A week of wicked winter weather

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By Shelia Tomkins

Northeast Iowa had been enjoying a relatively tolerable winter until the end of January, when Mother Nature unleashed snow, strong winds and record frigid cold.

The following account of the past week will no doubt be especially appreciated by those Guttenberg Press subscribers who head south for the winter (our "snowbirds").

On Friday, Jan. 25, temperatures began to plummet with a low of -18 at Guttenberg. Adding to the weather woes, there was a widespread electric outage in Northeast Iowa that morning, with Guttenberg residents losing power for approximately two hours. 

On Saturday evening the mercury registered -20° at Guttenberg, and several inches of light, fluffy snow arrived in the area. 

At the beginning of the work week, Guttenberg residents awoke to an estimated four inches of fresh snow, and city crews were out early clearing the streets. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, winds picked up, causing blowing snow and difficult driving conditions on highways and rural roads.

The mercury dropped on Tuesday evening to a low of -20°. Guttenberg residents woke up Wednesday morning to thermometers dipping to -26°, along with strong winds. Wind chills were estimated in excess of -50°, and by that evening temperatures dipped even lower than the previous night.

On Thursday morning, the area remained covered by an arctic cold front, bringing with it record low temperatures to many cities throughout Iowa and the Midwest. Guttenberg's low that morning was -32°. 

During the day on Thursday, a "warm-up" began, with a high of -2° and bringing with it more light, fluffy snow.

On Friday, Febuary arrived with temperatures that began to climb above zero for the first time in many days. 

On Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, newscasters noted that Puxatony Phil in Pennsylvania did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring. 

Over the weekend, the mercury rose even higher, with highs in the 40s,  a difference of more than 75 degrees from Thursday.

Predictions for the first week of February called for seasonable temperatures and precipitation. 

School closings

January saw numerous school closings and delays at Clayton Ridge Community School due to the weather. 

School was cancelled on Jan. 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 and 31. On Jan. 25, there was a two-hour start delay, and on Jan. 18 and Jan. 24, students were let out early due to weather.

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