No question about it, it’s cold outside.
Today, Windsor broke the cold record for January 30th when the temperature dropped to -21.7 ° C at 7:00 a.m. The previous record was –20.6 ° C and was set in 1951.
But there is an interesting contrast to how people along the border deal with this extreme weather.
In Michigan, today’s cold spell resulted in the governor declaring a state of emergency. Schools and universities are closed. Restaurants and libraries are closed. Even the US Post has suspended delivery.
Michigan State Offices in Detroit are closed as low temperatures drop below freezing on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is closing the state government for the third day this week due to winter weather, saying the move is necessary to keep people safe. (Tanya Moutzalias / Ann Arbor News via AP)
But just 750 meters across the river in Windsor, life is relatively normal.
Sure, some cars groaned before leaving this morning. And oven repairs and plumbers are likely to get more calls than usual.
However, shops are open. People are at work. Even the school buses drive.
Why do we react so differently to this weather?
Glenn Maleyko is the superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools in Michigan. He lives west of Windsor in LaSalle. (Jonathan Pinto / CBC)
Glenn Maleyko is particularly suited to get an insight.
LaSalle resident is a dual Canadian and US citizen who directs Dearborn Public Schools, one of the largest school systems in Michigan’s Wayne County. Because of the extreme cold, he ordered the closure of his schools on Wednesday.
“It was really based on student safety,” he said. “We forecast these temperatures that were so low and I’m worried about students who might be on the street.
However, Maleyko’s own children had to go to school – even though he drove them instead of keeping them waiting for the bus. That’s because they both attend schools here in Canada run by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.
When asked why people in Michigan react so differently to the record-breaking cold, Maleyko points out the “hype” generated by traditional and social media, as the key factor that has been talking about the impending cold for days.
“I think it’s cultural,” he said, noting that he had noticed more pressure from parents to close the school than a decade ago. “The storm is coming ratings – it’s a huge impact.”
“And when the governor then declares a state of emergency, it is a great burden for us all [to close]” he added.
Tap the player at the top to hear Maleyko’s full conversation with Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre.