Maryville faced record-breaking low temperatures Wednesday as an arctic deep freeze engulfed the midwest, resulting in Northwest canceling classes and closing campus.
The city faced the coldest day of the winter so far with temperatures dropping to minus 5 degrees with a wind chill ranging from minus 25 to minus 40 degrees. According to the National Weather Service, a record low temperature was set Wednesday, breaking the previous record set in 1960.
The University closed at 6 p.m. Tuesday and remained closed through Wednesday. The only buildings on campus that remained open were Bearcat Commons in the J.W. Jones Student Union and Mooyah in the Station.
The decision to cancel classes is made by a team of University leaders including the president, facilities, the provost, the vice president of student affairs, human resource director, the athletics director and University police chief.
All team members give input, but the president is the one who makes the final decision. University Police Chief Clarence Green also serves as the emergency management coordinator.
Green said he received a report from the weather service at 5:11 a.m. Tuesday warning about dangerously cold wind chills to be expected Tuesday night and into Wednesday.
The weather service rates the weather on a four tier scale, the first tier being minor to the fourth tier being historic. Maryville fell in the critical impact, which is the third tier. The weather service warned that frostbite would begin to occur in 15 minutes in these weather conditions.
After reviewing these reports, Green spoke with President John Jasinski to schedule a meeting at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. At the conclusion of that meeting, the decision was made to close the University.
“We’re just trying to use a lot of information to make good decisions,” Green said.
KCP&L reported that 2,010 Nodaway County customers were affected by a power outage. To those affected out of the bitter cold, Laura Street Baptist Church and The Station were opened to students, faculty and staff as warming stations.
Northwest also canceled classes last Wednesday, Jan. 23 putting classes that meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays two class periods behind.
Art professor Martha Breckenridge teaches Renaissance and Baroque which meets once a week on Wednesdays. This class has met once since the beginning of the semester.
“Unfortunately we’ve only been able to meet one time, but I would far rather have this than have people risking having problems in the cold weather,” Breckenridge said.
To make up for lost in-class time Breckenridge recorded her lessons on Audacity and sent them out to the 17 students enrolled in her class.
“Although we are not able to meet face-to-face, at least we won’t be hopelessly behind by two to three art classes,” Breckenridge said.
Northwest reopened campus and resumed classes as usual for Thursday.