 degree wind chill as our baseline.

"Generally speaking, anywhere from 10-30 minutes is a sufficient amount of time to cause some potential damage," Dr. Benjamin Knutson explained.

Your pets? We took the question to Dr. Mark Prochaska with the Kenwood Clinic. He's talking to pet owners about the cold.

"So if you're cold, he's cold," the Doctor warned, noting some coats on dogs are comparable to the coats we wear in the winter. He says five minute is not a bad rule of thumb when the windchill hits double digits below zero.

"This year's unusual because it's gotten so cold so quickly, the animals haven't had time to adjust their footpads. They're not as tough as they might be, so, they're much more susceptible to frostbite," Dr. Prochaska warned.

On a psychological or emotional level, we also wondered; how much cold can we take? We took our question to Travel Leaders in Maple Grove, where wary Minnesotans were lighting up the phones.

"This year it's gotten so cold so early, I think people are really ready and they're purchasing their vacations early," Nora Blum, CTC, said. Blum says these cold calls usually come in, in Mid-January, when we get a couple of days in a row with single digit temps.


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