The Kentucky governor criticised schools for closing down during the polar vortex: 'We're getting soft'


Parts of the US are engulfed in a polar vortex this week, which is to say that it is very cold. Some parts of the US will reach -30 degrees Fahrenheit – as in as cold as it gets in Antartica.

As cities across the US essentially shut down basic operations including schools, transportation, and mail services, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin revealed he’s sceptical that the safety precautions are really necessary, sa first reported by the Washington Post.

“What happens to America?” Bevin said of the school closures in an interview with Louisville-based radio station 840 WHAS. “We’re getting soft.”

The Republican, who is up for re-election this year, said that it seemed overdramatic for schools to close down due to the extreme cold.

“It’s deep freeze!” radio host Terry Meiners responded when Bevin brought up concerns over school closure. “This is serious business.”

“Come on, now,” Bevin said. “I mean, there’s no ice going with it, or any snow.”

Bevin briefly attempted to take back his comments before implying that closing schools during the cold weather coddles an entire generation.

“I do appreciate,” he said. “It’s better to err on the side of being safe and I’m being only slightly facetious, but it does concern me a little bit that in America, on this and any number of other fronts, we’re sending messages to our young people that you can curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and just wait until it stops being hard and that just isn’t reality. It isn’t.”

Read more: Trump tweets falsehoods about climate change and cold weather – again

But to be perfectly clear: It’s very cold in the US as the polar vortex, which is essentially an area of circulating cold air, swells and engulfs the US, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday.

In Louisville, where Bevin’s radio interview aired, it will hit a high temperature of 12 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday and a low of 7. But with windchill it will feel like -16 degrees Fahrenheit.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Chicago, Illinois, temperatures are expected to plummet to -27 and -29 degrees Fahrenheit before windchill, respectively. The cold is so bad it can give people frostbite in five minutes, the National Weather Service’s Chicago office warned. Even the US Postal Service is shutting down in some areas because of the weather.

Americans who are 25 or younger will have “never felt this cold before,” CNN meteorologist Tom Sater said.

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