The weather in the Granite Falls-Clarkfield area this week has been life threatening. Since last Thursday lows have ranged from -10° F to -31°F, Thursday was the warmest day in last week reaching a max of 24° F. Only two other days had a max temperature in the double digits, Saturday had a high of 14 and Sunday had a high of 10. Temperatures on Wednesday range from -18° F to -31° F, which is lethal to those exposed for extended periods of time, It can take less than 15 minutes for the first signs of hypothermia and frostbite to set in. Wind speeds have ranged from 33 to 8 MPH. The only snowfall in the last week took place Sunday afternoon into Monday, and was about 4-8 inches.
The snow, combined with wind speeds of 24 MPH Sunday night, lead to hazardous driving conditions (This lead to one reported crash near Renville Sunday afternoon), and multiple school closings in the area. Yellow Medicine East Schools were closed Monday thru Wednesday, due to the snowfall and road conditions Monday and dangerously low temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday.
Governor Tim Walz left it up to local school districts to decide if they wanted to close school or remain open on Wednesday. Walz decided not to order all the schools in the State be closed, something that last happened in 2014 under Governor Mark Dayton. "I really trust local officials and superintendents and folks to make these decisions," Walz said. "We'll certainly see when it's the proper role. We always make these decisions based on the safety of our children, the safety of people on the roads, but also understanding what are the implications of when you do that."
This extreme cold was caused by a sudden blast of warm air in the Arctic pushing chilly temperatures south. The National Weather Service said Minnesotans can expect to see more weather extremes due mainly to human-made climate change. This means that even though average temperatures are trending upwards, isolated weather events (snowfall, rain, periods of extreme temperatures, etc.) have the potential to be more severe.
Over the next week temperatures will get a little warmer, with a high of 38°F on Saturday and 27°F on Sunday, However next Wednesday they are expected to dip back down to -5°F. For accurate weather forecasts and hourly updates on road conditions, go to https://www.weather.gov/ for the latest.