The single-digit temperatures that invaded Highland County overnight Sunday and into Monday led to uncomfortable outdoor experiences but no emergencies so far, according to the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District.
Branden Jackman, public information officer for Paint Creek, said that so far there had been no emergencies due to exposure, or fires related to the cold.
“I thought we might get something (Sunday night) with people starting to use space heaters,” said Jackman.
Jackman said EMS personnel and firefighters take special precautions in cold weather to protect patients and keep them warm. He said fire equipment undergoes a different protocol, including draining pumps or keeping water circulating to avoid freezing.
So far, though, as of Monday afternoon, area residents seemed to be following common sense guidelines to stay safe.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” said Jackman.
The Hillsboro area forecast called for mostly sunny skies on Tuesday, but remaining cold with highs 15 to 20. Wind chill was expected to be as low as 10 below in the morning.
Tuesday night was expected to see partly cloudy skies in the evening, then becoming mostly cloudy and not as cool, with lows 10 to 15.
Wednesday will see a 90 percent chance of snow, and not as cool with highs around 30. Thursday will be mostly cloudy with lows in the lower 20s, highs in the lower 30s.
The arctic air mass that froze water pipes in Minnesota and led Chicago officials to ask residents to check on neighbors is sticking around in some parts of the upper Midwest.
Due to El Nino, winter got off to a mild start. But the blast of dangerous cold moved east across the Northern Plains and Great Lakes on Sunday, when temperatures bottomed out at 36 degrees below in Fosston in northwest Minnesota.
It was so cold in western Minnesota that traffic lights went dark Sunday morning in Montevideo when a transformer blew. One homeowner’s bid to thaw pipes in West Duluth caused a fire that led to $37,000 in damage, WDIO-TV reported.
Meanwhile, parts of Illinois were in the single digits Monday, the second day with such frigid air.
Many cities sought to ensure no one succumbed to the cold. The Indianapolis Star reported that the state Department of Homeland Security would send anyone needing shelter from the weather Sunday and Monday to a Salvation Army facility.
But in Wisconsin, authorities said a 21-year-old woman likely died of exposure to subzero temperatures in Milwaukee; medical examiners said she was apparently intoxicated when she left a house party and was found outside by a passer-by. Surveillance video showed she collapsed outside of a residence.
Snow accompanied the drop in temperatures in northern and western Michigan, where up to 16 inches of snow fell over 24 hours in Honor and Traverse City received 10 inches. A march in honor of Martin Luther King Day was canceled in Grand Rapids because of road conditions.
Some reprieve from the cold is expected in the Midwest later in the week, with Chicago expecting to jump into the comparatively balmy 30s by Thursday. But the sub-freezing temperatures were moving eastward, the National Weather Service said, taking aim at the Ohio Valley and areas of the Appalachians.