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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Frozen shut! Arctic forecast closes schools Tuesday

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  • Less than a week after being hit with an early 2014 snowstorm, the Southern Tier is preparing for more unwelcome winter weather. This time, in the form of record cold temperatures.
    By Monday afternoon, most area schools districts, including Corning-Painted Post, Elmira, City, Campbell-Savona, Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour, Bath, Addison, Bradford, Hammondsport and Horseheads, canceled Tuesday's classes to protect students and staff from the frigid temperatures.
    Corning Meals on Wheels is also closed today, officials announced.
    "It's going to be the coldest in a couple decades," WETM-TV Meteorologist Sean Bailey said. "We're looking at temperatures to dip right down around minus-10 degrees."
    However, factor in the wind chill, and it will seem much colder.
    "What's really going to be a factor is the wind chill," Bailey said. "We're going to be looking at wind chill values from minus-25 to minus-35, and that's all due to the fact that winds will be right around 20-30 mph."
    Although there is no set criteria for school closures based on temperatures, it didn't take long for the extreme cold to grab the attention of local districts.
    "For a very long time, the district has used a windchill of minus-20 or below as a rule of thumb," said Corning-Painted Post School District Superintendent Mike Ginalski. "Anytime there are wind chill warnings, it makes our antennae go up."
    Campbell-Savona School District Superintendent Kathy Hagenbuch agreed.
    "It was really a very easy decision this morning with the windchill factor predictions and the high winds," she said. "Those two together really made it quite easy."
    Though most students and faculty remain inside for the day, the school day commute is what worries school officials most during harsh weather.
    "Most of our students that live in the city walk, and we have a lot of kids in the rural areas outside waiting for buses," Ginalski said. "It's going to be so cold and windy that it was an easy decision to keep kids and staff home tomorrow.
    Also affected by the winter weather are airports across the country's midsection. Though no flights out of the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport have been canceled, some incoming flights have been affected by weather.
    "The airline systems are already being impacted. We've had one flight from Detroit today that was canceled and one tonight that has been delayed," said Ann Crook, Elmira-Corning Regional Airport manager. "But anybody who's planning on catching a flight in the next couple of days should check with their airline before coming to the airport."
    The cold snap, slated to take hit early Tuesday morning and remain in the region throughout the day, will likely give the area a new record low - the previous record low being minus-12 back in 1996.
    "It's going to be arctic out there" said Bailey.
    Page 2 of 2 - With extreme cold also comes increased chances for cold weather injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia. With a wind chill forecast around minus-30, it would take around 30 minutes for uncovered body parts to begin showing frostbite symptoms. Any lower than minus-35, and symptoms could show up after just ten minutes of exposure.
    Luckily, the cold weather will be just that tomorrow, unaccompanied by freezing rain or snow.
    "We're not going to see much other than a few flurries," Bailey said. "It's not going to be a snow day, but it's going to be a cold day."

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