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In Midwest, Bitterly Cold Temps Keep Students At Home

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There was an unexpected day off today for students in Chicago and scores of other school districts from the Dakotas to Alabama. The reason? Bitterly cold weather. Temperatures failed to get above zero in much of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northern Iowa and Illinois, and strong winds make it dangerous to be outdoors. From Chicago, NPR's David Schaper reports.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: A lot of kids in this part of the country look forward to snow days, but very few probably relish this kind of day off, where there's little else to do but try to stay warm inside. Four hundred-thousand Chicago public school students didn't have class today and many more children in the middle of the country stayed home, too. National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi says it's not just because of the frigid temperatures.

GINO IZZI: Probably the bigger part is going to be the strong winds. And a lot of portions of the Midwest are seeing winds gusting 25, 30, 35 miles per hour, which, in many cases, can make the temperature feel from anywhere 20, 30, 35 degrees colder from what the actual air temperature is.

SCHAPER: And as biting as it is in Chicago, it's worse in Minneapolis. But Tom Goeman dressed for it.

TOM GOEMAN: Heavy coat, scarf, mittens, long johns.

SCHAPER: And Goeman says he gets used to it.

GOEMAN: (Laughter). It's what we do in Minnesota. It's cold out here so we just deal with it.

SCHAPER: He'd better, and so should everyone else in the Midwest - bitter cold is expected through the weekend with wind chills remaining below zero, and there's snow on the way.

David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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