The U.P. at -18: ‘You still have to go to work’
Sault Ste. Marie — After absorbing the first of a two-day burst of Arctic-like weather, this shivering city prepared for round two Friday morning.
Residents planned to handle it with typical Yooper aplomb.
“You still have to go to work,” said April Stewart, a clerk at the local Wal-Mart.
After a night when temperatures plummeted to minus 18 degrees, Friday morning brought little relief. It was still minus 18 at 8:30 a.m. So, thank you, Mr. Sun.
Things won’t get any better Friday night when the thermometer was expected to plunge to minus 19 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. A wind chill warning was in effect until Friday at noon.
The record low for this date in Sault Ste. Marie was minus 25 degrees in 1896.
So, yes, it’s cold, said residents. So what?
“I don’t like to go outside but you have to,” said Stewart, 24, who has lived in the Upper Peninsula most of her life.
Residents will make some allowances as the Deep Freeze continues on Friday. It’s not like they can completely ignore a weather system that has left the two Great Lakes they live between — Huron and Superior — mostly sheathed in ice.
The U.S. Coast Guard warned that anyone planning to take an hourly ferry to two nearby islands should plan on delays. Ice is rapidly growing on the St. Mary’s River, which divides Sault Ste. Marie from Canada.
Three Coast Guard cutters are regularly plowing the frozen river but the ice quickly reassembles, said Lt. Sean Murphy of the Coast Guard sector in Sault Ste. Marie.
“It’s not a matter of if service will be stopped but when,” said Murphy.
Two freighters were snagged by the frigid river and that was last week, before temperatures fell through the floor.
As for the landlocked, Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools will be closed for the second day in a row Friday.
And the city of Sault Ste. Marie allowed 100 utility customers to let their water run to prevent their pipes from freezing. The number could grow based on what happens with the weather, said City Manager Oliver Turner.
“We encourage everyone to take appropriate precautions and use good judgment in dangerous weather conditions,” said Turner.