MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: The entire Eastern US in deep freeze
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota may still be the coldest spot in the U-S, but the breathtakingly cold weather is sweeping the eastern half of the country, including places where the weather almost never gets as cold as it will this week. Forecaster Rob Carolan says temperatures will be well below zero from the Dakotas, across Minnesota, into portions of Iowa, and eventually the Ohio River Valley by tonight -- and weather this cold is scaring people. The mayor of Indianapolis has told residents to stay off the streets, particularly after dark. Classes are canceled today at all Minnesota schools, schools in Chicago, and dozens of centers will be open across the Midwest for people who need to find a place to get warm.
All public schools in the state are closed today. Governor Dayton made the unprecedented move on Friday in advance of a winter storm that has the entire Upper Midwest in a deep freeze. Wind chills are expected to be as cold as 50 degrees below zero, with high temperatures during the day today topping out at around 15-below. In a statement, Governor Dayton noted the "safety of Minnesota's schoolchildren must be our first priority."
If you have to venture out today, be sure you car is in good working order and don't forget your winter survival kit. Jason Viena is with the American Red Cross and says it's better to be safe then sorry. He says things to pack include necessary medications, water, high protien snacks, and a red flag or towel that can be displayed in an emergency. Minnesota is seeing record cold temperatures today.
A day after suffering a heart attack while cross-country skiing, former Minneapolis Mayor R-T Rybak took to Twitter to thank well-wishers and appears to be doing well. Rybak tweeted, "It's a great day to be alive. Really." He also retweeted a post from Republican Representative Pat Garfalo, "Hey, when I called you a "bleeding heart liberal" - I didn't mean it literally," with the hashtag 'laughed stitches out' (#laughedstitchesout). Rybak underwent an agioplasty and had two stents placed after experiencing chest pain on a ski trail.
There were no injuries in a Sunday morning explosion at an apartment complex in Rogers. Hennepin County Sheriff's officials say that Rogers Police and Fire arrived on the scene to find large flames and smoke coming from a generator on the property, after several 9-1-1 calls of fireballs and explosions at Preserve at Commerce apartments. Investigators say the large backup generator, which was running on propane, exploded, and gas continued to leak from the generator -- causing several smaller explosions after the initial blast. Nobody was hurt, but 400-500 people that live in the complex were evacuated as a precaution. The State Fire Marshall's Office and Office of Pipeline Safety are investigating the incident.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis releases its 2014 economic outlook for Minnesota today (Mon11am). Last January, Fed Economist Toby Madden predicted above average growth for the state economy in 2013 especially for employment, "which our forecast models are expecting to increase by two-point-two percent. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to four-point-seven percent at the end of next year. Business leaders are somewhat optimistic about the economy... and home building looks like it's going to continue its rebound." Madden's predictions on Minnesota's jobless rate and home building were right on. We'll also learn today the results of the Fed's annual manufacturing survey and the business leaders poll.
St. Paul is in the running for one of USA Today's top-ten most romantic cities in North America. Online voting is underway, and the website calls the Silver City the smaller, quieter and, "many say, the more sophisticated of the Twin Cities." The poll points to leisurely paddle- wheeler rides along the Mississippi, beer tastings, a thriving performing arts scene, and ice skating as among it's romantic draws And this week, with subzero high temperatures, it may be easy to see why St. Paul is a great place to stay inside and snuggle.