WILMINGTON — The noontime temperature was 5 degrees below zero Wednesday at the National Weather Service Wilmington office, with a Wind Chill Warning in effect until 7 p.m. followed by a Wind Chill Advisory from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 1 p.m. Thursday.
All local schools were closed Wednesday, including the campus of Wilmington College, as well as some businesses.
And as popular saying goes: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat …” will stop the mail from being delivered — but extreme cold did so Wednesday throughout many Midwestern states.
But relief, as well as a thaw, is around the corner.
Although Thursday’s temperatures are only expected to reach the mid-teens in Clinton County, by Friday the expected high will be around the freezing mark — before highs in the 40s Saturday and the 50s on Sunday and Monday, according to AccuWeather.
In Chicago, temperatures were still dropping after plunging early Wednesday to minus 19 degrees, breaking the day’s previous record low set in 1966, though wind chills in northern Illinois made it feel as cold as negative 57 degrees).
Snowplows were idled overnight in southwestern Minnesota, where temperatures dropped to negative 29 degrees (negative 34 Celsius). And the temperature in Fargo, North Dakota, was 31 degrees below zero (negative 35 Celsius).
The bitter cold is the result of a split in the polar vortex that allowed temperatures to drop much farther south than normal.
At least four deaths were linked to the weather system Tuesday, including a man struck and killed by a snow plow in the Chicago area, a young couple whose SUV struck another on a snowy road in northern Indiana, and a Milwaukee man found frozen to death in a garage.
Hawaii native Charles Henry, 54, was staying at a shelter in St. Paul, Minnesota, and said he was grateful to have a place to stay out of the cold.
“That wind chill out there is not even a joke,” he said. “I feel sorry for anybody that has to stay outside.”
Chicago turned five buses into makeshift warming centers moving around the city, some with nurses aboard, to encourage the homeless to come in from the cold.