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Cold reality: DeKalb County misses all-time low by a single degree

January 31, 2019

Are you sitting down, DeKalb County? We have some sad news to forward from the National Weather Service: With all we’ve endured during this cold snap, it didn’t get cold enough to break the all-time record.

That mark of minus 27 set Jan. 20, 1985, remains the undisputed champion of chill, after the temperature got down to minus 26 both Wednesday and Thursday, according to Meteorologist Gino Izzi.

We can take solace, however, in the fact that both of those lows were far-and-away the lowest on those dates. The previous daily records were minus 13 on Jan. 30 and minus 16 on Jan. 31.

“If it makes [DeKalb County residents] feel better, they broke the daily record yesterday by 13 degrees, and today, we broke the daily record by 10 degrees,” he said. “To be honest, breaking a daily record is not easy, let alone to do it by double-digits, and coming within a degree of the all-time record is nothing to sneeze at either.”

There will be no sneezing in Rockford, where the all-time mark was shattered as the temperature got down to minus 31 this morning.

What’s ahead

We’re expected to get one to three inches of snow tonight, Izzi said, and that as temperatures soar to 40 degrees and above over the weekend, even reaching 50 on Monday, flooding could become an issue.

“At this point, we’re not looking for anything too significant,” he said, “but we’d recommend the typical cautions. If you’re driving and see standing water, slow down, or avoid it if you can.”

There’s a 50 percent chance of rain through the weekend, and a 90 percent chance Monday. At the outset Saturday, it will likely be more of a freezing rain and drizzle, like we experienced Jan. 22.

Back to school

Much to school administrators’ relief, classes are expected to be back in session Friday, after they were called off Jan. 23 and the first four days this week. Add in the day off just after Thanksgiving, and the county’s districts have already burned through their five emergency days, which will need to be made up after the school year’s planned end, as well as a sixth day that most districts will make up on President’s Day on Feb. 18.

That means in DeKalb and Sycamore, students will go to school through May 30 – starting tomorrow, without a doubt D-428 Superintendent Jamie Craven said.

“Even though they’re calling for a little bit of snow tonight, everybody needs to go back, honestly,” he said. “Truth be told, teachers don’t enjoy being off. It’s a disruption in the learning cycle. It’s a loss of instructional time, and we’d prefer to have kids in school.”

Any more snow or extreme cold days will need to be approved by the regional superintendent, Amanda Christensen, as acts of God. Those days won’t need to be made up.

Whereas prolonged breaks such as Christmas and spring break are planned for, this hiatus was a major disruption to the learning cycle, he said. The districts have also lost valuable time as they face deadlines both imposed by the state and those set internally. For instance, in order to determine how many sections will be needed of many classes, students need to sit down with counselors, make their requests and start building their schedule for the 2019-20 school year.

“We’re up against that deadline here pretty quick, so losing five days in the last two weeks, we’re a week behind,” Craven said.

That said, he and D-427 Superintendent Kathy Countryman agree that having burned through the emergency days shouldn’t change a district’s decision-making process if it should need to take one of those act of God days.

“I stick to the playbook,” Countryman said. “The umbrella that serves us and guides us is student safety.”

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