Midwesterners have been bracing for today all week as weather forecasters have been predicting the coldest temperatures in a generation. High temperatures around negative 15 and wind chills dipping past 50 below zero combine to create what most news outlets are touting as “deadly cold.” And that is sadly coming true – CNN reported Wednesday that at least five people had died as a result of the brutal weather this week. More deaths were reported as the deadly weather continued.
One man died outside in Minnesota’s subzero temperatures after being unable to enter the locked home he was staying in with a relative. In Illinois and Indiana, three people have died in weather-related car accidents. And in Wisconsin, a man collapsed and died after shoveling snow. At the University of Iowa, a student was found outside, dead of possible exposure.Two men were found dead outside near their homes in the Detroit area.
The extreme cold is expected to last through midday Thursday, and it’s important to take precautions to prevent frostbite and other severe injuries. If you have to go outside, bundle up, covering every inch of skin you possibly can. In wind chills this low, frostbite can happen within five minutes.
Blowing snow is causing visibility issues and bad roads in some areas, so don’t drive without checking the status of the roads on your route first. If you take public transportation, check on that too – some city trains and buses are shut down or have altered schedules for the duration. Expect that travel will take longer than usual, and keep emergency supplies with you if you drive.