The snow has moved on, but in its wake are bitter cold temperatures, and the stubborn wind is still causing dangerous wind chills and ground-drifting in open areas.
After enjoying a day off from school Monday for President's Day, Crookston students caught another break today when the decision was made early this morning to cancel classes, after it was announced Monday evening that classes would start two hours late today.
Asked by the Times for his rationale for canceling school Tuesday, Crookston School District Superintendent Chris Bates said the decision was "actually fairly easy" because of all the snow that's still piled up. With Polk County Highway Engineer Rich Sanders announcing Monday night that plows would not tackle clogged county roads until 4 a.m. Tuesday, Bates said there were still "bumper-high" drifts on many county roads early today, when buses would have started heading out to pick up kids. At 7 a.m., some roads were still impassable, even in town, Bates said, adding that there were waist-high drifts outside the Crookston High School's main entrance at 8:30 this morning.
Bates said he knows that deciding to have school in bad weather or deciding to cancel it are never universally popular decisions. Transportation/Buildings and Grounds Director Rick Niemela heads out very early on stormy days and typically updates him before 5 a.m., Bates said. "The reality is on some days either decision upsets a number of people," the superintendent said. "We just try to consider all the information we can, focus on safety, and be as proactive as possible. I expect we will have more snow this winter and unless it all falls on weekends we will have to address any additional missed days."
The State of Minnesota has no statute relating to a minimum number of school days districts must have on their schedule. If more school days are lost to wintry weather, Bates didn't rule out the possibility of the school board discussing the possibility of adding a day or two to the end of the 2012-13 school year.
The University of Minnesota, Crookston campus was closed all day Monday, and campus opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Numerous meetings, activities and other events on Monday were cancelled and/or postponed, and those cancellations and postponements extend into several things originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
Some snow fell late Sunday and very early Monday, and then the wind picked up. Right around that time, around 4 a.m. Monday, three Crookston women carpooling on their way to work in Grand Forks went into the ditch on U.S. Highway 2 and, according to a Valley News Live report on Monday, after a couple hours the engine in the vehicle they were in died.
They were eventually rescued by a Minnesota State Patrol trooper and were in good shape, health-wise, but not before thinking that they might freeze to death.
City crews will hit the streets to remove snow from downtown beginning at midnight tonight. They'll do the north/south streets. Residents are asked to park in off-street lots on those streets.