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Ohioans suffer through second day of cold blast

Associated Press

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COLUMBUS: Ohioans awoke to below-zero temperatures again Tuesday and many schools throughout the state were closed a second day because of the dangerous cold.

Wind chills were expected to be a hazardous 30- to 40-below zero, which can cause frostbite on exposed skin within minutes. A wind chill warning was in effect for the entire state.

While temperatures didn’t approach the all-time record lows set in Ohio during a 1994 cold snap, a number of records were broken for Monday and Tuesday’s dates, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature in Toledo reached minus 14 at about 1 a.m. Tuesday. That was the coldest spot in the state and broke the previous record for Tuesday’s date of minus 7, set in 1970 in that city.

Cleveland reached minus 11, Youngstown minus 12 and Columbus minus 7 on Tuesday morning, all records for Jan. 7.

Historically speaking, it was the coldest weather in Ohio since January 1994, when it reached minus 25 in Akron and minus 20 in Cleveland, according to the weather service.

University Hospitals in Cleveland said one person treated for hypothermia died there on Monday. The person’s identity wasn’t released. A 90-year-old woman died Monday in northwestern Ohio after her car got stuck in the snow and she tried to walk home.

Authorities said Virginia McFeters was found in the snow outside of her retirement community in Wauseon, west of Toledo. They said her body was found about 150 feet from her car, which had gotten stuck in a drift. Neighbors say they don’t know where she was trying to go.

Frigid weather hampered crews trying to repair a major water main break that flooded then iced some downtown Columbus streets, and made it more difficult for crews fighting a major fire that destroyed a historic restaurant in Waverly in southern Ohio.

Crews in Lorain County, west of Cleveland, worked overnight to restore natural gas service to about 2,200 customer affected by an outage, and recreation buildings in several cities were again opened as warming centers. Outreach efforts were underway to get homeless people out of the cold.

Power was being restored Tuesday afternoon to all but a few customers who lost it during a weather-related outage earlier in the day in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs.

The coldest temperatures in Ohio in decades — ushered in by the “polar vortex” affecting a large swath of the county — also closed Ohio State University and caused the state Legislature to shuffle its schedule.

A warm up is expected after Tuesday. Highs are predicted to be in the 20s statewide on Wednesday, and they’re forecast to rise to the 40s near the end of the week.

“Winds from the southwest will bring warmer temperatures into the region,” weather service meteorologist John Franks said. Along with some warmer temperatures, the winds are expected to die down, easing the wind chill, he said.

A sure sign the weather was improving: The Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland — which had closed because of the weather Monday — announced it would reopen at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

———

Associated Press writers Mitch Stacy in Columbus and Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.


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