Old Man Winter Strikes Again: Many Schools Close & People Prepare

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Sunday's biting cold hit many in Eastern Iowa, but many are preparing for a Old Man Winter to strike again on Monday.

The message on the Iowa City School District's website says it all: "No School on Monday 1/6/14 due to dangerously cold temperatures."

"We are very concerned about the safety of the students both standing at the bus stops and walking to school," said Iowa City Schools Superintendent Stephen Murley.

Superintendent Murley is concerned about frostbite. He said little things like a bus running a few minutes late could leave students outside too long. The cold can also take a toll on school buses.

"School buses often have problems with their fuel beginning to gel up, that is, the temperature gets cold enough that the fuel itself actually starts to solidify, and that makes it hard to run buses," Murley said.

While kids get a day off, workers at Batteries Plus Bulbs in Cedar Rapids aren't so lucky.

"We've got a full staff in here tomorrow (Monday)," said Batteries Plus General Manager Dylan Edwards.

The rush for this car battery crew has already started. People, like Scott Wheatley, are getting ready.

"I'm afraid tomorrow (Monday) with it going to be negative 50 then it's going to be way too cold. I'd be afraid that the battery wouldn't start. I just want to make sure that wouldn't happen," Wheatley said.

"There's 42 automotive batteries sitting on that pallet right now, that's a week's worth. Tomorrow (Monday) I wouldn't be surprised if we add another 20, maybe even more to that," Edwards said.

The general manager said if your car battery is about four or five years old, you might want to get it tested.

"You can see the signs coming, and to prepare for that is better to have a new battery than to be stuck somewhere, especially in these kinds of temperatures," Edwards said.

Ready or not, with these temperatures colder than many can remember, some are just ready to close the door on this cold snap.

"Just don't go outside if you don't have to," Wheatley said.

Mechanics said to give your car some extra time to warm up before taking off in the bitter cold. They also said it's a good idea if you can keep it inside a garage and out of the wind.
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