MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Students stayed home from school Thursday and several businesses were closed in parts of the upper Midwest as arctic air pushed wind chill readings to dangerously low temperatures.
A wind chill warning was in effect for North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa with wind chill readings plunging to more than 40 below zero (-40 Celsius) in some areas. Forecasters from the National Weather Service urged people to limit time outdoors and bundle up, as exposed skin could be subject to frostbite in as little as 10 minutes.
It's possible that at least one death could be attributed to the cold. Police in Omaha said they found the body of Robert Freymuller, 80, early Thursday in a street not far from the assisted-living center where he lived. His death is being investigated, but police said he was not dressed appropriately for the weather; the wind chill had dropped to minus 26 degrees (minus 32 Celsius) at that time.
In Minnesota, the coldest wind chill reading was in Fosston, in northwestern Minnesota, where the wind chill reached 48 degrees below (-44 Celsius), the National Weather Service said.
Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin School District notified parents that classes were canceled “due to extreme winter weather conditions in the early morning hours.” Several other districts were closed, and some had e-learning days, meaning that students received instruction online.
Schools, businesses and organizations were also closed or were opening late in Nebraska and Iowa on Thursday, as temperatures dropped to about 10-20 degrees below average in the northern and central Plains. Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and northern Missouri were also under wind chill advisories.
The upper Midwest will see some relief from the bitter cold over the weekend, as the cold air is expected to push into the Ohio Valley and interior New England and the lower Great Lakes region by Friday.