Ohio woman dies due to the cold

The Associated Press

A coroner in Ohio says the death of a woman whose body was found in a vacant house was likely related to the dangerous cold gripping the state.

Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans said the 60-year-old woman’s body was found Wednesday in Lorain. He told The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram it appears she died of hypothermia.

Authorities say she may have been staying in the house for months and apparently died in the last day or two.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office says it’s investigating the death of a woman found frozen in her unheated apartment.

The medical examiner says the 38-year-old woman was pronounced dead about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Authorities say an investigation revealed the thermostat in her apartment had malfunctioned. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.

The National Weather Service said the temperature Thursday fell to negative 10 degrees in Toledo, setting a record low for the date there. The previous record was minus 5, set in 1971.

United Parcel Service says it halted deliveries in about 250 zip codes in the Midwest and western New York because of concerns for the safety of those making deliveries in the extreme cold .

UPS Chief Operating Officer Jim Barber said Thursday that most of the routes that won’t receive deliveries are in rural areas. He says drivers delivering in cities have a chance to warm up while making deliveries to businesses.

UPS says it stopped deliveries to about 100 zip codes on Wednesday. The Post Office says there are 42,000 zip codes across the country.

Warm-up coming

A meteorologist says parts of the northern U.S. are going to experience an “unprecedented” and “dramatic warm-up.”

Weather Underground’s meteorology director Jeff Masters says places in Michigan and Illinois experiencing record or near-record cold this week are expected to be around 50 degrees Fahrenheit by Monday.

He said Thursday that he hasn’t before seen a 70-degree shift in temperature during the winter. He says “past record-cold waves have not dissipated this quickly” and that the region seems headed for “spring-like temperatures.”

Masters says the polar vortex is “rotating up into Canada” and is not expected to return in the next couple of weeks.

He says it might return in late February, but if it does, “it won’t be as intense.”

More from Midwest

Police say a 60-year-old Michigan man has been found dead outdoors amid frigid temperatures.

Police say the man’s body was discovered in East Lansing on Wednesday.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death, although police say foul play is not suspected. The deaths of at least two other Michigan residents have been connected to the extreme cold weather.

In Ecorse, police identified a 70-year-old victim as Gary Sammons, a former city council member and teacher. He was found Tuesday outside his home.

Officials say a suburban Detroit fundraiser in which people were to sleep outdoors to raise awareness about homelessness has been replaced with a drive to get people indoors during the extreme cold .

The dangerously cold weather system that is enveloping much the Midwest has brought an icy record low to a northern Indiana city.

The National Weather Service says the temperature fell to minus 20 degrees Thursday morning in South Bend, setting a record low for Jan. 31. The previous record was minus 11, set in 1936.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Roller says South Bend’s record low is “odd” because when temperature records are set they’re usually within a few degrees of the previous record and not nine degrees different.

A Michigan utility that warned residents that they risk brief interruptions of natural gas service for heat amid bitterly cold weather if they don’t reduce energy use says efforts to conserve energy are making a difference.

Consumers Energy said in a statement Thursday that it’s “cautiously optimistic” its requests to curb natural gas use “are having a positive effect.” Auto plants and other big energy users throughout Michigan are joining residential customers in cutting back.

Consumers Energy’s CEO Patti Poppe made an appeal Wednesday following a fire at one of its suburban Detroit facilities that affected natural gas supplies.

An emergency alert was sent late Wednesday to cellphones asking people to lower thermostats to 65 degrees (18 degrees Celsius) or below through Friday.

About 1,700 flights in and out of Chicago’s airports were canceled in the last 24 hours amid the frigid weather in the Midwest , with experts saying the cold is affecting transit operations.

The temperature Thursday morning at O’Hare International Airport was negative 20 degrees. About 1,450 flights were canceled at O’Hare, one of the nation’s busiest airports.

Airline experts say the double-digit subzero temperatures affect manpower, equipment and fueling at airports. United Airlines has brought in heated tents for its employees at O’Hare and added workers to increase shifts.

The low temperatures also affected rail service in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city. Some commuter lines are shutting down or altering schedules amid the cold.

Officials are warning Michigan residents that they risk brief interruptions of natural gas service for heat amid bitterly cold weather if they don’t help reduce energy.

The warning comes after a fire at a utility’s suburban Detroit facility that affected natural gas supplies.

Consumers Energy’s CEO Patti Poppe made an appeal Wednesday night for customers to reduce their natural gas usage. She later told The Detroit News that “localized planned curtailments: for some homes and business if demand isn’t reduced.

An emergency alert was sent late Wednesday to cellphones asking people to lower thermostats to 65 degrees (18 Celsius) or below through Friday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked everyone to “to do your part.”

A good Samaritan offered to pay for hotel rooms for 70 homeless people in Chicago who were camped out in tents amid the bitter cold that blanketed Chicago.

The offer came after the Chicago Fire Department on Wednesday confiscated nearly 100 propane tanks given the group to keep them warm as temperatures sank to negative 22 (negative 20 Celsius). The department acted after one of the donated tanks exploded.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Jacqueline Rachev said city officials told the organization about their actions at the camp. The Salvation Army was about to move the people to a warming center when the city called again and informed them of the gesture.

Rachev was not sure of the identity of the good Samaritan and only knew the hotel was on the city’s South Side.

The Associated Press