Extreme cold plagues Midwest

Ella Schulte, News Writer

Record-breaking lows, severe warnings to stay warm and indoors, thousands of canceled flights, snow days and for some, tragedy, have swept across the Midwest.

The polar vortex was said to have peaked on Thursday, January 31 at around 7 a.m., while nearly 216 million people experienced falling temperatures well below zero.

Twenty three lives are said to have been claimed by the cold including 18-year-old Gerald Belz, a former Kennedy graduate and pre-med student at the University of Iowa.

Belz was found on campus with no traces of alcohol in his system, the cause of death is presumed to have been caused by the frigid temperatures.

Within a span of two weeks, many schools across the Midwest experienced around six to seven snow days. As for making them up, Minnesota schools have been given a pass on instruction-time thresholds due to the lingering cold and snow which later ensued.

“The Governor has assured local school districts that they will not be penalized for keeping their students safe,” a spokesman for Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz said according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Many Iowans bundled up indoors after being advised of the dropping temperatures, but for Xavier junior Taylor Scallon, doing otherwise worked well in her favor.

Junior Taylor Scallon goes outside in the freezing temperatures with wet hair. Photo Submitted.

On January 30, Scallon posted a video to Twitter showing the result of going outside with wet hair for approximately three minutes. Frozen in place, her hair stood straight up above her head.

Within 24 hours the clip racked up 782 thousand views on Twitter alone, hitting 3.2 million just a few days later.

Shared on numerous platforms, the clip was shown on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Good Morning America. It was additionally posted to People’s online news feed, the Snapchat discover page and various Instagram accounts.

“I never expected this video to go viral. In fact, I didn’t even think it was worth posting on Twitter,” Scallon said. “It’s crazy seeing my name all over these websites, articles and magazines. Of course, we all see videos online for entertainment, but I never thought or even desired that to be me.”

The extreme cold has both brought families together and torn them apart, reminding everyone to bundle up and hold those we love a little closer this winter season.