The last time it was this cold for this long in Greater Akron was 1994 — the year Amazon launched, O.J. Simpson fled arrest in a white Bronco and an independent counsel launched an investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton, which ultimately led to revelations about Monica Lewinsky.

If you’re under 30, chances are good you don’t remember what wind chills of minus-20 to minus-30 feel like, said Sarah Jamison, a meteorologist at the Cleveland office of the National Weather Service.

“It’s like opening your freezer and getting hit by a blast of cold in the face, but even colder,” she said.

Temperatures in Akron and surrounding areas will remain below zero for two days, both during daylight and after dark.

That, combined with 20 mph winds, will make it feel much, much colder, she said.

“It’s rare ... it’s exceptional, but it’s not unprecedented,” Jamison said.

Schools, governments and agencies Tuesday were bracing for the dangerous cold to come as thermometers began their downward slide.

Many districts — including Akron Public Schools — took the unusual step of announcing a two-day closure Wednesday and Thursday even before classes were over Tuesday.

Other places also announced two-day closures including the Akron Art Museum, Akron and Wadsworth municipal courts and Summit Metro Parks centers — including sledding hills and ice skating ponds.

Yet Terri Heckman of the Continuum of Care — an umbrella group that works to find solutions for homelessness — said she was worried that more governments, churches and organizations were not offering 24-hour warm spaces.

It’s been so long since Northeast Ohio was hit by such dangerous, prolonged cold, she said, that many groups might not have plans for such an event.

Barberton, Norton, Stow, Tallmadge, Lakemore and Macedonia are opening warming centers for the public. In Akron, four community centers — Mason Park, Patterson Park, Summit Lake and Lawton Street — will double as warming centers from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Transportation to overnight facilities will be provided, a city spokeswoman said.

The Peter Maurin Center was to remain open to the public overnight Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

And Haven of Rest will provide 24-hour shelter Wednesday and Thursday, not turning anyone away, Heckman said.

“They will have cots and sleeping bags and find room somewhere,” Heckman said.

If you know someone at risk, she said, call 211. If you see someone in danger, call 911.

Heckman, who also runs the Battered Women’s Shelter, sent each member of her staff of 55 home Tuesday with bags of donated hats and gloves, instructing them to pass them out to anyone they passed on their way home who might need them.

Sage Lewis, who operates the nonprofit Homeless Charity at 15 Broad St., said his facility will be open 24 hours the next couple of days.

Pets, too, are at risk of frostbite or death. Anyone leaving an animal tethered outdoors could face criminal charges, according to Humane Society of Summit County President and CEO Diane Johnson.

“They shouldn’t have them outside because it’s too cold for them to survive,” she said.

Residents who see dogs outside during the frigid temperatures the next few days can call Summit County Animal Control or the humane society, Johnson said.

They can also call 911 because pets won’t last long in this kind of weather and police can often help — or know how to get help — more quickly, said Christine Fatheree, director of Summit County Animal Control.

Officials at Columbia Natural Gas expected gas use to skyrocket 75 percent higher than a typical winter day and approach the all-time record set in 1994.

Those temperatures will also freeze pipes in many homes, drain car batteries and interrupt some services.

Cuyahoga Falls officials, for instance, asked residents to delay putting sanitation and recycle carts at the curb unless necessary on Wednesday and Thursday “for the safety of both our sanitation customers and crews."

Those residents who comply will not be charged for extra bags put out the following week, the city said. Akron is extending the same deal to its residents.

Summit County Public Health and its Emergency Management Agency urged people to stay inside, if possible. But they also encouraged residents to make frequent visits to the elderly, frail or mentally ill since they are especially vulnerable during the deep freeze.

Meteorologist Jamison said 100 U.S. residents nationwide died during the last such cold snap in 1994.

The brutal cold now will break a bit Friday — with temperatures expected to hit 20.

One frigid upside of the the big chill Wednesday and Thursday, Jamison said, is something that Northeast Ohioans oven crave during the cloudy months of winter — sunshine.