Historic cold temperatures are expected in the region today as frigid weather caused by a powerful polar vortex driving a deep freeze across the area has prompted schools to close, more warming centers to open and outside workers to deploy extra caution.
A polar vortex will sink temperatures for the next couple of days, with wind chills ranging from -25° to -35°, according to WHIO-TV StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.
Vrydaghs said the bitter cold temperatures are expected to stick around on Thursday, with high temperatures expected in the low to middle teens and wind chills in the range of 5 to 15 below zero.
Several schools in the area announced Tuesday that they will be closed today and possibly Thursday as a result of the bitter cold temperatures.
Officials in each district urged school families to check with the district websites for the latest information on not only class closings but also for any cancellations of after-school sports, events or clubs for Wednesday or Thursday.
Springfield City Schools, Springfield-Clark Technology Center, Southeastern, Triad, Northeastern and Northwestern school districts announced Tuesday afternoon they would be closed on Wednesday.
Additional warming centers were announced in Springfield, New Carlisle and North Hampton Tuesday.
Springfield will open a warming center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, in the community room at the National Trail Parks and Recreation District offices, 1301 Mitchell Blvd. Officials will have coffee, hot chocolate and activities for those who need shelter from the cold.
A 24-hour warming shelter opened in western Clark County Tuesday night to help residents in need of assistance during extreme cold temperatures impacting the region, according to the Clark County Emergency Management Agency.
The shelter is located at the First United Methodist Church, 220 S. Main St., New Carlisle. It will remain available to the public through noon on Friday. The church can be reached at (937) 845-8435.
In North Hampton, the Asbury Church will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Wednesday. Residents are asked to call (937) 964-1362 to report any emergencies related to the cold.
Clark County officials have been directing people to the Interfaith Hospitality Network, 501 W. High St. from the start of the severe cold weather forecasts. The facility also serves as a warming center during cold weather once temperatures reach 10 degrees or lower. The facility can be reached at (937) 325-8154.
The Springfield Soup Kitchen operated as a warming center on Tuesday and will continue today and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., said Fred Stegner, operator of the facility.
The cold temperatures also were having an adverse effect on outdoor workers in the area who are mindful of the cold-weather hazards. Ohio Edison workers were out Tuesday on Belmont Avenue braving the cold weather.
“It is extremely hard because you are always cold and try to keep as many layers on as you can,” explained Nick Gold, who was working alongside of Chuck Sanders and Chad Turner.
The men said the wind chill, “is really bad,” but they will layer up to combat the elements and cover exposed skin. Taking several breaks to get out of the cold is also a tactic to keep safe.
Mail carriers will be out Wednesday and Thursday during regular delivery hours and will have an extra set of hand and foot-warmers at their disposal as the temperatures dip below zero, according to an official with the Springfield Post Office.