ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Most Minnesota schools closed for the second straight day Tuesday as dangerous arctic air maintained its icy grip on the state, but not in Moorhead, where district officials took advantage of the first glimmers of relief.
“It’s not quite as cold here today,” said Pam Gibb, communications coordinator for Moorhead Area Public Schools. “I have it as minus-4 here right now. That’s not really that unusual for Moorhead in January.”
A day after Gov. Mark Dayton canceled classes statewide, Moorhead was among few large districts to reopen its schools. The decision was left to individual districts Tuesday, but districts in Minneapolis, St. Paul, most Twin Cities suburbs, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud and Winona all called off school again.
Still, after more than two days of temperatures well into the negative double digits, along with unbearable wind chills, Minnesotans emerged from the indoors in greater numbers Tuesday in anticipation of a slight warming. Forecasters said temperatures could approach zero in many parts of the state by Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a relative heat wave: teens on Thursday, and balmy 30s by Friday and Saturday.
In Minneapolis, bicycle messenger Benjamin Davies was back at work Tuesday morning after closing his business, Rock-It Bike Delivery, due to cold for the first time ever Monday.
“We’ve never taken a weather day. But negative-22 with 50-below wind chills is pretty brutal, so we decided to take a break,” said Davies, 28. Back on his bike Tuesday, he was dressed head to toe in outdoor gear that left only his eyes showing.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Regions Hospital in St. Paul treated 14 people for frostbite and eight for hypothermia in the last two days. Hospital officials said all eight intensive care beds in the burn unit were filled with people suffering from frostbite.
At a bus stop along University Avenue in St. Paul, Christina Johnson and her friend Cari McCoy waited for their ride Tuesday morning with only their clothes and a glass shelter as protection against temperatures of about minus-10. They were headed west to a medical clinic, where Johnson was scheduled for oral surgery.
“The buses tend to run late when it’s this cold. I’m not sure why,” Johnson said. “The bus drivers are nicer though. A lot of times they give you free fare.”
Associated Press writer Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.