Sub-zero-like temps can't close Western Wash. University

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 18, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 18 at 7:55 PM

BELLINGHAM -- North of Bellingham, along the road they call the Guide Meridian to Lynden, snow blew across the highway Wednesday, blinding at times, reaching 50 miles per hour.

Temperatures never got out of the teens. The high was only 18 degrees at 5:00 p.m. But with the wind chill, it felt a lot lower than that.

"It feels like it's cold enough to burn your face."  said Gary Gilmore, as he moved granite slabs indoors from where he works along the highway. "It's definitely cold." 

Western Washington University remained open during the storm, but Bellingham Schools closed for the day. Students got creative staying warm.

"My earlobes are hanging out, so it makes my ears cold," said Kevin Ernest, wearing a viking helmet. "But it makes the top of my head pretty warm." 

"I don't really remember it ever being this cold," said Kate Taylor, who grew up in Bellingham.

Western officials said they elected to keep the university open because 4,000 students live on campus in residence halls, and more than 80 percent of those living off campus are close enough to walk or ride the bus.

The last time WWU shut down was the winter of 2008-2009.

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