The Latest: Chicago using buses to get homeless off streets

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Latest on a major snowstorm and the expected frigid weather in the Midwest (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Chicago city officials are taking to the streets hoping to convince as many homeless people as possible to go to warming centers and shelters. They know many homeless people are reluctant to stray too far from their belongings, so they are scouring areas popular with the homeless in the hope of convincing them to board city buses long enough to get warm.

Cristina Villarreal, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Family and Support Services, says: “We’re bringing the warming shelters to them, so they can stay near all of their stuff and still warm up.”

She says they can stay as long as they need to. She also says that one bus used on Monday night and the two buses used on Tuesday were staffed with nurses.

___

11:45 a.m.

Officials in large Midwestern cities are working with churches and nonprofits to help vulnerable people amid the deadly cold weather.

Minneapolis charitable groups that operate warming places and shelters are expanding hours and capacity, and ambulance crews are handling all outside calls as being potentially life-threatening.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says city agencies are making sure homeless people are in shelters or offered space in warming buses. He also is urging residents to check on neighbors.

Officials at Milwaukee Rescue Mission say call volume is unusually high but there should be enough beds to meet the need.

Shelters, churches and city departments in Detroit are working together to help get vulnerable people out of the cold. Businesses are being asked to contact the city if they notice anyone in need.

___

11:10 a.m.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has joined the list of Midwestern governors issuing disaster proclamations as frigidly cold weather starts hitting the region.

Pritzker released a statement Tuesday noting that plummeting temperatures are expected to hit Illinois on Tuesday and stay through Thursday morning. The Democrat calls the weather “potentially historic.”

Forecasters say the temperature in northern Illinois could dip to negative 27 degrees (negative 33 Celsius) with wind-chill values as low as negative 55 degrees (negative 48 Celsius).

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Miller called the frigid weather “life threatening.” He says records going back to the 1800s could be broken. He also notes that frost bite is possible within 5 to 10 minutes.

Governors in Wisconsin and Michigan have also declared states of emergency ahead of the cold snap.

___

10:20 a.m.

A Wisconsin congressman is calling President Donald Trump “a moron” over a tweet that urged global warming to “come back fast” in the face of dangerous cold hitting the Midwest.

Hundreds of schools in the region cancelled classes through Wednesday, and the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan declared states of emergency amid wind chills as low as negative 60 degrees (negative 51 Celsius).

Trump has frequently cast doubt on climate change, especially when cold weather hits. His tweet late Monday wondering “What the hell is going on with Global Warming” drew a quick response from Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan.

The Democrat responded by saying: “Only a moron would not understand global warming causes huge temperature swings.”

Northern Illinois University climate scientist Victor Gensini said the cold snap is “simply an extreme weather event” and doesn’t represent the global trend toward a warming Earth. He noted the record heat currently in Australia.

___

9:20 a.m.

Major universities in parts of the Midwest are shutting down because of the extreme cold blanketing the region.

Arctic air dipping into the region sent temperatures plunging Tuesday, and even colder weather is expected Wednesday.

Hundreds of public schools are closed from North Dakota to Michigan. The universities closing their campuses include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota, the University of North Dakota, the University of South Dakota and Iowa State University.

Temperatures in the Dakotas and Minnesota dropped on Tuesday to as low as minus 27 (negative 33 degrees Celsius) with wind chills as cold as minus 59 (negative 51 degrees Celsius).

The National Weather Service says wind chills in much of Iowa could dip as low as negative 50 degrees (negative 45.6 Celsius) on Wednesday.

___

7:25 a.m.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has approved a state of emergency ahead of dangerously cold weather .

Whitmer says the order will help address threats to public health and safety stemming from this week’s cold snap, which follows a snowstorm that buried parts of Michigan and other Midwestern states.

Hundreds of the state’s schools are closed Tuesday, including Detroit’s public schools, as cleanup from the snow continued.

Heavy snow and gusting winds also created blizzard-like conditions Monday in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and other states where officials closed schools, courthouses and businesses.

But it’s the plunging temperatures expected to start Tuesday that have forecasters especially concerned. Wind chills could dip to negative 55 degrees (negative 48 degrees Celsius) in northern Illinois this week.

___

12 a.m.

Extreme cold and record-breaking low temperatures are settling across parts of the Midwest after a powerful snowstorm pounded the region.

Forecasters say the weather could be life-threatening.

Subzero temperatures will begin Tuesday, but Wednesday is expected to be the worst. Wind chills in northern Illinois could fall to negative 55 degrees (negative 48 degrees Celsius), which the National Weather Service called “possibly life threatening.”

Minnesota temperatures could hit minus 30 degrees (negative 34 degrees Celsius) with a wind chill of negative 60 (negative 51 degrees Celsius). The potentially record-breaking low temperature forecast in Milwaukee is negative 28 degrees (negative 33 degrees Celsius), with a wind chill as low as negative 50 (negative 45 degrees Celsius).

Minneapolis Public Schools announced there would be no classes through Wednesday.

Categories: National News