MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The frigid weather this winter contributed to at least 26 deaths across Minnnesota.

But the Star Tribune reports it's wasn't even as deadly as last year, when 41 people died despite much milder average temperatures.

The Minnesota Department of Health says exposure was a factor in at least 26 deaths from Dec. 1, 2013, through the end of February. That's about average for the past five years.

It's not clear why the numbers were lower this year. Some officials speculate there was far more publicity about the danger of the polar fronts. Or perhaps the subzero conditions made ice on lakes and rivers safer so fewer people died after falling through the ice.

Alcohol or drugs were factors in nearly half of this winter's cold-related deaths.