Colder than cold
WORTHINGTON — With temperatures on Monday hovering well below zero, one might have wondered when relief from the bitter cold would finally arrive.
Todd Heitkamp, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, S.D., said it’s on the way.
“Well, the good news is today, Monday, is the worst day,” Heitkamp said. “The rest of the week will still be cold, with the wind chill still being between minus-20 to minus-30 throughout southwest Minnesota. It will be a gradual increase, but by Friday we should be somewhere up around the freezing mark.”
Portions of southwest Minnesota saw a raw temperature of between minus-20 and minus-25, with wind chills between minus-50 and minus-55, early Monday. Area residents, businesses and schools have been hit hard by the arctic-like temperatures.
Worthington District 518 Schools made the decision late Monday evening that classes will begin two hours late this morning. Last Friday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced that all public schools across the state would be closed Monday due to the cold. Dayton issued another statement Monday morning that cancellation of today’s classes in Minnesota schools would be up to the individual districts.
Even though the decision to cancel Monday classes was made by the state, District 518 is scheduling to make up the lost day.
“Right now the plan is for school to go until May 21,” District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard said. “It still has to be approved by the board, but that is the plan right now. The majority of the schools across the state will make up the day. Some may not, but most schools like to make up their days.”
JBS also had a late start on Monday.
“We started our harvest floor two hours late this morning,” said Jenny Anderson-Martinez, Human Resources Director for JBS. “Several of our producers were unable to deliver their hogs as scheduled, causing the availability of hogs to dip and requiring us to push our start time back slightly.”
Area residents also faced issues with pipes freezing or bursting because of the winter weather. Travis Moser, service manager for Schwalbach Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning, offered some advice.
“Most of the time when we see frozen or bursting pipes, it’s a result of not having heat in the house or on where the water source for the house is,” Moser explained. “So first, people need to maintain their furnace, and to change their filters.
“Next is to know where your water source is coming from,” Moser continued. “Make sure you are able to turn the valve off, and be sure there is a heat source where the water source is.”
Moser also provided tips on how to establish a heating source to a residential water source.
“First, make sure your pipes are insulated, especially in unconditioned spaces like a crawl space or a basement,” he said. “Even if people just get a portable heater, make sure that space is heated.
Also, make sure to seal any cracks in the foundation. “Cold air could go up through the cracks and cause them to burst.”
If pipes do become frozen, Moser said the best way to re-heat them is to do so naturally, and again have heat in the area where the water source is.
“So far today we’ve had 14 calls for frozen or bursting pipes, and the main thing is to just for people to just be aware of your home’s water source,” Moser said.