Only about half the problem ...

The temperature reading of -26º pictured above on the clock thermometer at Waukon State Bank on Main Street in Waukon gives some indication of just how cold it was Wednesday morning, January 30 during the Polar Vortex cold snap that gripped the Midwest and beyond with historically cold temperatures in some areas. The -26º reading, however, was only about half as cold as it actually felt at times during the frigid stretch, as sustained winds hovering around 10 mph with gusts approaching 30 miles an hour plummeted wind chill factors to nearly double that temperature reading, those -40º to -50º wind chills creating dangerous situations that kept many area businesses from operating Wednesday, January 30 and even into Thursday, January 31, as depicted by the nearly empty Main Street scene above. Among those halted business operations was the U.S. Postal Service, which did not deliver mail in parts of as many as 10 states during Wednesday’s worst day of the cold snap. After a relatively mild early portion of the winter season, the combination of more than a foot of snow in a couple different storms since mid-January and the more recent Polar Vortex has impacted schools in the Allamakee County area every school day for a period of two weeks from January 18-31 with either late starts, early dismissals or complete closings, including no school for five consecutive days in the Allamakee Community School District Friday, January 25-Thursday, January 31, as depicted by the empty parking lot and snow-drifted sidewalks in the photo below.

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