Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Way too cold here in the Bold North January 25, 2019

The FOX 9 News weather report Thursday morning on my TV.

 

A YEAR AGO, PROMOTERS tagged Minnesota as the Bold North while marketing the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis. They wanted locals and visitors to embrace the cold and snow. View both as positives, see Minnesota as a place that celebrates winter.

Today I doubt many of us Minnesotans feel like celebrating winter. It’s just too darn cold. An Arctic blast, bone-chilling cold front, whatever phrase you want to throw out there for absurdly cold temperatures, has parked itself here in the Bold North.

 

No relief in sight…

 

With 30 – 40 mph winds in the western region of Minnesota and frigid air temps, feels-like temps dipped into the minus 30-degree range on Thursday. Some parts of our state will experience minus 50-degree windchills through noon today. Forecasters predict the cold snap will continue into next week.

 

Source: Faribault Main Street Facebook page.

 

What does that mean in a state which brags an image of ruggedness and toughness in the words Bold North? It means canceled events. Like the St. Paul Winter Carnival parade, canceled Thursday evening due to the bitter cold. And cancellation of activities at the Vulcan Snow Park, also part of the St. Paul carnival. Ironic, isn’t it, that winter cancels winter? It happened here in Faribault in December, too, with a major winter storm postponing the Winterfest parade. But, hey, we have the annual Faribault Flannel Formal coming up on February 9.

 

 

In the meantime, we must survive these days so brutally cold that venturing outdoors requires layers of clothing—which probably include flannel. Plus stocking caps snugged on our heads, boots strapped on our feet, warm winter coats bundled around our bodies and mittens/choppers clamped on our hands. This cold is serious stuff. Frostbite serious. Exposed skin can potentially freeze in minutes. Remember that, smart hat-less teens walking to school.

And, yes, the brutal cold has closed schools and delayed start times.

But it isn’t stopping Owatonna from going on with its Bold & Cold Winter Festival running through this weekend. Snow sculpting, sledding, ice fishing, iceskating, ice bocce ball and more are slated for the celebration. We’ve got the cold. Let’s hope everyone also owns bold.

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Wabasso Public School. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

AT MY ALMA MATER, illness, not frigid temps, closed schools on Thursday and again today. Some 20 percent of the student population (74 students) were absent from class on Wednesday, according to a Facebook video posted by the superintendent of Wabasso Public Schools. Staff, too. Yes, this is a small rural district in southwestern Minnesota.

You would think no virus could survive in this current cold. But this is exactly when illnesses spread, when cold keeps us indoors, close to one another, here in the Bold North.

HOW DO YOU, or how would you, handle such Bold North frigid winter weather?

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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Brrrutally cold in Minnesota January 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:28 AM
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The temperature monitor in my home registered the outdoor air temp at minus 14.8 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:45 a.m. Yes, I know the time is wrong.

The temperature monitor in my Faribault, Minnesota, home registered the outdoor air temp at minus 14.8 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:45 a.m. today. (Yes, I know the time is wrong.) Temps, unfortunately, are correct.

MINNESOTANS AWAKENED to another brutally cold morning with windchills plunging more than 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit on Monday.

A screen shot of MarshallRadio.net's weather-related closings list this morning. This shows only a portion of the closings listed for that area of southwestern Minnesota.

A screen shot of MarshallRadio.net’s weather-related closings list this morning. This shows only a portion of the closings listed for that area of southwestern Minnesota.

Across the state, hundreds of schools are closed and activities canceled.

KLGR radio in Redwood Falls listed these area roads as still closed this morning. Minnesota State Highway 19 in both directions between Marshall and my hometown of Vesta is closed due to white out conditions.

KLGR radio in Redwood Falls listed these area roads as still closed this morning. Minnesota State Highway 19 in both directions between Marshall and Redwood Falls is closed due to white out conditions. My hometown of Vesta lies half-way between Marshall and Redwood Falls.

Some roadways, especially in the southwestern region of Minnsota, remain closed due to white conditions and snow drifts blocking traffic lanes.

A screen shot of the Minnesota Department of Transportation 511 website shows road closures and conditions in Minnesota at 8:45 a.m. today.

A screen shot of the Minnesota Department of Transportation 511 website shows road closures and conditions in Minnesota at 8:45 a.m. today.

We’ve been advised to carry winter survival kits if we must travel, to watch for black ice and that exposed skin can freeze in five minutes.

Students in my community, like many through-out Minnesota, have another day off from classes due to the brutal weather conditions.

Students in my community, like many through-out Minnesota, have another day off from classes due to the brutal weather conditions.

Stay home if you can. That’s my best advice.

 

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