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Extreme Temps Inspire Extreme Measures for MN: Closing Schools Due to Winter Weather

snow plow

Jeroen Kransen / Wikimedia Commons

Brantly Millegan - published on 01/03/14

If Minnesotans always canceled school due to winter weather, there would be no school in the winter, so the recent cancellation signals just how bad the weather is forecast to get.

Extremely low temperatures and lots of snow is making its way through Northeast, Midwest, and Great Plains regions of the U.S. this weekend.

At least 13 have been reported dead already in the Northeast, and the death toll may continue to rise in the next few days.

“The snow is easy to move because the air was so cold when it snowed that it’s sort of light and fluffy stuff — but, uh, it’s cold,” Avalon Minton said as he cleared the entrance to his garage and sidewalk in Arlington, MA, according to the Washington Post. “That’s the main part. It’s cold.”

In my hometown area, St. Paul, MN, the Weather Channel website is predicting that temperatures will not rise above zero degrees fahrenheit for at least three days. The worst is predicted for Monday, which is expected to have a high of -13 and a low of -19. Making the situation worse, 21 mph winds are also expected during the day.

As a result of the extreme temperatures, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has already announced that all schools will be closed on Monday. Public schools in Minnesota have not be closed state-wide due to weather since 1997.

It’s times like these that inspire residents of the Midwest to ask the question: why do I live in a place like this? Of course, it’s highly unusual for things to get that cold, but (1) it’s possible, and (2) it’s not unusual for the weather to be fairly cold. So, -19 might be noteworthy, but -5 isn’t (and public schools would still be open).

I was raised in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where normal winter weather is a “balmy” 30s and 40s. Could we see a move in our future at some point?

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