ARCTIC PLUNGE | Survival guide for sub-zero temperatures
Author: Ryan Haidet
Published: 11:02 AM EST January 28, 2019
Updated: 11:17 AM EST January 31, 2019
WEATHER 9 Articles

It's going to be insanely cold in the days ahead.

We're not joking.

It's going to be dangerously frigid with wind chills hitting -35 or lower.

Brutal. We know.

We're here to get you through this.

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ARCTIC PLUNGE | Survival guide for sub-zero temperatures

Chapter 1

How cold will it really be?

Here's the latest look at the forecast

The bitterly cold temperatures have arrived, which is why the National Weather Service has triggered wind chill alerts.

The good news? These brutally cold temperatures won't last for much longer as warmer temperatures arrive this weekend. But first, we must deal with some overnight snow in spots...

Chapter 2

School closings

See if your school is closed

Just as we expected, there are lots of school closings as a result of this cold snap.

You can see which schools are closed by clicking HERE. Be sure to check the list frequently as it's updated the moment new closings / delays come in.

You can also have any school closing alerts texted directly to your phone. Sign up for that free service HERE.

Chapter 3

Other facilities closed

Several offices and government buildings will also be shut down

In addition to schools, several other government offices or local facilities have announced they will be closed or have limited service on Wednesday:

-U.S. Bank closed all Northeast Ohio branches on Jan. 30 for sub-zero temperatures.

-The United States Postal Service announced that areas in Ohio with the following 3-digit beginning to their zip codes will not receive mail on Wednesday, January 30: 441, 458, 452, 430-432.

-Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Cleveland Municipal Court, Cleveland Municipal Housing Court, and the 8th District Court of Appeals will operate with "essential personnel only," meaning all hearings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday will be rescheduled. Arraignments will only be held for those already in custody.

-Cuyahoga County offices will also only have essential personnel. While Board of Revision hearings will go on as scheduled, several appointments with departments such as Children & Family Services will have to be postponed.

-The Lyndhurst Municipal Court will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. Those with scheduled appearances or hearings will receive a notice of a rescheduled date in the mail. 

-The Portage County Administration Building will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. This includes several key offices, including Dog Warden, Water Resources, and Solid Waste.

-The communities of Strongsville, Painesville, and Mentor on the Lake (among others) will not have trash pickup on Wednesday.

-The Cleveland Museum of Art will be closed all day Wednesday and reopen Thursday at 10 a.m.

-Brandywine and Alpine Valley will be closed to skiers on Wednesday, while Boston Mills will remain open.

-The Great Lakes Science Center will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.

-Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio will cancel the majority of their meal deliveries on Wednesday and Thursday. For more information, call 330-253-4597.

- Most of the Social Security offices in Northern Ohio will be closed on Wednesday, January 30. This includes the eight Cleveland offices, plus the two in Akron. For a full list of Social Security office closings, click here.  

- The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County has closed its office on Wednesday, January 30. The board meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday has been moved to next Wednesday, February 6, at 4:00 p.m.

Chapter 4

Warming centers

Where you can go to stay warm

For those in need of a warm place to stay, warming centers are available.

Lyft is parting with United Way to provide free rides to warming centers throughout Greater Cleveland. To take advantage of the offer, use the  code,"CLEJAYDEN19."


- Mason Park Community Center: 700 East Exchange St. Open 24 hours.

- Lawton St. Community Center: 1225 Lawton St. Open Wednesday, Jan. 30 and Thursday, Jan. 31 from 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

- Patterson Park Community Center: 800 Patterson Ave. Open Wednesday, Jan. 30 and Thursday, Jan. 31 from 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

- Summit Lake Community Center: 380 West Crosier St. Open Wednesday, Jan. 30 and Thursday, Jan. 31 from 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m.


- Bay Village Police Department Community Room will be available as a warming center and charging center. Call 440-871-1234 to make arrangements. However, the department notes that the center cannot accommodate overnight guests or board pets. 


- Edward "Peel" Coleman Community Center: 1400 Sherrick Road SE. Open Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. through Friday, Feb. 1 at 8 a.m.

- Refuge of Hope: 405 Third Street NE. Open Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.


-Salvation Army Miles Park Corps: 4139 East 93rd St. Open Tuesday, Jan. 29 through Thursday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

-Salvation Army Ohio City Corps: 4402 Clark Ave. Open Tuesday, Jan. 29 through Thursday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

-Salvation Army Temple Corps: 17625 Grovewood Ave. Open Tuesday, Jan. 29 through Thursday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

-Salvation Army West Park Corps: 12645 Lorain Ave. Open Tuesday, Jan. 29 through Thursday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


- Salvation Army East Cleveland Corps: 1507 Doan Ave. Open Tuesday, Jan. 29 through Thursday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


- St. Mary Catholic Church Hall: 320 Middle Avenue. Opens Tuesday evening, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. Closes Thursday morning, Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. 

- East Park Recreation Center: 1101 Prospect Street. Opens Thursday morning, Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. Closes Friday morning, Feb. 1 at 12 p.m. 


- North Eaton Christian Church: 39895 Royalton Avenue. Opens Tuesday evening, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. Closes Friday evening, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.


- Catholic Charities of Lorain St. Elizabeth Center: 2726 Caroline Avenue. Monday – Sunday, 5 p.m. – 7:45 a.m. - Evening hours/overnight stay for registered men only.

- Neighborhood Alliance Haven Center: 1536 E. 30th. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

- Blessing House: 5440 Grove Avenue. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


- A temporary warming center will be set up at the Olmsted Township Fire Station at 26900 Cook Road from 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 30, to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 31. The center will be available for residents to use for up to 8 hours per individual. No overnight or sleeping accommodations will be provided. For information, call 440-235-3746. 


- Community Room at Stow Safety Building, which is located on the Stow City Center Campus at the corner of Graham and Darrow roads (3800 Darrow Road). Open Wednesday and Thursday. Anybody with questions can call 330-689-2700.


- The Civic & Senior Center will be open on Wednesday, January 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at 4567 Green Road. Call 216-587-1250 for more information. 

Chapter 5

Frostbite warning

Symptoms and more

When temperatures get below zero, frostbite becomes an obvious concern.

But how do you spot it?

"At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin -- frostbite may be beginning," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which lists other symptoms as follows:

- A white or grayish-yellow skin area.

- Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy.

- Numbness.

It's important to note that many people are "often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb."

If frostbite is suspected, the CDC outlines everything you should do:

- Get into a warm room as soon as possible.

- Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes -- this increases the damage.

- Immerse the affected area in warm -- not hot -- water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).

- Warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.

- Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.

- Don't use a heating pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove, fireplace or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

The key here? Be preventive. Dress in multiple layers covering all exposed skin and don't stay outdoors for prolonged periods of time.

Chapter 6

Hacks for your car this winter

Tricks that will help get your vehicle through the cold

Is your car iced over in these wickedly cold temperatures? Here are some key hacks to help get you on your way.

Homemade de-icer:

- Mix 1/3 cup water with 2/3 cup isopropyl alcohol. Put it in a spray bottle and watch it work.

Ice prevention: 

- Cut a potato or onion in half and rub it on your car windows. The sugars will help create a barrier that stops ice from forming.

- Use a plastic bag to cover your review mirrors.

- Place a towel over your front windshield.

- Place knee-high socks over windshield wipers.

Chapter 7

Emergency car kit

Life-saving items to keep in your vehicle

Hopefully your car is in good running order, but if something happens and you get stranded in the bitterly cold weather, here are the essentials you should keep in your car the entire winter season:

- Hand / foot warmers.

- Phone charging bank.

- Extra clothing (hats, gloves, heavier jackets).

- Blanket.

- Boots.

- Water / snacks.

- Jumper cables.

- Emergency flare.

- Flashlight.

- First aid kit.

- Empty gas can.

Chapter 8

Frozen pipes

Steps you can take to avoid disaster

Frozen pipes can become a big problem when temperatures get this cold. Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Here are the things you can do to make sure your pipes don't burst:

- Leave a faucet (cold water) with a constant drip.

- Open cabinet doors so heat can surround any plumbing.

- Make sure your heat is no lower than 55 degrees.

- Close foundation vents.

- Seal air leaks around pipes.

- Insulate pipes near outer walls, in craw spaces and in attics.

- Disconnect garden hoses.

Here's how to thaw frozen pipes:

- Keep the faucet open: running water through the pipe will help it thaw.

- Apply heat to the pipe: use a heating pad, hair dryer or space heater; also try wrapping the pipe with a towel soaked in hot water; do NOT use a blowtorch or any type of open flame

- If you can't locate the frozen pipe, you'll want to call a plumber.

- Remember to check other faucets in your home

Chapter 9


Coverage on social media

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest winter weather coverage.

Plus, we want you to join the conversation using #3Weather. Have a good weather pic? Send it our way using #3Weather, and we may feature it online or on TV.