Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Cold enough for you? January 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:30 AM
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I SWITCHED ON the television around 7 a.m., prompted by my husband’s announcement that many Minnesota schools are opening late this morning due to bitterly cold temperatures.

School announcements from a Twin Cities television station scroll across my TV screen this morning.

School announcements from a Twin Cities television station scroll across my TV screen this morning.

From north to south, east to west, arctic air has settled into our state, making for dangerous conditions. According to the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen:

VERY COLD AIR REMAINS IN PLACE THIS MORNING WITH HIGH PRESSURE
CENTERED OVER CENTRAL IOWA. TEMPERATURES RANGE FROM THE LOWER
SINGLE DIGITS BELOW NEAR THE IOWA BORDER TO 15 TO 20 BELOW IN THE
ALEXANDRIA AREA. WINDS ARE LIGHT SO WIND CHILLS ARE NULL IN SOME
AREAS…BUT IT WON/T TAKE MUCH WIND WITH THESE TEMPERATURES TO
PRODUCE DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS…PARTICULARLY OVER WRN MN.

I always wonder why the Weather Service prints its warnings in all caps. To emphasize the seriousness of the weather situation?

That aside, if you live in Minnesota, you know it’s cold here. The temp in Faribault was minus nine degrees F when I awoke. Many counties, including my county of Rice, are under a wind chill advisory. Up in International Falls, the self-proclaimed “Icebox Capital of the World,” the wind chill was reported at minus 38 degrees F.

On brutally cold mornings like this, many Minnesota students are hoping for late school starts or closings. With three kids (now grown), I’ve stationed myself many a winter morning in front of the television watching for “Faribault” to scroll across the bottom of the screen.

More school closings on another Minnesota TV station.

More school closings on another Minnesota TV station.

It’s interesting to watch that list of names, learning about places and schools I never knew existed, like Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School. This morning I looked up the school online. It’s a magnet school for 200 Native American students living on or near the Leech Lake Reservation in north central Minnesota. Operated by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the school is located in the forest outside of Bena, population 109, between Bemidji and Grand Rapids.

Unless I missed it on the school’s website, I couldn’t find a translation of the school’s name, which so intrigues me.

Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School lists its values as love, respect, humility, wisdom, bravery, honesty and truth. That’s an admirable list.

But students there won’t be learning today as the school is closed.

Switching from school closings to the weather, I listened to a report on “Good Morning America” about the cold weather sweeping the nation with wind chill advisories issued in 19 states.

And, as I listened, I jotted down some of the phrases used to describe current weather conditions:

arctic air
dangerous cold from Midwest to East
howling polar winds
blizzard conditions along parts of Lake Michigan
bitter wind chills in places like Fargo, North Dakota

Good morning, readers. How would you describe the weather where you live today?

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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