With subzero temperatures and dangerously low wind chill values in the capital city Monday, officials warned people to stay indoors if possible.
At least one possible case of frostbite had been reported by mid-morning, as emergency crews were sent about 9:55 a.m. to check on a person in a motel room in the 3800 block of S.W. Topeka Boulevard.
By 10 a.m., the temperature by 10 a.m. had warmed to a minus-5 degrees, following an official early-morning low of minus-9 degrees. which ranked as the third-coldest New Year’s Day reading in Topeka’s history since records were kept beginning in 1887.
The six coldest New Year’s Days on record in Topeka were :
— Minus 20 degrees in 1974.
— Minus 12 in 1979.
— Minus 9 in 2018.
— Minus 8 in 1928.
— Minus 5 in 1985.
— Minus 4, in 1924 and again in 2001.
Topeka has been trapped in a deep freeze for several days, but the good news is things are about to get a little warmer.
“Monday night is the last really cold night, if you will,” said Audra Hennecke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Topeka. “We have forecast minimum temperatures tonight below zero — we’ve got a low going of negative 4 forecast for tonight, with wind chill values dropping to the negative 5 and maybe even to the negative 10 to 15 range in some areas. It’s going to be a matter of how low temperatures drop and how much wind we get.
“Once we get past tonight, we should see temperatures rebounding, relatively speaking, into the 20s tomorrow, then even creep into the 40s by the weekend.”
Forecasters are keeping an eye on weather patterns that could bring snowfall to the Topeka area on Sunday.
In the meantime, Hennecke said, people should be content to stay indoors and ride out the arctic blast that ushered in the new year.
“With a minus 10 or minus 15 wind chill, you can actually get frostbite in as little as 10 to 30 minutes,” Hennecke said Monday morning. “The best thing is to stay in on a day like this.”
A wind chill warning was in effect from midnight to noon Monday, as wind chill values ranged from minus 10 to minus 25 degrees.
With nighttime wind chills expected to range from zero to nearly minus 15, a wind chill advisory was set from 7 p.m. Monday through 11 a.m. Tuesday.