MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – The coldest temperatures of the season delayed the start of school for many students and caused even the hardiest Minnesotans to think twice about staying outdoors for any length of time.
The National Weather Service issued an “extreme cold warning” for northern Minnesota through midmorning Friday.
Temperatures, even without the wind chill factor, dropped to below zero double digits. International Falls in Koochiching County and Babbitt in St. Louis County had readings of 46 below.
A wind chill advisory was in effect for much of the rest of the state. Minneapolis Public Schools advised parents that keeping their children at home Friday would count as an excused absence.
In Anoka, officials said they only had a handful of students stay home. At Marcy Open School in Minneapolis, the principal said only 10 families called in out of their 600-plus students.
Greg Palmer said he thought about keeping his 5-year-old daughter Emma home but instead decided to drive her to school.
“Didn’t want her to be outside in the elements waiting for the bus,” he said. “We’re going to pick her up too so she’s out of the cold as much as possible.”
The temperature overnight reached 16 below in the Twin Cities. People without a place to go packed into the warming center at the Salvation Army Harbor Lights shelter.
“We’re just trying to keep everybody out of the cold,” said manager Jade Lichtsinn.
The shelter was at capacity with more than 450 people. They had to send people to their overflow shelter. Some needed medical treatment.
“Our special needs beds have grown with frostbite wounds, so we have a lot of people with,” said Lichtsinn. “Feet is a big thing, a lot of frostbite on the feet and fingers. That’s been our primary concern.”
The emergency room doctors at Health East Systems said they haven’t seen any cases of frostbite so far on Friday, but they have seen people come in after getting in car accidents caused by black ice.
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