Temperatures that registered well below zero last week caused closed schools, a halt in mail delivery, nearly record-breaking weather and messy streets and sidewalks in the area.
It also froze water at the dam.
Well the sustained below zero temperatures for much of the week didn’t crush any records, they came close. Wednesday’s official low of -30.7° was a notch short of the record for the date, set in 1916 at -32°. The high on Wednesday was -12°, matching the high temperature for that date for a record set in 1918.
This January’s most frigid week would have had to drop even lower to break the all-time record cold for Flandreau, -40° on Jan. 1, 1974.
School in Flandreau was cancelled Monday through Wednesday last week and delayed on Thursday. That missed class time will push the last day of school back to May 23 for underclassmen for now, according to school district policy. Graduation is on May 17 and classes were to have been finished May 16.
But the district is looking at making up four days because school also was cancelled Jan. 18. The school board has the authority to review the calendar and decide if there are needed changes, said Superintendent Rick Weber.
With school cancelled, activities were rescheduled, too. A doubleheader with McCook Central Montrose will be Feb. 16 with the first junior varsity game starting at 1 p.m. A boys’ basketball game with Dell Rapids will be Feb. 22 with the C game starting at 5 p.m. Both events are at home.
Colman-Egan students also have missed four days, including three last week, because of bad weather. As of now, those days would be added onto the end of the school, making May 20 the last day, unless the school board votes to change it. Graduation is May 11.
It was so cold that mail wasn’t delivered last Wednesday on any routes in South Dakota or North Dakota. But the retail window and boxes at the Flandreau Post Office were open, said Linda Neill, communications specialist with the regional office of the postal service.
In an effort to stay warm, rural electric customers in the county helped push energy use to a record level with an all-time peak on Tuesday for East River Electric, which serves eastern South Dakota, said Carrie Vugteveen, spokeswoman for Sioux Valley Energy.
“It was not a surprise. It was very cold,” she said.
Sioux Valley Energy doesn’t ask its customers to conserve energy during peak loads but always encourages consumers to use their electricity wisely, she said.