With high temperatures across Minnesota temperatures to stay double digits below zero on Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton took the unusual step of cancelling K-12 schools statewide.
“The safety of Minnesota’s schoolchildren must be our first priority,” Dayton said in a release. “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 hardy 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. Back in 1994, then Gov. Arne Carlson made front page news for cancelling all schools when it was so cold that wind chills in some areas reached down to 80 degrees below zero. He canceled schools statewide two more times, in 1996 and 1997, during his terms.
Dayton's office said that on Monday, "the National Weather Service predicts that most of the state will experience the coldest temperatures in a decade next Monday, with lows reaching -30 degrees and wind chills predicted to reach as low as -50 degrees."