Your fingers and toes haven't been lying.
While the past five days haven't set records for cold in the Omaha metro area, it has been unusually cold for this early in December.
During the four days from Thursday through Sunday, the temperature averaged 9.4 degrees in Omaha, said Barbara Mayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. That's the seventh-coldest Dec. 5 through Dec. 8 on record, dating to 1871, she said. And it's far below the normal average of 28.5 degrees.
The cold led to about a dozen cases of exposure, according to local hospital officials. Among them: An intoxicated teenage boy was found passed out in the snow over the weekend, and a handful of adults with dementia wandered outdoors. A few cases of hypothermia may have been advanced, but reports indicate that those individuals were in good condition.
Normal highs for this time of year are about 37 degrees; but since Thursday, daytime highs have ranged from 12 degrees to 19 degrees, according to the weather service.
Normal lows for this time of year are around 18 degrees.
“We've been struggling even to get there (18 degrees),” Mayes said.
Nights since Thursday have ranged from 4 degrees below zero to 11 degrees above zero.
Wind chills have added to the equation: It felt like 18 below at 8 a.m. Monday in Omaha and minus 20 in Lincoln.
But this still hasn't been the coldest such stretch.
The coldest Dec. 5 through Dec. 8 period came in 1909, when the temperature averaged 4.1 degrees. The second-coldest stretch occurred in 2005, when the temperature averaged 5 degrees.
The good news is that the worst of the cold appears over, Mayes said. Temperatures are expected to move closer to normal, with highs in the teens and 20s, even approaching 32 degrees on Friday.
Mayes said the eight- to 14-day outlook, which extends to the week before Christmas, tilts the odds toward warmer-than-normal conditions.
The recent brisk conditions weren't enough to grant the snow-day wishes of area schoolchildren. Omaha Public Schools spokesman Todd Andrews said the district had no intention of canceling school or dismissing classes early Monday because of the frigid weather.
The district will consider closing schools if sustained wind chills of 20 degrees below zero or lower are recorded.
Snow, sleet and ice struck parts of the Midwest before moving on to the east.
Sunday's snowfall, the first significant one of the season in eastern Nebraska, compounded the cold on Monday. Omaha received 2 inches and Lincoln 5.2 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Across the region, fresh snow in the past week contributed to roadway collisions.
About four dozen Millard North High School students were in a 25-vehicle traffic accident Sunday on slick roads in Wisconsin. No one among the 49 students, three teachers and one chaperone was injured, said Rebecca Kleeman, a spokeswoman for the Millard Public Schools.
The Millard North students were on their way home from a DECA event in a chartered bus when the crash occurred in the Milwaukee area.
The U.S. Senate canceled votes scheduled for Monday night because of the weather, but Nebraska and Iowa lawmakers mostly avoided the travel headaches that prompted the cancellation.
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., was delayed in returning to Washington on Monday, but a spokesman said he was expected to arrive later in the evening. The House had no votes scheduled for Monday.
All four senators from Nebraska and Iowa were around Monday.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., poked some fun at East Coast residents on her Facebook page, where she shared a photo of heavy snow in her hometown.
“THIS is what winter looks like, Washington,” Fischer wrote. “The picture is of Valentine, NE with a foot of snow and -24 degrees. Today in DC schools are closed because of a couple of inches of snow and a temperature of 34 degrees. We Nebraskans are a hearty bunch ;)”
World-Herald staff writers Joseph Morton, Maggie O'Brien, Bob Glissmann, Erin Duffy and Jay Withrow contributed to this report.