Winter weather wallops area

For the second time this winter extreme cold, blowing snow and high winds have packed so much of a punch that schools have closed, roads have closed and residents have been asked to conserve both propane and natural gas.

School was called off Monday, Jan. 27 due to hazardous driving conditions and high temperatures reaching just -5. When accounting for the wind chill, temperatures dipped as low as -50.

On Sunday, Interstate 90 west of Albert Lea was closed due to blowing snow and little visibility. Minnesota DOT continued to advise against any unnecessary travel across southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin. The arctic, life threatening cold was expected to persist through Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the entire Midwest is experiencing a propane shortage due to high demand and low inventories. Then, on Jan. 25, a natural gas line rupture on the TransCanada Viking pipeline had all natural gas users being asked to reduce and limit their use of natural gas until the problem could be rectified.

Relief is expected today, Wednesday, Jan. 29, when high temperatures are predicted to hit the teens.