By Rachel Stassen-Berger, Star Tribune

With high temperatures across Minnesota temperatures to be in the double digits below zero on Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton took the unusual step of cancelling schools statewide.

“The safety of Minnesota’s schoolchildren must be our first priority,” Dayton said in a release Friday. “I have made this decision to protect all our children from the dangerously cold temperatures now forecasted for next Monday. I encourage Minnesotans of all ages to exercise caution in these extreme weather conditions.”

Although the state is used to frigid winters, the expected deep freeze surpasses even what hearty Minnesotans can handle.

According to the governor’s office, state law gives the governor ability to “authorize the commissioner of education to alter school schedules, curtail school activities, or order schools closed.”

Despite that, the step is rare. Gov. Arne Carlson made front-page news on Jan.18, 1994, by cancelling school statewide when wind chills in some areas plunged to 80 degrees below zero. Carlson also called off classes on Feb. 2, 1996, the same day that the state registered its all-time low temperature of 60 below zero near Tower. Carlson cancelled schools for a third time on Jan. 16, 1997.