The Latest: Thousands without power amid record Indiana cold
CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on a major snowstorm and frigid weather in the Midwest (all times local):
Duke Energy crews are working to restore power to thousands of central Indiana residents who lost power amid dangerously low temperatures.
About 4,000 Duke Energy customers were without power Wednesday morning on Indianapolis’ north side and adjacent areas of Hamilton County. The utility is investigating the cause of the outages, which come during the coldest weather in years in much of the Midwest.
The National Weather Service says the temperature fell to minus 11 degrees (negative 23 Celsius) shortly after sunrise Wednesday in Indianapolis, tying the record low for the date set in 1966.
The U.S. Postal Service has suspended mail delivery in parts or all of several Midwest states, including Indiana.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation pulled snowplows off the roads in nearly a dozen southeastern counties because of the extreme cold, while Wisconsin added state offices and agencies to its long list of closures.
Minnesota transportation officials say some snowplows were experiencing mechanical problems because of subzero temperatures Tuesday, so officials decided to idle all plows overnight. Officials say they didn’t want to put drivers in danger if the plows malfunctioned.
Operations resumed early Wednesday, after overnight temperatures in the area dropped to negative 29 degrees (negative 34 Celsius).
In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order closing all non-essential state offices Wednesday, when the wind chill was forecast to be as cold as minus 55 degrees (negative 48 Celsius).
Scores of schools, courthouses and businesses are closed across the Midwest as a deadly arctic deep freeze envelopes the region.
Plummeting temperatures in Chicago are disrupting area transit as officials warn against venturing out into the dangerously cold weather.
The National Weather service says the temperature dropped early Wednesday to minus 19 degrees (negative 28 degrees Celsius). That breaks the previous record low for the day that was set in 1966.
But the weather service says temperatures are expected drop even more as the day progresses.
Extreme weather conditions have prompted Amtrak to cancel all trains into and out of Chicago on Wednesday and most services to or from Chicago on Thursday.
Some major Chicago attractions weren’t opening Wednesday and schools are closed due to the cold.
Among the things the arctic cold is freezing up temporarily in Illinois are the wheels of justice.
Along with numerous schools and businesses, many federal and state courthouses are closed in Illinois on Wednesday as dangerously cold weather hits parts of the Midwest.
Kane County courts are among those closing. The chief judge for the circuit courts in suburban Chicago cited the “dangerous cold” for the decision to close both Wednesday and Thursday.
The chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, home to Chicago, also ordered its courts closed both days. He says he wants to ensure “nobody is placed in danger while traveling to and from court” in “anticipated historic cold temperatures.”
The federal judicial district for northern Illinois is closing its courthouses in Chicago and Rockford on Wednesday.
A deadly arctic deep freeze has enveloped the Midwest, forcing widespread closure of schools, businesses, government offices, and prompting the U.S. Postal Service to take the rare step of suspending mail delivery to a wide swath of the region.
Many normal activities are shutting down and residents are huddled inside as the National Weather Service forecast plunging temperatures from one of the coldest air masses in years. The bitter cold is the result of a split in the polar vortex that allowed temperatures to plunge much further south in North America than normal.
Officials throughout the region are focused on protecting vulnerable people from the cold, including the homeless, seniors and those living in substandard housing.
At least four deaths have been linked to the weather system.